Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Air Algerie investigation continues

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Dozens of youths trampled to death on Conakry beach

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll tops 700

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

UNRWA official breaks down over Gaza deaths

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Renault's women drivers ad deemed sexist

Read more

FOCUS

Constitution prohibits Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

  • Israel and Hamas 72-hour ceasefire begins

    Read more

  • Dozens killed and injured in Taiwan gas blast

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    Read more

  • Investigators reach MH17 site amid 24-hour ceasefire

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

Africa

Catherine Samba-Panza sworn in as new CAR president

© afp

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-23

Catherine Samba-Panza was sworn in as the new president of the Central African Republic (CAR) on Thursday. A former mayor of Bangui, Samba-Panza was chosen to lead the country by a national transitional council on Monday.

Her ascent to power has raised hopes that weeks of violence between rival Muslim and Christian militias in the impoverished nation of 4.6 million people may soon be brought to an end.

"The election of the new president is good news because I know that this woman will not be part of any military group,” Pastor Narlais Ngoualesso told FRANCE 24 in Bangui, on the eve of her inauguration. “She is going to play a role as a neutral person to bring back peace and to also bring reconciliation between the people.”

But an outbreak of fresh violence just hours before Samba-Panza was sworn in may already be undermining those hopes. Hundreds of Christians went on a rampage in the capital Bangui on Thursday, looting and setting fire to Muslim-owned homes and businesses and threatening a massacre.

The country descended into chaos after Seleka rebels led by Michel Djotodia seized pozer in a coup in March of last year. Djotodia officially disbanded the rebel group after he seized power, but some of its former members launched a campaign of killing, raping and looting, prompting some Christian communities to form vigilante groups.

Djotodia resigned on January 10 after coming under intense international pressure for failing to halt the violence.

Samba-Panza, 59, faces huge challenges as she seeks to re-establish stability in the country, including disarming the militias, establishing a new national army and ending outbreaks of sectarian violence. The recent unrest has also brought the country's food production to a halt.

The new president has said her priorities are restoring security and "putting people to work" as quickly as possible.

"I have measured the expectations the people have of me," she told members of the press on Tuesday. "I tell myself that I can absolutely not disappoint these expectations."

International donors meeting on Monday pledged $496 million dollars (€365 million) in aid to the Central African Republic for 2014.

'Hostile to corruption'

Samba-Panza was born on June 26, 1954, in neighbouring Chad of a Central African mother and a Cameroonian father. She studied corporate law in Bangui and then in Paris.

When she returned to the CAR, she founded a firm of insurance brokers, but found that doing business and attracting investment were made difficult by the prevailing climate of graft.

People close to her say that she derived a deep-rooted "hostility to corruption" from her experience in the CAR's private sector.

She entered politics in 2003 after then president Ange-Felix Patasse was overthrown in a coup led by François Bozizé, who was himself deposed by Djotodia last year.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

Date created : 2014-01-23

  • CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

    Video: CAR refugee family returns home to Bangui

    Read more

  • CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

    EU to send military forces to Central African Republic

    Read more

  • CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

    UN warns of 'genocide' in Central African Republic

    Read more

COMMENT(S)