YAOUNDE, CAMEROON - Cameroon Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute said chaos in the Central African Republic has stalled development efforts and peace initiatives in Cameroon. Ngute met Monday night with Faustin-Archange Touadéra before Tuesday’s second inauguration of the C.A.R. leader.
Ngute said Cameroon President Paul Biya, who sent him to Bangui for the inauguration, has hope that Touadéra’s leadership will bring back peace to the C.A.R. and, by extension, to Cameroon.
He said both Cameroon and the C.A.R. can never have peace or develop if there is a crisis in any of the two states. He said the two countries are neighbors that must accept one another’s citizens in case there is a crisis.
Ngute said Cameroon and the C.A.R. both have a common economic interest in the road linking Cameroon’s coastal city of Douala to Bangui, capital of the landlocked C.A.R. He said the road must be protected to stop any rupture in the supply of goods and services in the two countries.
Touadéra officially began a second term in office on January 19 after the C.A.R.’s December 27 presidential polls. His victory was confirmed on January 18 by the C.A.R.’s Constitutional Court but was rejected by the opposition.
The C.A.R. accused former president Francoise Bozize of organizing a rebel alliance to overthrow Touadéra, a charge Bozize denied.
Cameroon reported that after the election, hundreds of C.A.R. civilians fled across the border to escape election-related violence. Cameroon said it pushed back hundreds of C.A.R. rebels that crossed the border.
Ngute said election violence stopped at least 4,000 trucks from transporting humanitarian assistance and goods to the C.A.R. He said thousands of containers destined for the C.A.R. were blocked at the Doula seaport and would only be transported if peace returns to the C.A.R.
Rosaline Ndembe is a political analyst at the University of Bangui. In spite of the tension, she is optimistic Touadéra can bring back peace to the C.A.R. She spoke via a messaging app from Bangui.
Ndembi said Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s inauguration after years of fighting and chaos in the C.A.R. indicates there is some level of acceptance of his leadership. She said C.A.R. history has been marked by military coups since David Dackos became the first C.A.R. president in 1960. She said Touadéra is the only C.A.R. leader that has been inaugurated for a second consecutive time after a democratic election.
Touadera secured his position by gathering more than 53% of the vote in the December 27 election that was marred by violence.
Jean Marie Noel Ndina Noah, conflict resolution lecturer at the university of Yaounde, said Touadéra will succeed because he has the support of the U.N. and the African Union. He said the C.A.R. leader should continue dialogue for peace to return.
Noah said Touadéra should call for a national conference as part of ongoing negotiations to solve the power crisis in his country. He said if Touadéra opts for the use of force, which is also a legitimate way of protecting civilians, he may still have a very long way to go to bring back the needed peace in the C.A.R. He said what civilians want now is an urgent return to peace.
In the last seven years of fighting, close to a million Central Africans have fled to neighboring Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria. Last week Cameroon said some of the displaced persons were returning to the C.A.R. with the hope of finding peace.