BANGUI, Central African Republic (AFP) – Opposition figure Nicolas Tiangaye was on Thursday officially appointed prime minister of the Central African Republic’s new national unity government, President Francois Bozize said after a ceremony in the capital Bangui.
“We will appoint Nicolas Tiangaye, Tiangaye wants this job and we wish him good luck,” said Bozize before signing the relevant decree in presence of the press, the Seleka rebel alliance, opposition figures and civil society groups.
The announcement was in line with a peace deal struck between the ruling party, the Seleka rebels and the democratic opposition in the Gabonese capital of Libreville last week.
“It’s a relief for the Central African people, we can see peace on the horizon,” said Tiangaye, 56, a celebrated lawyer known as a staunch human rights defender.
“The problem the government must address urgently is the pacification of the country and the restructuring of the army.”
The formal appointment, which had been expected for several days, is the result of a consensus between the opposition and the Seleka rebel groups who gave their backing to Tiangaye on Tuesday after talks with the Republic of Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who heads a follow-up committee monitoring the peace accord.
The peace deal signed last Friday aims to resolve a conflict sparked on December 10 when a coalition of rebel groups calling itself Seleka launched an armed offensive, sweeping from the lawless north of the Central African Republic southwards before stopping just short of the capital, Bangui.