Central African Republic: Priorities of the Transition
11 Jun 2013
The collapse of the state and the disappearance of security forces from a large part of the territory may turn the Central African Republic (CAR) into a source of instability in the heart of Africa.
“This is a test for the peace and security architecture in the region. CAR's partners should draw lessons from it in order to identify problems and improve crisis prevention and management in the future”
Comfort Ero, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director
In its latest report, Central African Republic: Priorities of the Transition, the International Crisis Group, examines the situation in CAR following a coup by the Seleka rebel coalition in March 2013 that ended François Bozizé’s decade-old rule and plunged the nation into crisis. The absence of the state, Seleka’s fragility and tensions between Christians and Muslims make the transition’s future uncertain.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
- Restoring security is the number one priority to stabilise the country and kick-start the economy. Former rebels must withdraw from the streets of Bangui and a disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration program for Seleka fighters should be implemented with the help of CAR’s partners.
- The security sector must be reformed on the basis of a selective and limited integration of fighters in the security forces and in accordance with recruitment standards and predetermined quotas.
- The Libreville Accord Follow-up Committee, established after the January 2013 Libreville Accord chaired by Congo-Brazzaville President Denis Sassou Nguesso, must provide strong political guidance for the transition. It should ensure the implementation of the commitments made at the Libreville and Ndjamena summits on security, elections and public services, as well as justice and economic reforms.
- The one-and-a-half-year timeframe currently set for elections is unrealistic. The UN should promptly send an exploratory electoral mission to CAR in order to assess the situation and propose an action plan, a budget and a realistic timeframe for the elections.
“This new crisis is a result of decades of poor governance and economic decline in Central Africa”, says Thibaud Lesueur, Crisis Group’s Central Africa Analyst. “For too long, security in CAR has been outsourced and social services have been provided in a large part by non-state actors, including foreigners”.
“This is a test for the peace and security architecture in the region”, says Comfort Ero, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director. “The African Union, Economic Community of Central African States, UN and European Union should draw lessons from it in order to identify problems and improve crisis prevention and management in the future”.