Mixed reactions after African leaders refuse to recognise new Central African Republic leader

Mixed reactions after African leaders refuse to recognise new Central African Republic leader

There have been mixed reactions in the Central African Republic capital Bangui after their new self-proclaimed head of state Michel Djotodia was shunned by regional leaders, and told straight in the face that he was not a legitimate leader, and should leave power at the hands of a transitional council.

CAR, which is ‘suspended’ by the African Union, was at the centre of a special summit held this week in Ndjamena, the capital of Chad. South African President Jacob Zuma, who has come under pressure from critics for ‘sending soldiers to die in the name of minerals’, also attended the summit.

“This is hypocrisy in its best. Most of these AU leaders are not even legitimate because they came to power through the back door, and later held elections to ‘legalise’ their leadership. And most of them have been there for ages. I’m not surprised by the attitude of these dictators,” a CAR journalist told Moon of the South on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation.

The journalist added that Chad President Idriss Deby is a five-star hypocrite and a liar, who is able to plot to overthrow Djotodia if he refuses to obey these orders.

“Deby is capable of saying something in public and tell Michel on the sidelines ‘don’t worry I will support you’. It’s a pity that our country is now under of domination of Chad,” the journalist said.

“This is interference in the internal affairs of our country. They want to impose us our leaders so that they can be able to control our country and our people,” a man called Davy told the Bangui-based RJDH-RCA news website.

In Ndjamena, African leaders spoke with one voice, categorically rejecting Djotodia, and urging a committee selected by national figures to lead the transition, elect a transitional president and oversee presidential elections in the next 18 months. “As things stand, it is impossible to recognise a self-proclaimed president,” Chadian President Idriss Deby told reporters in Ndjamena.

“This is a good decision because it will truly lead us towards a democratic and constitutional logic,” Severin Garba, a student at the University of Bangui, was quoted by the RJDH-RCA website as saying. “We want them to put pressure on the new authorities to start implementing quickly what has been agreed upon,” Garba added.

Djotodia, who came to power in the 24 March coup d’état that killed 13 South African troops, said he will abide by the summit’s decisions.

But it remains unclear what his next move will be. He has since suspended the constitution and initially said he will rule by decree until 2016, when elections will be held.

According to sources quoted by the South African Press Association (SAPA), Chad hosted the special summit on CAR as a way to give the rebel Seleka coalition regime a semblance of legitimacy. A diplomatic source told SAPA that the six-nation bloc sought to create a national transition council led by Djotodia to ‘regain a little international legitimacy’.

Meanwhile, Benin foreign affairs minister Nassirou Bako-Arifari said his country was willing to grant CAR toppled leader Francois Bozizé asylum status on humanitarian grounds.

*Photo by Hippolyte Donossio/courtesy of RJDH. CAR new leader Michel Djotodia.

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