News / Africa

C.A.R. President Pledges to Make New Government Inclusive

Transitional president of the Central African Republic, Catherine Samba Panza, gives a speech in Bangui before members of the Conseil National de Transition (CNT), the transitional parliament marking her 100 days leading the country, May 6, 2014.
Transitional president of the Central African Republic, Catherine Samba Panza, gives a speech in Bangui before members of the Conseil National de Transition (CNT), the transitional parliament marking her 100 days leading the country, May 6, 2014.
Reuters
Central African Republic's interim president pledged on Tuesday to overhaul her government and make it more representative, addressing mounting criticism of its failure to stem religious violence that has displaced nearly one million people.

In a speech to mark her first 100 days in office, Catherine Samba-Panza acknowledged there was widespread anger at her government's lack of progress and accepted that her decision to appoint a majority of ministers from her own eastern region had stirred resentment in the former French colony.

Members of the powerful 'anti-balaka' Christian militia, which took up arms last year after Muslim Seleka rebels briefly seized power, say their movement is not represented in the transitional government and have refused to cooperate with it.

"The government will be reshuffled to be more inclusive and representative," Samba-Panza said in a speech to the National Transitional Council. "Voices are being raised to demand the urgent organization of an inclusive political dialogue."

With international frustration also rising at her government's record, Samba-Panza said many of criticisms were "legitimate" but added that three months were not enough to respond to the scale of the challenge.

The landlocked country of 4.6 million people was plunged into chaos in March last year when the Seleka coalition swept southward to seize the riverside capital Bangui. This unleashed a wave of killings, rapes and looting against the majority Christian population during Seleka's 10 months in power.

Since Seleka leader Michel Djotodia resigned under international pressure in January, the 'anti-balaka' have preyed on Muslims in Bangui and the country's southwest, despite the presence of some 6,000 African Union peacekeepers and 2,000 French troops.

Thousands have been killed and nearly one million people displaced by violence which has split the country along ethnic and religious lines, with the Seleka rebels controlling the northeast, where they are also accused of abuses.

"The proliferation of arms has created fears of mounting insecurity and criminality," Samba-Panza said. "There is rising anger and hatred in the hearts of the vast majority of the population."

The passivity of the armed forces and police in the face of the violence has sparked popular frustration. Concerns about anti-balaka infiltration of the army were highlighted when a group of soldiers lynched a Muslim outside a ceremony presided by Samba-Panza in early February.

Even in the capital, around 180,000 people remain displaced, scattered among camps and host families. The United Nations estimates that 2.5 million people - or more than half the population - are in need of medical and food assistance.

Critics have said that, with the remote country lacking in strategic importance or major resources, Western nations have been slow to react to the crisis.

The United Nations says that donors have provided just over a quarter of the $550 million requested in an emergency humanitarian appeal. A long-requested 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force is not due to deploy before September.

In a sign of the scale of the security challenge, French peacekeepers killed several militants during a three-hour battle on Monday after coming under fire from some 40 heavily armed unidentified gunmen in the northwest of Central Afrcan Republic, an army official said.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs