NewsCentral AfricaCAR coup leader becomes president, defence minister


Posted on Tuesday, 02 April 2013 10:54

CAR coup leader becomes president, defence minister

By Konye Obaji Ori

Central African Republic's new President Michel Djotodia (L) sits next to Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye at a rally in support of Djotodia in downtown Bangui March 30, 2013/Photo©REUTERS

Central African Republic (CAR) coup leader Michel Djotodia now occupies two top positions in the war torn country's new government amid fears of an economic crisis.


As part of an attempt to tighten his grip on power and prevent any possible overthrow, Djotodia says he will serve as president and defence minister.

Strategic government positions such as the ministries of mines, commerce, communication, and security and public order were dished out to his loyalists.

The appointments were made on Sunday in the coup leader's "presidency of the republic" address.

They were based solely on solidarity to the Seleka rebellion which overthrew longtime President Francois Bozize last month.

Bozize sought asylum in neighbouring Cameroun after CAR soldiers fled in the face of the rebel advance.

Djotodia has also appointed opposition leader Nicolas Tiangaye as Prime Minister in his new government.

Experts worry that Djotodia's administration may threaten an already impoverished nation, which Djotodia claims to be saving.

Head of the London-based institute on international affairs, Africa programme at Chatham House, Alex Vines has described the coup as being about "blind ambition".

"All the accounts of Seleka are that they have no development vision for CAR.

"It's exclusively about redistribution of patrimony from having captured the state.

"There is so little other activity — capturing the state is sort of the main source of revenue," Vines is quoted by the AP.

Eyewitness reports claim that several of Djotodia's men have been stationed around the state-run radio building dressed in the uniforms of the Central African army soldiers adorned with a yellow ribbon on the shoulder to mark a difference.

The African Union has since suspended Central African Republic's membership, and the United States has urged the country to swiftly organise new elections.

"We were very concerned that the rebels would take steps to try to take care of governance going forward, and in a manner that was not democratic, that was not transparent.

"They have done exactly that," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington D.C.

Some rebels now reside in the capital, Bangui, and could be seen riding on "Seleka" painted pickup trucks.

They are identifiable by the turbans on their heads.

Djotodia who first rose to prominence as a rebel leader back in 2006 once served as CAR defence minister.

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