Civil society voices concern over C.Africa's peace talks

Friday March 25 2022
Faustin Archange Touadera

Central African Republic's President Faustin Archange Touadera. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


A civil society representative at national reconciliation talks in the Central African Republic (CAR) expressed concern Thursday after a constitutional change allowing a head of state to stand for a third term was raised at initial discussions.

Following his controversial re-election, President Faustin Archange Touadera promised in late 2020 to hold the so-called Republican Dialogue for reconciliation.

The talks aimed at bringing peace to the troubled country kicked off Monday -- but no rebel groups were invited and the opposition is boycotting the forum.

The agenda for the talks -- set to last just a week -- remains vague and lacking concrete aims.

"We don't think that the dialogue will change anything. It's a monologue of power," Gervais Lakosso, a member of the civil society working group at the talks, told AFP.

"Our concern is setting in because certain points raised, like the changing of the constitution in order to bring in a third presidential mandate, were not on the agenda," he added.


Without giving details, a spokesman for the presidency, Albert Yaloke Mokpeme, said: "Amendments are to be made to the constitution."

Opposition parties have complained that the agenda makes no mention of the "question of the post-election crisis". 

This is a reference to the disputed vote, when less than a third of the electorate were able to cast their ballot as most of the country is in the hands of armed groups.