United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took to the radio waves of the Central African Republic (CAR) to appeal to voters for a massive turn-out in tomorrow’s presidential poll, a major step in efforts to stabilize the country amid conflict between Muslims and Christians.
“The upcoming elections are a historical moment for your country,” he said in French about the first round of presidential and legislative elections.
“Never before have so many Central Africans registered to vote. I call on every one of you to use your right to vote without letting others prevent you from expressing yourselves peacefully. The United Nations will stand by you during this critical time.”
The UN has played a major role in seeking to restore peace after fighting between the mainly Muslim Séléka and mainly Christian anti-Balaka groups erupted in early 2013, in which thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands more forced from their homes.
After nine months of improved stability earlier this year a new wave of inter-communal violence erupted in September, killing at least 130 people, injuring 430 others, and triggering an 18 per cent increase in internally displaced persons to 447,500.
The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR (MINUSCA), set up in April 2014 to help restore stability after a breakdown of governmental authority, reports that the situation in Bangui remained calm yesterday as the campaign period came to an end.
Meanwhile, the National Electoral Authority issued a directive yesterday on the modalities and conditions for voting to address concerns over allegations of voter card trafficking and fake voter registration receipts.
MINUSCA continues to deliver sensitive electoral material to polling centres and has deployed additional troops to Ndélé, Birao and Sibut.
Furthermore, the Mission in partnership with the National Electoral Authority facilitated today a meeting of the 30 presidential candidates to discuss security planning for Election Day, transmission of results and voting and counting procedures. The Mission has also facilitated a meeting with key stakeholders from the predominantly Muslim PK5 neighbourhood and the anti-Balaka stronghold in Boeing on the outskirts of Bangui.