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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 March, 2003, 21:07 GMT
CAR military coup: Your reaction
General Francois Bozize
Parliament has been dissolved and the constitution suspended in the Central African Republic following the military victory of rebel forces.

The new military leader, General Francois Bozize, has announced that democratic elections will be held sometime in the future.

The former president of this unstable country, Ange-Felix Patasse, who was out of the country at the time, had faced numerous coup attempts during his decade in power.

He had enlisted the help of both the Libyans, and a Congolese rebel movement the MLC, to help resist rebellions.

The Libyans left at the end of last year and MLC forces are reported to have fled back home to Congo.

Was General Bozize's military campaign a necessary evil, given that President Patasse and his foreign backers are gone? Can violent takeovers ever be justified in Africa?

A selection of your e-mails will be broadcast on BBC World Service's Focus on Africa programme during the 1705 edition on Saturday.

Thank you for your e-mails. This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

If General Bozize keeps his promises, then his campaign will have been worthwhile
Simba Tirima, Kenya/USA
Which is the greater evil - a "democratically" elected government that does not do the will of the people or a military regime that actually does something to improve the lot of people? If General Bozize keeps his promises, then his campaign will have been worthwhile. Nonetheless, "absolute power" may end up getting the best of his intentions. Time will tell!
Simba Tirima, Kenya/USA

This coup will only add more one unhappy chapter in the CAR's troubled history. Let's hope General Bozize doesn't become the next Jean Bedel Bokassa.
Ron, Canada

When you look at the Comoros, the old Zaire, even South Africa it seems that once Western countries get involved in manipulating African countries' economies the huge disparity is a recipe for revolution. How many readers are aware of the huge French and Italian involvement in the CAR? Africa's resources are what the West is ultimately after. Let's STOP blaming Africans for what is happening in Africa and rather look to who benefits from keeping Africa unstable - the West! Who is funding these coups, who is approving of these wars beyond Africa's borders?
Marco Turco, USA

This continent is full of potential
David Kayondo, Kenya
Africa's greatest enemies are her self-imposed greedy leaders. This continent is full of potential that we, I fear to say, may never realise because of the greed for "power" and money of our people. I tell you all coups and rebellions have the common denominator of one or a few individuals' greed as the ulterior motivating factor. God help us.
David Kayondo, Kenya

General Bozize's military campaign might have been necessary but does not justify the end result. Shooting one's way into power creates an atmosphere of insecurity. He will now begin to pump money in to protect himself and once he has tested power, terror is his call.
Jackson K. George Jr, Liberian/Minnesota USA

General Bozize is just one more corrupt soldier looking for a piece of the country's wealth and power for himself. Time will tell that he has no plan to lift his country out of instability and poverty. The greed of African leaders I just cannot understand.
Kayode Ajayi-Majebi, USA

Some dictators have to be removed with force
Musa Bah, UK/Gambian
I think it is totally hypocritical for anyone to condemn all coups without qualification when the west led by America is bent on overthrowing a leader without international agreement. I hope the world can now understand and sympathise with Africa's endless coups. Some dictators have to be removed with force. And that is why I totally support the British and American plans to topple Saddam. Other African dictators should be next. But they have no oil!
Musa Bah, UK/Gambian

I think the Libyan troops should have stayed longer and been supported by a much bigger contingent. President Patasse wasn't a very good leader but military coups in Africa always prove to fail.
Daniele, Italy

Give me an example of a coup story with a happy ending. It never happens. It's all about power and some people never want to let go.
Derick, Zambia

In the end everyone suffers, except the west
One corrupt regime replacing another corrupt regime, so the 'musical chairs' goes on. Misguided fools chasing and exporting money for themselves and their families, with little thought or care for the rest of the population. In the end everyone suffers, except the west, since the money is export back to the west.

I think it has reached the point for Africans and the world at large to realise that overthrowing a constitutionally elected government is tantamount to treason and therefore should be condemned. Anyone who wants to rule must seek the consent of the people. The United Nations and the African Union should act immediately in favour of democracy.
Joseph Kaifala, Sierra Leone

Any president who relies on a foreign army to remain in power opens himself to questions about his/her rule. Violent takeovers, in the case of Africa, is sometimes the only means of initiating and achieving change. Also, the new OAU (AU) has endorsed the use of violence in achieving political ambition as is demonstrated in the granting of ministerial post to the rebel groups that now control a large portion of the country.
Joe Woyee, Liberia/USA

I think there should be an International UN Force or something similar to take over all these rebel forces. This may be impossible, but it just seems like constant wars in Africa from my point of view.
Justin F, Canada

The majority have become disenfranchised from the political process
Sonny, UK
Sadly good governance through genuinely democratically elected leaders remains a far cry for most countries in Africa. Corruption is rife and the vast majority of people have become disenfranchised from the political process. In as much as this situation remains and is externally backed by others, notably the so-called developed countries, we will continue to see coup d'etats in Africa whether justified or not.
Sonny, UK

While I agree with the comments here, I'm somewhat inclined to support coups in certain circumstances. Ideally bloodless coups. For instance what should the people of Zimbabwe do to when they're starved by a tyrant who has hoarded the wealth of the nation in his personal bank accounts? He has bought the public service over with those funds so he remains in power and his crimes are not investigated.
Ranil, Zimbabwe/ Sri Lanka

The CAR military coup should be condemned by all. In the new world order, the army has to be made to understand, in a clear and loud voice, that their role is to protect the populace. Any distraction from that will not be tolerated. Full stop!!
Ghalib, UK

African leaders need to be serious. The focus should be on fighting disease, poverty and illiteracy as opposed to squandering resources on worthless coups and counter coups. There is absolutely no justification for violent takeovers. Neither is there justification for clinging to power with subliminal policies and agendas.
Jakamser Jakodond, USA

CAR coup strongly condemned
17 Mar 03  |  Africa



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