|Head of State of the Transition of the Central African Republic
Interim President of the Central African Republic
23 January 2014
|Prime Minister||André Nzapayeké (Interim)|
|Preceded by||Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet (Acting)|
|Mayor of Bangui|
14 June 2013 – 23 January 2014
|Preceded by||Nazaire Yalanga Nganaféï|
26 June 1954 |
Fort Lamy, French Equatorial Africa
|Alma mater||Panthéon-Assas University|
Catherine Samba-Panza (born 26 June 1954) is the interim president of the Central African Republic and the first woman to hold the post. Prior to becoming Head of state, she was appointed Mayor of Bangui from May 2013.
Samba-Panza was born in Fort Lamy, French Equatorial Africa, to a mother from the Central African Republic (CAR) and a Cameroonian father. Prior to politics, she was a businesswoman and corporate lawyer. She moved to the CAR at the age of 18. She was trained in law at Panthéon-Assas University.
She was appointed Mayor of Bangui, the capital of the CAR, by the National Transitional Council (CNT) during the 2012–13 conflict 14 June, 2013. Her appointment was accepted by both sides in the conflict, as well as by French President Francois Hollande. She is a non-partisan.
Following the Central African Republic conflict under the Djotodia administration and President Michel Djotodia's resignation after a CEEAC summit on 10 January 2014, Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet served as acting president until the CNT elected her as interim president from a list of eight candidates who had to prove they had no links to either the Séléka or the Anti-balaka. She will lead the country to the 2015 election. Of the MPs who voted in the election, 129 of the 135 MPs were in parliament. After beating Desire Kolingba in a second round ballot, she 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-Séléka - they should not have fear. I don't want to hear any more talk of murders and killings. Starting today, I am the president of all Central Africans, without exclusion."
Her call for talks between both sides to the conflict was welcomed by the parties. She was sworn in as president on 23 January 2014. André Nzapayeké was appointed as prime minister to serve during her tenure. She presided over a period that was said to be without law, a functioning police and courts. Comparisons were drawn in asking if this would be the "next Rwanda;" although Al Jazeera's Barnaby Phillips suggested the Bosnian Genocide's aftermath may be more apt as people were moving into religiously cleansed neighbourhoods. Samba-Panza suggested poverty and a failure of governance was the cause of the conflict.
- "Central African Republic MPs elect Catherine Samba-Panza". BBC World News. 2014-01-20. Retrieved 2014-01-20.
- Duhem, Vincent (20 January 2014). "Centrafrique : 5 choses à savoir sur Catherine Samba Panza, la nouvelle présidente de transition". Jeune Afrique (in French).
- Ngoupana, Paul-Marin (20 January 2014). "Une femme élue à la présidence en Centrafrique". Le Point (in French).
- Perrin, Olivier (21 January 2014). "Une "maire courage" pour réconcilier ses enfants de République centrafricaine". Le Soir (in French).
- "Catherine Samba Panza prête serment à Bangui". Radio Ndeke Luka. 2013-06-14. Retrieved 2014-01-31.(French)
- Paul-Marin Ngoupana. "Central African Republic's capital tense as ex-leader heads into exile". Uk.reuters.com. Retrieved 2014-01-20.
- "CAR appoints Bangui mayor as interim leader". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2014-01-20.
- "CAR leader pledges talks with armed groups". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
- "New CAR leader sworn in as tensions escalate". Al Jazeera English. 2014-01-23. Retrieved 2014-01-23.
|President of the Central African Republic