, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – A splinter group of the predominantly Muslim Seleka and a faction of the Central African Republic’s Anti-Balaka militia, meeting in Nairobi, says credible elections cannot be held in the country later in the year as planned.
Speaking in the Kenyan capital where they have been holding peace talks, the two groups said CAR is still too volatile as fighting rages in the capital of Bangui.
“First let us deal with the issue of insecurity. Otherwise how do we plan to even transport election material?,” Hilaire Youseft of Seleka posed.
In order for credible elections to take place, they said, the country’s electoral laws would need to be reformed and the biometric system of registering voters adopted or the country would risk a repeat of the contested 2011 elections that preceded its latest slide into anarchy.
“But can that happen before August when the election is scheduled to take place? I don’t think that’s a reasonable enough amount of time,” Youseft stated on behalf of the two factions.
And with a majority of the nation’s citizens displaced by the civil strife, he added, legislative elections held before their return, would not accurately reflect the will of the people.
In December the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the country should hold elections by August with the support of the United Nations Development Programme.
The peace talks between the two groups drawn from the warring factions in the CAR, are however not recognised by their interim government or their former colonial masters France, who have supplied about 2,000 peace keeping troops to the country.
But in response on Friday, the two groups classified them as, “internal and external enemies of peace,” in a joint statement.
“We wish to remind both the people of the Republic of Central Africa and the international community that President Denis Sassou Nguesso (of the Republic of Congo) was mandated by his peers in the international community and it is in this capacity that he entrusted the President of Kenya with the Central African Republic peace talks,” they stated.
They also accused their interim government of being against the Nairobi peace talks as continued conflict in the resource rich nation allowed them to loot.
And with the failure of the cease fire agreement signed in July 2014 to bring peace, they argued, the Nairobi talks, they said, are their country’s best bet.
The interim government which is leading its own mediation effort, however says it was not invited to be a part of the talks and can therefore not recognise them.