CAR: protesters rally against draft Constitution

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Hundreds of people defied a ban and rallied in Bangui against plans for a constitutional change in the Central African Republic in Bangui.

The march was organised by opposition coalition the “Republican Bloc for the Defence of the Constitution” (BRDC).

One major change the draft Constitution will allow if approved, is the end of the 2-term limit for presidents.

Opposition leaders headed a march of around 500 people under heavy escort from the CAR security forces and armoured vehicles deployed by the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission MINUSCA, AFP journalists witnessed.

“We cannot accept that someone who came to power through a democratic process and maintained his position in 2021 through an electoral farce can decide to stay in power and give himself power for life,” Mahamat Kamoun, member of the Bloc Républicain pour la Défense de la Constitution (BRDC) said.

“That is why we have mobilised all the Central Africans who are against (the new draft constitution to express our discontent, our opposition to this referendum and therefore to this constitution.”

In addition to a controversial hypothetical new term for president Touadéra who is serving his second term, another provision has attracted backlash.

The proposed Constitution would ban dual citizens from running for the top office.

“All Central Africans are Central Africans. Today, the President of the Republic has said that people who are not Central Africans by origin are not entitled to take part in elections. But he himself is not a native Central African,” Lydia Izedio, an activist with the Union for Central African Renewal claimed.

“How are our children, who have two nationalities, going to manage? Meaning they won’t have the right to start ventures in this country, to fight and to be politicians, to one day become mayor, lawmakers or president of the Republic, why?” On what ground?

The campaign has kicked off on 15th July and is set to end on 28th july.

Voting is due to take place on 30th July.

Faustin Archange Touadéra’s administration is still battling a rebellion after years of civil war.

Africanews/Hauwa M.

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