Central African court rejects former president Bozizé’s candidacy

The Supreme Court of the Central African Republic (CAR) on Thursday rejected the candidacy of former President François Bozizé in an election held on December 27 despite security problems due to fighting between rival militias.

Bozizé planned to meet with President Faustin-Archange Touadéra. But the court said Bozizé, 74, did not meet the requirement of “good morals” for candidates due to an international order and UN sanctions against him for alleged murders, torture and other crimes.

The court validated the candidacies of Touadéra and 16 others in the order read by the President of the Court.

Bozizé, a former general who seized power in a coup in 2003 and was overthrown in an uprising in 2013, has denied the charges against him. His lawyer said the opposition coalition led by Bozizé would now meet to consider its options.

CAR has experienced an acute humanitarian crisis since the overthrow of Bozizé, which led to clashes between mainly Muslim and Christian militias. Large parts of the country remain under militia control.

Touadéra, who was prime minister under Bozizé, was elected in 2016. He has worked to restore state institutions and signed an agreement with armed groups in 2019, but has failed to create lasting peace.

Bozizé returned to CAR late last year and announced his presidential candidacy in July, saying the country needed an experienced leader to restore peace in the country, where armed militias control large territories.

Although Touadera’s government requested an order for Bozizé’s arrest, it has not tried to imprison him since returning to CAR.

( Jowharwith REUTERS)