Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Security tight for volatile CAR's landmark elections

26 December 2015, 16:00

Bangui - Central African Republic holds a key election amid tight security Wednesday, hoping to turn a page on the worst sectarian violence seen in the notoriously restive nation.

The much delayed legislative and presidential elections follow a December 13 referendum that delivered a resounding 93 percent vote in favour of a new constitution -- signalling just how many Central Africans yearn for a return to normalcy.

The new constitution, installing the country's sixth republic since its 1960 independence from France, limits the president's tenure to two terms and reins in armed militias which proliferate in large parts of the country.

After more than two years of fighting that forced 10 percent of the population to flee their homeland, the vote will show whether the mineral-rich but dirt poor nation can slam the door on bloodshed to begin an era of peace.

Despite the presence of 11 000 UN and French peacekeepers, large chunks of the country remain out of bounds, either under the control of rebel chieftains or bandits.

There are 30 candidates vying for the presidency, including the son of former self-proclaimed emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa, whose extravagant 1970s coronation was modelled on Napoleon's.

Also Read: Central Africans dream of bread and peace after election

The front-runners include Anicet Georges Dologuele, a former premier widely known as "Mr Clean" for his efforts to wipe out graft and theft.

Dologuele's main electoral planks are his pacific past and his record as prime minister.

"At age 58, I have never held a weapon," he said recently on the campaign trail.

"I am still happy to recall that between 1996 until now, the only time there was no military or political crises in the country was during my time in office," he also said.

The other leading contenders are another former premier, Martin Ziguele, and Abdoul Karim Meckassoua, who held several ministerial positions under ousted veteran ruler Francois Bozize.

'No to hatred'

Central Africa has been rocked by violence since a mainly Muslim rebellion in 2013 overthrew Bozize, triggering revenge killings by Christian militia that spilled over into civilian communities.

The second round of the polls is scheduled for January 16. There are about 1,800 candidates in the running for parliamentary seats.

Almost two million Central Africans have registered to vote in a population of 4.8 million.

Pope Francis, who visited the Central African Republic in November, had made an impassioned appeal for peace, saying: "Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters."

"Together, we must say no to hatred, to revenge and to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself," the pope said.

The international community, which has been pouring aid into the country for over two years, was keen for the referendum and elections to take place.

The UN mission in Central Africa said it wanted the ballot to "pass off without incident ... and for every Central African to be able to vote in total security."

The unrest in the country - which has seen six republics, an empire and several transitional governments -- has wreaked havoc on the economy.

Almost 70 percent of people live in poverty, and in 2014 the World Bank estimated per capita income at $320 (295 euros), making it one of the poorest countries in the world.

It nonetheless possesses substantial resources, including uranium, diamonds, gold and timber.



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...