More power-sharing in Africa?

December 22, 2008

Kenya’s power-sharing government was only born after weeks of election violence that killed 1,300 people. Zimbabwe’s power sharing agreement is yet to bear fruit as southern Africa’s former breadbasket crumbles into economic ruin.

So will power sharing in Central African Republic, where one of Africa’s most forgotten conflicts has been simmering for more than half a decade, fare any better?

After 10 days of United Nations-backed talks, President Francois Bozize, a former army chief who seized power in a 2003 coup, has agreed with rebel and opposition leaders, including the man he deposed, to form a consensus government to rule until the next scheduled presidential elections in 2010.

The stakes are high. Despite its mineral riches, which include diamonds and uranium, Central African Republic remains prostrated by poverty and languishes near the bottom of the U.N. human development index. The country and its people are scarred by fighting before, during and after the 2003 coup that included mass rapes — used as a weapon of war — torture and killings now being investigated by the International Criminal Court. Low-intensity northern insurgencies since then have driven tens of thousands of civilians into the bush as they flee rebel and bandit raids, and government army counter-attacks.

From Sudan in the east, gangs of poachers marauding over the border have decimated CAR’s historically rich wildlife of elephants and big game, which used to draw the world’s rich and famous on hunting trips. Some conservation groups have even turned to hiring South African mercenaries to try to curb the poachers. From the north and east, fierce Chadian and Sudanese fighters raid over the frontier, while feared highway bandits known locally as “zaraguinas” prey on travellers and villagers alike, even striking over the western border into Cameroon to rob and seize children for ransom from wealthy cattle-raising tribes.This year, Ugandan rebels of Joseph Kony’s notorious Lord’s Resistance Army have sacked villages in the remote southeast corner of CAR.

Against this backdrop of endemic violence, can Central African Republic’s power-sharing initiative deliver lasting peace? Can the former enemies, President Bozize and the rebel warlords, “bury the hatchet of war” and deliver the long-suffering nation and its people from “Satan and his demons”, as former President Ange-Felix Patasse put it?
What do you think?


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

whenever i hear the words “africa” and “power sharing” mentioned in the same sentece, i rev up my sarcasm skills. i dont mean to be negative or biggoted or anything, but that honestly is my knee jerk reaction.

will it work? hell i hope so. but i really dont think so.

Posted by questionist | Report as abusive

Tell me about it questionist. It scares me too. They should not be any Power Sharing in Africa at all. Look at who we are trying to be like and it tells everything. No power sharing in the U.S., England and other Democratic nations. It is not only that. Another one are these leaders that lead for 10+, 20+ years. Mugabe and recently deceased Conte. Every African nation needs to establish a process whereby they do no trade with a fraudulent political states. i.e. Gabon, Zimbababwe.

Posted by Believer in the African Story | Report as abusive

This phenomenon of power sharing is a new idealogy for many african powers,especially the old guards.and therefore for it to be effective the generation-x- has to be initiated immediately and hence peasce

Posted by enock nyakundi | Report as abusive

Africa is “functioning” in the same manner that it has for 10,000 years with the possible exception of the colonial period when European powers put some semblance of order on what for all intents and purposes, continent-wise, was a post stone age anarchy.

Since the WWII era, when the Europeans left or in a couple of unfortunate cases were driven out, the continent has slowly devolved, one “sovereign state” after another, into the same state that is had been in 200 years ago….. banditry, endless war, Arab on black slavery, black on black slavery, massacres, mutilations and misery. The ONLY difference is that today it’s done with automatic weapons in addition to of spears, clubs, axes, and knives… AND that the farcical United Nations extends “legitimacy” to the kleptocracies that masquerade as governments.

Fixing a broken culture…. a disease of the collective mind of a large amount of people… on a continental basis takes time and the will power to see it through…. and it has to be done thoroughly and ruthlessly.

Posted by Phil | Report as abusive