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Last month, the government of François Bozizé was overthrown by the Seleka coalition of rebels. It is the sixth regime change in the country sixth regime change since independence in 1960. Bozizé himself came to power in a coup in 2003. The new government is led by rebel leader Marcel Djotodia as President, while his prime minister is Nicholas Tiangaye, who was a defence lawyer for Bokassa during his 1980s trial.

The first was the coup of 1965-66 when Bokassa overthrew David Dacko, the first President of the CAR and later Emperor. Dacko was the successor of the popular and charismatic Barthelemy Boganda, an ex-preist whose vision was of African unity who died in a plane crash in 1959 before independence was attained. Now since decolonisation, France has remained far more intimately involved in the affairs of her former colonies than Britain has. The elites of Francophone Africa tend to reflect this influence. Though where they exist, native monarchies are the only institution of continuity.

Dacko was returned to power after Bokassa was overthrown in 1979, with French support. He was overthrown in 1981 by André Kolingba. A key feature throughout this period was the close relationship of the CAR to France, this is not a criticism of either party but an observation. Bokassa had indeed been indulged by the French Republic, especially under Giscard, and removed only when he became too big an embarrassment. The end of the Cold War led to talk of a "second liberation" in Africa and the spread of democracy. It has been carried out more successfully in some countries than others. Indeed, the Central African Republic was one of the countries where there were high hopes of a new democratic era when in 1993, Ange-Felix Patassé was elected President. He had been Bokassa's imperial Prime Minister before falling out. As with Niger, Mali and the Republic of Congo, where similar transitions took place at the time, it didn't quite work out. For the Central African Republic, will new elections herald a new era or same old?

In Benin and Zambia, we saw incumbents defeated democratically, setting the stage for genuine multiparty democracy. In places like Ghana and Senegal, the existing leaders retained power but peaceful and democratic nature of changing governments is the norm. In the Ivory Coast (a tragic case), Guinea, Togo, Gabon and Cameroon, existing regimes remained in power under while ostensibly embracing pluralism.

There is a multitude of party systems and regime types in post-colonial Africa, and case studies in political science regarding state systems. In Africa, as it is in the Arab world, the model of authoritarian republics that supposedly provide "stability" in fact results to a lack of clarity, certainty and choice.

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Reply with quote  #2 
Why, oh why do I have to think "same old, same old" or as Pete Townshend put it "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" in regards to this country? A real signpost to the basic weakness that is the republican theory of governance.
Yours Sincerely Queenslander
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