Central African Republic: CAR's Touadéra Re-Elected President

Faustin-Archange Touadéra, President of the Central African Republic.

President Faustin-Archange Touadéra of the Central African Republic (CAR) has won the December 27 election, according to results announced late Monday, January 4.

Mathias Morouba, head of the Autorité Nationale des Elections (ANE)-the country's national electoral commission, said Touadéra garnered 53.92 per cent of votes.

Former Prime Minister Anicet Georges Dologuele, who came second, managed 21.01 per cent votes.

It means Touadera has now won a second term as president of the Central African Republic ruling out the possibility of a rerun, as the winner obtained an absolute majority of the votes.

Bangui, the country's capital, was a mixture of calm and seemingly muted jubilation at 8pm, shortly after the results were announced.

People went about their business around the city despite fears of potential after the results were pronounced.

Despite attempts by rebel groups to obstruct the recent presidential and legislative elections, nearly two million Central Africans went ahead and casted their votes, aided by peacekeepers from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA).

Touadéra, 63, is an academic who has been President of the conflict-torn country since March 2016.

He was previously Prime Minister from January 2008 to January 2013.

Former Central African President François Bozize, who is leading a rebel coalition, and is accused of trying to sabotage the December 27 election process was not permitted to stand for election.

Last month, CAR's constitutional court invalidated five candidatures including François Bozizé, 74-year-old ex-President who returned to the country last year and is now accused of fermenting trouble.

Touadéra last week told reporters that security, peace building and reconciliation as well as rebuilding his country's ravaged economy will be his focus areas.

The native of Damara, about 60 kilometres north of Bangui, has many supporters in the capital.

"A respected man, a President I like very much"

About three hours before the results were pronounced, Phoebe Damoino, a reporter with Global TV Africa, a media house based in Bangui, told The New Times that she voted for Touadéra because he is the man to help the country recover from years of strife.

Damoino said: "First of all, Mr Touadéra is a respected man. He is a good leader, for me, and he is a President I like very much. You see, thanks to him, the main streets are now lit with solar panels and more work is being done in that line. And he is a man intent on improving our country's education.

Damoino pointed out that, Touadéra, a former university lecturer at l'Universite de Bangui "still teaches mathematics at the university even now while he is President."

She added: "He has a passion for education. He wants to see his country evolve in this important sector, and others."

The announcement of the results is considered as a historic date. It sets the tone of continuity and especially gives the re-elected leader the legitimacy he needs to now focus on doing away with the myriad of disruptive rebel groups in the country.

If he succeeds, and there is hope he could if he remains focused, it is then that he can properly tackle the resource-rich country's poverty.

The mathematics professor is described as the right man to help CAR enjoy lasting peace and attain development.

Businessman Amadou Housseni told The New Times that: "I am happy he won. I have no doubt that he will deliver. This is a President of peace, a President of everyone."

Asked what he would tell Touadéra, Housseni noted that considering how much his country has suffered, the newly re-elected leader should work harder, so as to turn things around.

"And, I am confident that he will deliver. He wants to. I trust him."

In the December 2015-February 2016 presidential election, Touadéra was elected as President in a second round of voting against Dologuelé.


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