News / Africa

New CAR President Works to 'Calm Down' Nation

Catherine Samba-Panza reacts after she was elected as Central African Republic's interim president at the national assembly in Bangui, Jan. 20, 2014.
Catherine Samba-Panza reacts after she was elected as Central African Republic's interim president at the national assembly in Bangui, Jan. 20, 2014.
VOA News
The new interim president of the Central African Republic tells VOA the most important thing to do to bring peace to her country is to "calm people down."

In the first interview since her election Monday, Catherine Samba-Panza tells VOA's French to Africa that she thinks having a woman leader for the CAR will help "calm down those who have hatred in their hearts."

Samba-Panza is the country's first female president and the mayor of the capital, Bangui. She was chosen Monday by a Transitional National Council to lead the country out of months of chaos and Muslim-Christian violence. The instability has driven more than 900,000 people from their homes.

Samba-Panza says the country is in a very difficult situation: "The population is extremely poor. People also need to feel safe everywhere in CAR"

In another development Monday, the World Food Program said it is running out of food in the country because of continued unrest. It says its trucks are positioned at the CAR border with Cameroon, but it says truck drivers refuse to cross the border because of insecurity.

WFP officials say their cereal stocks are close to being exhausted and they will soon run out of legumes. They say that as a last resort, they are considering airlifting the food to the capital, Bangui.

Also Monday, European Union foreign ministers in Brussels approved a plan to send hundreds of peacekeepers to the CAR The EU operation would be in support of 1,600 French troops and nearly 5,000 African soldiers already in the country.

The United States said it is providing an additional $30 million to address urgent humanitarian needs there.

The CAR's new president replaces former interim leader Michel Djotodia, who resigned under intense international pressure after he failed to stop the fighting.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon congratulated Samba-Panza on her election. He said the change of leadership in the CAR offers what he called a "critical opportunity to put the transition process back on track."

The CAR, which has a history of unrest, descended into chaos last year after mostly Muslim Seleka rebels toppled President Francois Bozize.

Attacks and looting by the rebels sparked the rise of Christian defense groups and a cycle of killings. The U.N. humanitarian agency says 882 people have been killed in Bangui alone since early December.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Activists for Peace Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified boarder, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Cosmas .Z. lasuba from: Juba S Sudan
January 29, 2014 12:49 PM
I prays God for the new president car, may God give her power so that she can able to lead her people in peace. So l would like to advice her that let her unity all the religions so that it can bring peace to the nation.

by: obed from: port Harcourt/ Nigeria
January 21, 2014 2:43 AM
She needs support of all and sundry, this is the time to embrace peace!

by: A AHMED from: Nigeria
January 21, 2014 12:02 AM
I hope that new car president wilkend this massacre and maintain law accross whole cauntry

by: John from: USA
January 20, 2014 10:17 PM
Amazing, a woman president in and African country. Is this a first? For me, that represents real hope for CAR and Africa as a whole. I will send good thoughts your way Ms. Samba Panza, for what they are worth (a lot if the people of your country follows suit). I will also pray that you can recognize and not succumb to the corruption that is seemingly 100% the norm on your continent.
In Response

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
January 21, 2014 2:32 AM
John, Cathrine Samba-Panza is the third female president in Africa. The first is an international Nobel Peace Prize winner Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the current president of Liberia while the second one is the head of state of Malawi her name is Joyce Hilda Banda. I strongly believe the more female president we got have in Africa the more hopeful I become and the better place for Americans to do business with Africans.
In addition, I have to agree with you that corruption essentially became part of culture among predominantly powerful male politicians. For example, in war ravaged Somalia, according to UN report, almost 75% of Western cash aid plus 85% of local revenue mysteriously vanished into thin air!. There is no outcry from donor countries and Somali officials continue to behave as if there is nothing serious had happened.
Again I'm very hopeful that more female head of state in Africa will rescue us from this evil corruptions and antiquated tribal/clan based civil wars.

by: Joseph Effiong from: Calabar - niger
January 20, 2014 10:15 PM
May the Lord God bring peace to this nation. All should embrace peace and live in harmony with one another.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs