Catherine Samba-Panza

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Catherine Samba-Panza
Catherine Samba-Panza 2014-09-26.jpg
President of the Central African Republic
Assumed office
23 January 2014
Prime Minister André Nzapayeké (Acting)
Mahamat Kamoun (Acting)
Preceded by Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet (Acting)
Mayor of Bangui
In office
14 June 2013 – 23 January 2014
Preceded by Nazaire Yalanga Nganaféï
[citation needed]
Succeeded by ???
Personal details
Born (1954-06-26) 26 June 1954 (age 61)
Fort Lamy, French Equatorial Africa (now N'Djamena, Chad)
Political party Independent
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[1] from May 2013.

Early life[edit]

Samba-Panza was born in Fort Lamy, French Equatorial Africa, to a mother from the Central African Republic (CAR) and a Cameroonian father.[2] Prior to politics, she was a businesswoman and corporate lawyer.[1] She moved to the CAR at the age of 18.[3] She was trained in law at Panthéon-Assas University.[4]

Political career[edit]

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.[2][5] Her appointment was accepted by both sides in the conflict,[1] as well as by French President Francois Hollande.[3] She is a non-partisan.[2]

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[6] from a list of eight candidates who had to prove they had no links to either the Séléka or the Anti-balaka.[7] 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:[1]

"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.[8] She was sworn in as president on 23 January 2014.[9] André Nzapayeké was appointed as prime minister to serve during her tenure.[10] 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.[11] Samba-Panza suggested poverty and a failure of governance was the cause of the conflict.[12]

She controversially replaced her prime minister with Mahamat Kamoun in August.[why?]


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet
President of the Central African Republic