Hope Abounds After CAR Elections, but the Church Needs Support
The Central African constitutional court confirmed on Tuesday, March 1st that Faustin Archange Touadéra (58) has beaten Anicet Georges Dologuélé in run-off elections on February 14th by securing about 63% of the votes to become the new President. Mr. Touadéra is a Christian who served as Prime Minister in the pre-crisis administration of President Francois Bozize. His election has brought hope for a new beginning and a brighter future, but his government is facing many challenges.
One of the biggest challenges his government faces is reconciling the communities that were polarized along religious lines through the crisis. Mr. Touadéra told the BBC, “These elections are important but they are not the only step out of this crisis. We have to create the conditions for dialogue between the two communities. We will do everything we can so that Central Africans can live together in Central African Republic.”
Mr. Touadéra is also facing a humanitarian crisis created by the events of the last three years. According to the World Food Program (WFP), at least half of the population (or 2.5 million people) is facing hunger. The number of people battling hunger had doubled from 2015 as the country’s overall crop production in 2015 remained 54% below the pre-crisis average.
The church has an important role to play in restoring CAR. Open Doors research staff reported that the church has played an active role in preparations for the elections. Additionally, churches continue to play a role in relieving the pressures caused by the humanitarian crisis. Shortly before the elections, some 14,000 people were seeking refuge at Internally Displaced People’s sites at churches dotted across the capital Bangui following renewed violence in September and October.
But there is a lot of work still to be done and Open Doors is standing with them in this. We have raised prayer support for the situation there. In addition, we have helped by (among other things) presenting reconciliation training, offering emergency relief and preparing trauma care workers. Please continue to pray for this nation!