Former Central Africa president to run in December election

Monday, July 27th, 2020 00:00 |
Controversial former Central African Republic head of state Francois Bozize.

Bangui, Sunday

Controversial former Central African Republic head of state Francois Bozize on Saturday announced he is running in the December presidential election, a high-risk vote in a country ravaged by civil war since his ouster in 2013.

Militants of Bozize’s Kwa Na Kwa (KNK) party have been meeting in Bangui since Friday and the announcement was widely expected.

“The party congress has just designated me candidate of the Kwa Na Kwa for the next presidential election ... I solemnly accept the mission you have entrusted me,” he said in a speech that was also transmitted live on Facebook.

Bozize returned from exile in Uganda last December.

The veteran politician took power following a 2003 coup, before being overthrown himself 10 years later by Michel Djotodia, head of the mainly Muslim Seleka rebellion in the predominantly Christian country.

Since then, the poor, landlocked country has spiralled further into bloodshed, marked by vicious intercommunal violence.

“The many sufferings of the Central African people, as well as the call of the activists have pushed you to come back to the fold,” said the KNK’s secretary general, Bertin Bea, addressing Bozize earlier.

France intervened militarily in its former colony from 2013 to 2016 to push out the Seleka, winding down the operation after Faustin-Archange Touadera was elected president.

Touadera governs today with the support of a large UN peacekeeping operation, but most of the country is controlled by ex-rebels and militias.

The government signed a peace deal in February 2019 with 14 armed groups, who typically claim to defend the interests of specific communities or religions.  - AFP

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