Constitutional Referendum Not a Priority for CAR: Catholic Bishops to Government

Members of the Central African Episcopal Conference (CECA). Credit: Medias Catholiques Rca Centrafrique

Catholic Bishops in the Central African Republic (CAR) have faulted the government for its decision to hold a constitutional referendum at a time when the country grappling with life-threatening issues, including economic and socio-political challenges. 

On May 30, the President of CAR, Faustin-Archange Touadera announced that he had decided, after consultations, “to submit this project for a new constitution to a referendum”. This would allow the head of State who is serving his second and last term to seek a new term in office, a move his critics have faulted. 

According to President Touadera, the referendum on a new constitution is to take place on July 30

In a Sunday, June 25 statement, Central African Episcopal Conference (CECA) members say, “Faced with the socio-political and economic situation prevailing in our country, the government has today made the political choice of calling a referendum to provide our country with a new constitution.”   

“The Church questions the relevance of such a political choice by the government with regard to democratic principles and games and, above all, the many socio-political and economic challenges facing the country,” CECA members say.


They add, "The extreme poverty of the majority of the population, aggravated by inflation in the prices of foodstuffs and basic necessities, without any increase in the purchasing power of the Central African people is the daily panorama that confronts us."

The Catholic Bishops further say that there are “numerous cases of armed robbery in our neighborhoods, in the towns of our provinces, and on the various highways.”

They add that “the impunity unfortunately enjoyed by some perpetrators, and the lack of confidence in the justice system, create a sense of frustration and a vicious circle."

"Frustration drives victims to take the law into their own hands, and they in turn become the perpetrators. Clearly, any persistence of violence and hatred, injustice, impunity, and widespread corruption, compromises our country’s ability to rebuild and recover," they say. 

In their five-page statement shared with ACI Africa, CECA members acknowledge CAR government for "all the efforts and sacrifices made to restore peace and gradually regain national sovereignty."

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"We must avoid creating conditions that could lead to further socio-political unrest," Catholic Bishops in CAR warn.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.