- March 2013- Muslim Seleka rebels seized power from the then government sparking war between them any Christian and animist militias anti-balaka.
- 18th October and 22nd November 2015 are the set dates for Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Central Africa Republic (CAR) the country has been under Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza leadership.
- The elections are aimed at filling the government vacuum created in the 2013 coup by the Muslim Seleka rebels that threw the country into sectarian war.
- The war has left at least 6000 people dead, over 460,000 as refugees and over half of the 4.6million country’s population in dire need of humanitarian aid.
The Central Africa Republic has been in conflict since March 2013 when the Muslim Seleka rebels seized power from the sitting government led by the then President Francois Bozize, that sparked war between the Christian majority lead by the Anti-Balaka militia group and the Muslims.
The CAR crisis which began as just political is slowly taking form as sectarian war being fueled by religious intolerance between the Christian majorities against the Muslim minority.
The Anti-Balaka group started operating in June 2013 by fighting Muslim Seleka rebels and launching attacks on Muslim civilians. These attacks were met by the Seleka rebels with attacks against non-Muslims especially of the Gbaya ethnicity.
Since, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central Africa Republic (MINUSCA) was established with the aim of combating the crisis. The mission’s efforts have been marred by challenges of impunity in the government.
The crisis in the country has left at least 6000 people dead, over 460,000 as refugees in the neighboring countries. Over half of the country’s population of 4.6 million people is dire need of humanitarian aid especially the over 400,000 internally displaced refugees.
The resources-rich country with diamonds, gold and timber risk being labeled a failed state if the conflict is not solved and a workable government set up. International troops have been in the country led by France in the UN mission to disarm the militia and boost security.
All eyes will be on CAR towards the end of the year as the countries goes to the polls to put in fill the leadership vacuum that has been since the dissolution of the government formed by the Seleka rebels in 2013.
The elections have already raised concerns after the Transitional National Council (CNT) locked out refugees from the voting process before it was overturned by the court. Such a move would have been a major blow to reconciliation and social cohesions objectives in CAR.
The decision to allow the refugees to vote in the upcoming elections is a big step towards reconciliation, and social and religious cohesion in the conflict-struck state.
Despite the militia groups threatening to block the electoral process, the voting exercise is expected to motivate voluntary return home of the refugees in the neighboring countries.
According to Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza, the voting process will give CAR new and reliable democratic institutions that will serve all citizens regardless of their political or religious inclinations.