Republican Dialogue without democratic opposition?

The opening of the Republican Dialogue in Bangui, 21 March 2022. Source: Ndjoni Sango

After a year and a half, the long promised Republican Dialogue by re-elected president of the Central African Republic (CAR) Faustin Archange Touadera, finally took place in Bangui on Monday 21st March 2022. But without the participation of the democratic opposition.

The Republican dialogue should finally cure the Central African people of the ills that have plagued them since the crisis that began in 2013. After several political and inclusive dialogues in the CAR, which have only led to political and military solutions, i.e. dividing the cake between the protagonists to the detriment of the people (for example, during the 13th peace agreement between the Central African government and 14 armed groups in April 2019). President Faustin-Archange Touadéra wanted to put the sovereign people at the centre of the process of seeking sustainable peace and economic development in the Central African Republic through this so-called Republican Dialogue.

The pursuit of peace and reconciliation in this country ravaged by civil war is the aim of this republican meeting, which will take place from 21 to 27 March 2022, from which the armed groups have been excluded by the current government. It is regrettable that the democratic opposition, which participated in the preparation of this dialogue, has slammed the door on the eve of its taking place. It considers that the Presidium of the Dialogue did not take into account the conditions it had set beforehand. However, the organising committee decided to continue the Dialogue with civil society and other entities of the Republic that had reacted, regardless of the opposition’s withdrawal.

However, at the opening of this Dialogue, the participation of members of the Coalition of the Democratic Opposition – 2020 (COD-2020), represented by Cyriaque Gonda, current president of this platform that unites almost all opposition parties and president of the National Party for a New Central African Republic (PNCN), was highlighted to convey the political message of the opposition. After the opening ceremony, he spoke to the presidium of this Dialogue about the return of the opposition to the debate. The announcement of a likely opposition return was made by the Presidium during a press briefing organised on the second day of the Dialogue, and denied later in the evening by Nicolas Tiangaye (spokesperson for COD-2020).

Two days after the start of the Dialogue, on 23 March 2022, Cyriaque Gonda, the current president of COD-2020, resigned from the opposition platform together with his party PNCN, for a reason he did not want to reveal before COD-2020 could expel him for indiscipline and treason. A few hours later, the Honourable Aurélien Simplice Zingas, another member of COD-2020 and his party Kelemba, also resigned. Given the scenarios arising from this Dialogue, the Central African peoples in general and their diaspora in the DRC in particular are wondering whether this Republican Dialogue will lead to real peace and reconciliation, which all Central Africans so much desire? That is why the Central African slammer, a refugee in Congo-Kinshasa, Arnold Ngbagalet alias Esatis Lebon, also questions this dialogue through his art, urban slam poetry, in his text entitled ‘The Republican Dialogue as seen through our eyes’.

Listen to the slam (in French):

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