Saturday, 22 January 2011

Election Season Africa: Central African Republic

The CAR had a coup in 2003 and Bozize toppled Patasse and Ziguele. In tomorrow's national election, these three men face each other, as well as Demafouth, a former rebel leader, and parliamentarian, Nakombo.

CAR is not an easy country. Rebels are violently active in the north, highway bandits plague travellers in the west and the LRA is active in the east of the country. Life expectancy is poor, maternal and infant mortality high and floods and disease outbreaks common. Rebels and refugees from neighbouring Chad, Sudan and Uganda often cross the country.

This election has been postponed several times, effectively extending the term of the current government beyond their term limits but is now expected to go ahead tomorrow (23 January 2011). Some groups argue that the election will not be transparent or fair. There is also particular concern that LRA activities will disrupt the poll.

As the world watches Tunisia, Algeria and Sudan, it is hoped that CAR's 4.8 million people will have an opportunity to experience free, fair and peaceful elections tomorrow.

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