Friday, March 11, 2005

Once a military strongman, always a military strongman

General elections are scheduled for Sunday in the Central African Republic. The head of state, Gen. François Bozizé, is the favorite among the 11 eligible presidential candidates.

Mr Bozize was roundly condemned internationally when he seized power in a military coup, but he has gradually gained approval at home after restoring security to the capital, paying wage arrears and launching an anti-corruption drive, notes the BBC.

Gen. Bozizé has apparently done his best to exclude serious contenders to his throne, notes this piece (in French) from the Kinshasa paper Le Potentiel, in neighboring DR Congo.

Central African authorities have already barred from the presidential race Ange-Félix Patassé, the country's only democratically-elected (not to be confused with democratic-acting) leader who was overthrown in the coup that installed Bozizé. Now, Jean Jacques Démafouth is also being barred from re-entering the country. Both actions are in violation of the Libreville accords, the protocol which was supposed to guide the CAR back to democracy.

Once a military strongman, always a military strongman, as they say.

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