AU warns of legal, political prosecution against disruption to CAR elections

Chadian troops travelling on a road in Bangui, Central African Republic REBECCA BLACKWELL/AP
Chadian troops travelling on a road in Bangui, Central African Republic. (REBECCA BLACKWELL/AP)

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) has urged all armed groups and political actors in the Central African Republic (CAR) to refrain from any actions that might obstruct the smooth running of the electoral process.

The Council also called on the stakeholders to refrain from any action or attitude that might hinder the performance of the National Elections Authority (ANE) agents, as well as refrain from any measure that might hamper the free movements of the population and candidates throughout the electoral process, according to an AU statement on Friday.

The Peace and Security Council has warned that whoever insists on doing so will be held personally accountable and will be liable to legal and political prosecution.

The CAR is due to hold presidential and legislative elections on Dec. 27, after the signing of a peace agreement in February 2019 between the government, which controls only a fifth of the country’s territory, and 14 armed groups.

The central African nation has been devastated by violence since 2013 when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted then-president Francois Bozize, prompting reprisals from mostly Christian militias.

The Peace and Security Council expressed deep concern over the escalation of violence in the country and the collusion between some armed groups and political leaders that has brought about more unjustified deaths, misery, and desolation to the population.

The Council has commended MINUSCA for its continued multifaceted efforts and support to the CAR and its main institutions, including, in the protection of civilians, in the provision of technical assistance to the electoral process, as well as in helping the defense and security forces secure the country.

It called on all neighboring countries to continue contributing to the stabilization of the country and the facilitation of the upcoming electoral process.

The Council further encouraged the people of CAR, including the signatory and non-signatory parties, political actors, civil society, women and youth associations to continue supporting the implementation of the peace agreement (APPR-RCA), which remains the sole credible path for the restoration of lasting peace in the whole country, beyond the electoral process.

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