AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - Cardinal Nzapalainga appeals to 'preserve peace at all costs' as constitutional review process underway

Thursday, 15 September 2022 bishops   constitution   peace  

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "If I have a particular message, it is to preserve peace at all costs. When we have not experienced war, we do not appreciate the importance of preserving peace. But when we experienced the war, that we slept on the grass, that we drank dirty water and that we had nothing to eat, that we could not go to school , that we were not able to get treatment and that we were afraid of dying like animals, all this leads us to say: it is time to preserve peace", declared Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui, referring to the start of the process of revision of the Constitution initiated by President Faustin-Archange Touadéra.
Yesterday, September 14, the Committee responsible for drafting the new Constitutional Charter took office. Although invited, the Central African Episcopal Conference decided not to participate in the Committee. In a letter sent to the Presidency of the Republic, the bishops explained the reason for their non-participation. "At the current stage of the debate, the Central African Episcopal Conference (CECA) questions the correctness of the process for the drafting of a new Constitution", says the text sent to Fides. "He believes in his heart that the word should first have been given to the Central African people. To this end, a broad consultation could indicate beyond any doubt the disposition of the people on the need for this revision. Therefore, the creation of the drafting committee (of the Charter) would be justified following this referendum process".
"Thanking the President of the Republic for the trust he continues to place in the Catholic Church, the Central African Bishops' Conference declines the invitation to be part of the Committee responsible for drafting the Constitution of the Central African Republic".
Created by a decree of President Faustin-Arcangelo Touadéra on August 29, the Committee is made up of 55 personalities, whose mission is to work on a new fundamental law over the next three months. But the opposition challenged the presidential decree in the Constitutional Court. The Court has yet to decide.
The Central African Republic has experienced five coups since its independence in 1960, with several changes in the structure of the state. It is now in its sixth Republic, with eight Constitutions. The country has not known peace for more than 25 years. The majority of the population is under the age of 18. This means that more than half of the population has never known peace. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 15/9/2022)