Central African Republic is at the Mercy of Regional Nations: Bozize Clinging on to Power

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Central African Republic is at the Mercy of Regional Nations: Bozize Clinging on to Power

Olivier LeCourt and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


The Central African Republic (CAR) is currently witnessing another power vacuum but this time President Francois Bozize is just clinging onto power because of the rapid advancement of rebel forces. He is still hoping that Chad will come to the rescue once more but while help is on its way, it isn’t what he expected. This would seem to imply that political maneuvers are going on within regional powers like Chad.

It is known that rebel forces have halted their military campaign in the short-term despite the capital Bangui being in reaching touch. Recently rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) took over large swathes of land much like the rapid advancement of rebel forces in the CAR. Obviously these rebels had been supported but regional and international power mechanisms halted their military gains. However, the situation remains cloudy in the DRC and in a sense the same applies to the current crisis in the CAR.

The BBC reports that the Seleka rebels in the CAR will partake in important peace talks with the leaders of this nation. Obviously, on the ground the Seleka rebels have faced little resistance from government troops which appear unmotivated. Despite this, the leadership of the rebel movement fully understands that it can’t rebuff the wishes of regional nations which could alter the situation on the ground. Therefore, the rebels have agreed to halt their attack against Bangui and hold talks.

Bozize appealed directly to France and America to intervene but both nations have kept their distance. In saying that, France may be meddling through several third parties even if this nation will not come to the assistance of Bozize directly.

The President of France, Francois Hollande, commented that If we have a presence, it’s not to protect a regime, it’s to protect our nationals and our interests and in no way to intervene in the internal business of a country, in this case the Central African Republic…Those days are over.”

Several days ago Gabon sent 120 troops and it is reported that Cameroon will do the same in the short-term. Congo also promised to send a contingent to the CAR and it would appear that Chad will boost their numbers on the ground. Already in the CAR you have the Central African Multinational Force (FOMAC) which was sent to this nation in 2008 in order to restore order. This reality appears to provide Bozize with a safety net in the short-term because FOMAC issued a statement which warned the rebels to go no further.

General Jean-Felix Akaga, FOMAC commander, stated categorically that “We will not give up Damara.” Damara is less that 50km from the capital of the CAR and clearly FOMAC must have been given orders to release this statement by regional nations.

Eric Massi, a spokesperson for Seleka, told Reuters that “I have asked our forces not to move their positions starting today because we want to enter talks in Libreville (Capital of Gabon) for a political solution.”

It is known that Bozize is hoping for a national unity government but the Seleka rebels have short changed his ambitions. Currently the crisis is at a very delicate stage and Chad and other nations will be sending feelers to Seleka. Therefore, Bozize is currently holding onto power but clearly he doesn’t have a military to back up his demands or to even contain the rebels. Given this reality, then his survival is already in the hands of outside nations.



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