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General News of Thursday, 23 January 2014

Source: Cameroon Tribune

Catherine Samba-Panza Set for Inauguration

The new Transitional President is also expected to name a Prime Minister later in the day.

All eyes will be on the Central African Republic, CAR's, capital, Bangui today, January 23, 2014 as several foreign dignitaries attend the inauguration of recently elected Transitional President, Catherine Samba-Panza.

The former Mayor of Bangui was elected by the Transitional National Council, CNT, or interim Parliament on January 20, 2014. She replaces President Michel Djotodia who was obliged by sub-regional leaders to quit his position on January 10, 2014 over allegations of failing to make progress in the transition calendar. Radio France Internationale, RFI, reported yesterday, January 22, 2014 that the new leader has already begun consulting with stakeholders in view of naming a Prime Minister after today's swearing in.

At a press conference on January 21, 2014, Catherine Samba-Panza, made it clear that the new cabinet will be made up of technocrats, not exceeding 18 and will respect the women-men parity. "I have no animosity. I am looking for skills, a government of people with strong moral probity. If I have a Prime Minister who meets these criteria and is of the Moslem religion, I don't see why I shouldn't appoint him," she told RFI.

The Rwanda Defence Force, RDF, contingent deployed to enforce peace in the Central African Republic is guarding the newly-elected President, the country's Defence Ministry website said. Men of the 850 Mechanised Infantry Battalion began arriving in CAR on January 16, 2014, using two C-17 American aircraft for lifting both troops and equipment.

Lt. Col. J.P. Karangwa and his troops have been assigned the North Bangui Sector within the African Union-led MISCA peacekeeping force. Apart from conducting patrols, the Rwandan troops are guarding strategic installations in North Bangui, including the Bangui M'Poko International Airport, the Presidential Office and Palace as well as the Parliament.

Meanwhile, residents of the capital have welcomed the appeal by the new Head of State to the anti-Balaka and Séléka fighters to lay down their arms. A representative of anti-Balaka, Levi Yakete, told news agencies that he passed on the ceasefire appeal to his fighters and it was being heeded.