“The prime minister was fired, and Felix Moloua was appointed,” the spokesman, Albert Yaloke Mokpeme, told AFP.
On Monday, Presidency spokesman Albert Yaloke Mokpeme informed AFP that Henri-Marie Dondra had been “fired” and replaced by his economy minister Felix Moloua, confirming a weekend story by online news website Africa Intelligence.
At the time, President Faustin-Archange Touadera was in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, for an African Union summit. The Central African Republic’s (CAR) prime minister was fired amid disputes inside the government between pro-Russian and pro-French factions.
Dondra became prime minister in June 2021, shortly after Paris halted budgetary aid to the country, claiming it of “complicity” in a Russian “disinformation” campaign against the country’s erstwhile colonial master France.
Pro-Russian and pro-French factions
Over the last four years, Russia’s sway in the Central African Republic (CAR) has grown significantly. Russian military contractors, together with Rwandan forces, helped put down an uprising against Touadera in late 2020, at Bangui’s request.
Government forces in the Central African Republic (CAR) were able to retake much of the country – including many major cities – with their assistance. Dondra was seen as more “pro-French” than his predecessor Firmin Ngrebada, who was seen as more friendly to the Russians at the time of his nomination as prime minister.
“Touadera had named Dondra because he was close to international donors and he had good relations with France,” said Roland Marchal, a researcher at Sciences Po university in Paris.
But, according to Marchal, Dondra had “limited control” over the defense and foreign ministers, as well as the powerful pro-Russian parliament speaker. According to a diplomat who requested anonymity, Moloua, the new prime minister, is seen as a Touadera loyalist and a technocrat “with no political profile.
The 64-year-old demographer worked for eight years as the chief of staff at the Economy Ministry before being granted the portfolio by Touadera in 2016. Touadera is a technocrat who received his education in France and Cameroon.
CAR’s civil war
The CAR has been chronically unstable since independence 60 years ago, despite being mineral-rich yet the world’s second poorest country according to the UN’s Human Development Index.
In 2013, a civil war erupted, pitting several militias against a state on the verge of disintegration, killing thousands of people and driving more than a quarter of the country’s 4.9 million people to flee their homes. Fighting had subsided in recent years, but it erupted again when Touadera’s overthrow was unsuccessful.
Both sides in the conflict have been accused of human rights violations by the UN.The private military contractors are frequently referred to as belonging to the “Wagner group” – an unidentified legal organization.
Last Monday, the European Union announced that if the CAR’s soldiers ceased cooperating for Wagner, it would resume a suspended military training operation in the country.
Source: AFP | TRTWorld