Ms Catherine Samba-Panza, Mayor of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic has been elected Interim President by the Country’s Interim parliament on Monday to lead the country out of violence after Michel Djotodia, Interim President stepped down on January 10 bowing to pressure from leaders of the region and France, the country’s former colonial power which has troops in the country to restore stability along with African Union troops for failing to reign in the sectarian violence engulfing the country.
President Catherine Samba-Panza is an achieved businesswoman and corporate lawyer who was appointed Mayor of Bangui by the two belligerent forces, the Christian anti- Balaka and the Muslim ex-Seleka rebels.
According to the Associated Press, the new president said, “I call on my children, especially the anti-Balaka, to put down their arms and stop all the fighting. The same goes for the ex-Seleka – they should not have fear. I don’t want to hear any more talk of murders and killings”.
In an interview with radio France24, the third African woman President and first female leader of her country said “she will listen to all the fighters because they hold arms because they have reasons and will listen to those problems and see if they are reasonable. The new President told the press the young people hold arms because they are poor and don’t have opportunities and so she will work with the ministries of Energy, Defense, and Education to see what opportunities can be provided to these fighters.
President Samba-Panza is 59 years old and beat seven other contenders. She was elected in the second round after she could not seal most votes in the first round through the participation of 129 MPs of the country’s 135 member Parliament.