The Central African Republic (CAR) has suffered from a cycle of violent coups since gaining independence in 1960. In 2016, the country’s first peaceful, democratic election raised hopes that CAR was beginning to stabilize, but more recently, violence between armed groups has escalated. U.S. Institute of Peace programs in CAR seek to establish effective two-way communication between government officials and communities on local security concerns. USIP’s Initiative to Measure Peace and Conflict Outcomes works with U.S. government-funded programs in CAR to broaden their ability to share information and boost overall effectiveness.
After a recent contested election, the Central African Republic finds itself in a precarious situation. Violence around the election combined with the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 and destructive flooding have caused the humanitarian emergency to reach its worst state in five years. Meanwhile, the CAR government has been accused of engaging in Russian-backed disinformation campaigns targeting domestic civil society, French diplomats and the United Nations peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA), threatening key relationships. Even as the long-simmering issue of hate speech continues to draw fault lines through the country, efforts to combat these campaigns have focused primarily on challenging fake news rather than addressing the underlying fear and prejudice that spoilers use to stoke conflict.
After an election period marked by violence and rising tension, the Central African Republic’s (CAR) incumbent president, Faustin Archange Touadéra, has been re-elected, according to the country’s election commission. Days before the vote, a disparate medley of armed groups coalesced to demand the vote be postponed. Since the polls’ closing, there has been a serious spike in violence with fighting in many major towns. The political opposition as well as the newly formed armed coalition have rejected the results and have demanded a re-run election. USIP’s Elizabeth Murray and Rachel Sullivan explain what led to rising violence in the weeks before the polls, what it means for the floundering 2019 peace agreement, and where the international community stands.
Presidential and legislative elections loom large in the Central African Republic (CAR) amid high tension and spikes in violence. CAR’s religious leaders have been on the frontlines of efforts to calm tensions ahead of polls opening on December 27. From religious leaders in the capital to those at the grass roots, they have made their voices and positions clear. The question, therefore, is not if religious leaders are crucial actors in conflict stabilization and peace efforts in CAR: They already are. Rather, policymakers and practitioners should be unpacking these leaders’ experiences—past and present—and asking how to strengthen their role as peacebuilding partners in the immediate post-electoral context and longer-term.