By Tatiana Carayannis, Louisa Lombard
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Extra resources for Making Sense of the Central African Republic
Dacko’s number one priority as head of state was to place Goumba under house arrest and ban his rival’s party. An authoritarian regime was rapidly established. The rubber-stamp CAR's history r 25 parliament adopted a series of repressive laws, dissolving political parties and trade unions; individuals presented as ‘dangerous’ were interned, and ‘subversive writings’ were censored. Both cynical about the postcolonial order and mindful of the 6,000 French nationals living in Bangui, Paris looked the other way and continued to support the government with generous development aid.
But at the same time, these challenges are not unique to the country. Throughout the region, a narrative of living together across religious lines has been sorely lacking. The schisms across the region as in CAR, however, have little to do with religion as such and much to do with struggles over power, wealth accumulation, and control over the invisible world. And these battles remain very much ongoing. Notes 1 CEN-SAD: Community of Sahel–Saharan States; CEMAC: Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa; ECCAS: Economic Community of Central African States.
For instance, since 1895, the rules of engagement of the French army stipulated that ‘if necessary, the head of a detachment takes local notables hostage’ – a practice the concessionary companies liberally privatized 22 r Making sense of the Central African Republic (Cantournet, 1991, p. 36), all the more easily as their security guards were often former members of the French army. e. in rubber the private companies collected (Jeaugeon, 1961, p. 396). The upshot was that the French system in Central Africa, though less profitable,4 resembled the exploitative, terror-based regime first introduced in the Congo Free State.