The Central African Republic (CAR) is a small landlocked country in Central Africa sharing borders with Chad, Sudan, South Sudan,Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo. While the country has significant mineral resources, such as uranium, crude oil, gold, diamonds and lumber and significant amounts of arable land and hydropower, it is one of the poorest countries in the world and ranked 179 out 187 in terms of its Human Development Index.
The country has not enjoyed long spells of peace, stability and democratic governance since its independence from France on August 1, 1960. It has been been characterized by military coups and authoritarian leaders such as the notorious Colonel Bokassa who proclaimed himself an emperor of the country. The first multiparty elections since independence were held in 1993 but were soon followed by a military coup led by the French-backed General Bozize in 2005.
On March 24, this year, President Bozize was deposed by the Seleka Rebels and Bozize was replaced by Michel Djotodia. Selaka, reportedly a coalition of predominantly Muslim rebels including fighters from Chad and the Sudan, that had promised a new beginning: a safe and peaceful country free from corruption and authoritarian government - has since fallen short of that promise.
Over 400 000 people have been displaced with hundreds of civilians killed, with reports of people being maimed and raped and schools, hospitals and churches looted and destroyed. Child soldiers, as young as 13 are been recruited by the rebels to fight and burn down villages. All these incidents, constituting gross human rights violations and war crimes, continue unabated according to a September 2013 report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (see reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights). Broadcast on Nov 30, 2013.
- Paul Desire Essomba. Paul Desire Essomba has lived and worked as a physician for over 30 years in CAR and the Central Africa region. Paul Desire Essomba spoke to AfrobeatRadio from Paris.
- Innocent Mpoko. nnocent Mpoko represents the CAR Diaspora in the US and a member of the National Transitional Council, that is the transitional National Assembly of the Central African Republic. He spoke to AfrobeatRadio from Banqui, the Capital of Central Africa Republic.
- Tseliso Thipanyane