Central African Republic President Touadera names new goverment


Central African Republic President Touadera names new goverment

Reuters Africa, 11 Apr 2016

BANGUI, April 11 (Reuters) - Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera, elected in polls widely seen as a step towards reconciliation after years of violence, has named both political allies and former rivals in key government posts, state-owned radio announced on Monday.

Touadera's former campaign manager Simplice Sarandji becomes prime minister, taking over from a transitional government that guided the country to elections culminating in a presidential runoff in February.

His task will be to rebuild the economy, restore stability and reunite a nation divided between mainly Muslim rebels in the northeast and Christian militias in the southeast.

Three top jobs in the 23-member cabinet went to candidates who contested the first round of the presidential election before throwing their support behind Touadera in the runoff.

Josephe Yakete, who spent more than 25 years in Europe and returned to Central African Republic just months before the election, was named defence minister. Jean-Serge Bokassa, son of the late military dictator and self-proclaimed emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa, will serve as interior minister. Another former candidate, Charles-Armel Doubane, picked up the foreign affairs portfolio.

The Finance Ministry will be headed by Henri-Marie Dondra, who has spent nearly 20 years as the managing director of the African Guarantee and Economic Cooperation Fund (FAGACE), a regional lender based in Benin.

Leopold Mboli Fatrane returns to the government as minister of Mines and Energy, a post he held from 2011 to 2013 under former president Francois Bozize. A total of six of Bozize's former ministers were named in the new government.

The education, civil service and livestock farming portfolios went to members of the minority Muslim community. Women were named to four posts.

Central African Republic, which holds reserves of uranium, gold and diamonds, suffered the worst crisis in its half-century of independence in early 2013 when mainly Muslim Seleka fighters toppled Bozize.

Christian militias responded to Seleka abuses by attacking Muslims. A fifth of the population have fled their homes, either internally or abroad, to escape the violence, leaving the impoverished country divided along ethnic and religious lines. (Reporting by Crispin Dembassa-Kette; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Kevin Liffey)