Central African Republic, the disappearance of the rule of law

Central African Republic, the disappearance of the rule of law

N Melo
by N Melo
December 15, 2020 0

Central African Republic, the disappearance of the rule of law

The latest initiatives by several ministers show that the rule of law has lived in the Central African Republic and that the State of nature has replaced it. There are hardly any limits to the operations of private capture of what was the responsibility of the public authorities. The general interest has disappeared in favor of personal enrichment.

In the Central African Republic everything is sold and bought. There is no longer any limit to the auction sale of mining site operating permits, supply contracts, infrastructure contracts, concessions that we no longer dare call public services, so-called public-private partnerships (PPP).

The most extravagant situations no longer surprise. As for example, the presence of rebel groups, which tyrannize the population, in the government or the candidacy of the deputy Jean-Michel Mandaba for the presidential election, even though he confessed to having received a bribe of 40 million CFA franc from a Chinese company for the illegal exploitation of a mining site. Many thugs will be elected deputies in the next National Assembly.

Everything is good for making cash. We can mention the choice, outside the regulatory procedure, of the Lebanese company Al Madina for the preparation of official documents including so-called secure identity cards, with an increased cost for the citizen, totally illegal compared to the price set in the law of finances. Once paid this additional cost, the citizen will have to be satisfied with a simple receipt. The ID card will wait. We can guess the consequences for identifying the future voters of the elections of December 27, 2020. The example of Bangui Mpoko airport is also symptomatic of the duplicity, for a decade, of the Central African authorities, with a certain complacency from international donors.

Bangui airport, the regime’s piggy bank

Bangui Mpoko Airport is one of the most dilapidated and least secure in Africa. The upgrading to ICAO international standards is the subject of expert missions and ad hoc meetings, almost every year. Following this, projects for securing and renovating the airstrip, modernizing the terminal and upgrading air navigation facilities follow one another with funding of tens of billions of CFA francs from the ‘Asecna, the French Development Agency, the Saudi Fund, the Bad, the Bdeac and the World Bank. For ten years, two ministers of Transport and Civil Aviation have taken turns to obtain funding and to maintain the status quo, without any progress being made. They are Théodore Jousso and Djoubaye Abazene,

Théodore Jousso, also very introduced to Asecna, was for many years the technical and financial manager of this “sea serpent”. Scandals have been regularly denounced without worrying donors. On the other hand, these scandals harmed him in his candidacy for the head of ASECNA. Impunity does not extend beyond the borders of the Central African Republic. As for Djoubaye Abazene, the current minister, relative of ex-president Michel Djotodia, nothing can happen to him because he is the Goula surety for the Bangui regime.

The Turkish concession project Damnus
It was a few weeks before the elections of December 27, 2020, that the case of the concession project to the Turkish conglomerate Damnus of Bangui airport arose. This urgency calls out. We will also recall the snub suffered by Théodore Jousso in his candidacy for the presidency of Asecna. This intergovernmental institution which manages and operates the airports of eighteen French-speaking states no longer has any interest for the Central African government. The dismissal of the 250 agents of Asecna would be nothing but trivial matters. The abandonment of surveillance of secondary airports by Asecna has become irrelevant, given the loss of control of three-quarters of the country and management by Minusca.

While the electoral campaign should have reinforced the secrecy of this concession project, the union of Asecna agents, greatly threatened, decided to bring the matter to the public and thus put an end to the total discretion of this contract. leonin, who would have been engaged with the Damnus company.

PPP concessions exist in many Asecna member states. They are never done outside the Asecna framework, outside the usual compulsory procedures and with such exorbitant advantages for the benefit of the concessionaire. Our excellent colleague Africa Intelligence gives details of this concession which is akin to an abandonment of sovereignty. A document was reportedly signed on October 23, 2020.
The Damnus Group will have two years to do the work of securing, modernizing and maintaining the management and operation of the airport. The investment, estimated at 30 million euros, will be largely amortized by financial concessions made by the government. We mention 70% of revenue from passenger service charges, with a maximum of 75,000 annual passengers, giving rise to compensation in the event of a lower number and loss of earnings, and 100% of revenue from handling charges, freight and parking. The concession will have a life of 30 years.

The Central African State will deprive itself of the revenues that could have been obtained by national management, with the support of the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) and the Central African Airport Infrastructure Development Company (SODIAC). These two parastatal structures had benefited from a cooperation agreement with France on January 19, 2019, for training and technical support. It will also be recalled that President Touadera inaugurated with great fanfare, on November 4, 2019, a brand new building, oversized over 4500 m2, to allow ANAC and SODIAC to be operational in terms of security and operation. national. Obviously, the priorities today are quite different….

This disappearance of the rule of law has cause for concern for the transparency, the credibility and the respect of the electoral code for the elections of December 27, 2020. The UN, the African Union, the European Union, the representatives of these organizations in Bangui assure that these polls will be an important step towards peace and national reconciliation. Let’s meet after these elections.

N Melo
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