Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Central Africa and the activities of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (S/2016/482)
1. The present report is submitted pursuant to the statement of the President of the Security Council dated 11 June 2015 (S/PRST/2015/12), in which the Council requested me to keep it informed about the activities of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA). It provides an assessment of the major political and security trends in the Central African subregion since my previous report, dated 30 November 2015 (S/2015/914), offers an update on progress in the implementation of the mandate of UNOCA, and reports on efforts to implement the United Nations regional strategy to address the threat and impact of the activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) (see S/2012/481).
II. Major developments in the Central Africa subregion
A. Political, peace and security developments and trends
2. The political environment in the subregion continued to be dominated by electoral processes that have often exhibited signs of tensions. Some of the countries in the region held elections during the period under review, while elsewhere preparations for elections are ongoing.
3. The persistent threat posed by Boko Haram and the successes realized by the regional Multinational Joint Task Force against it were highlights of the reporting period, as were the international, regional and national efforts to combat LRA.
4. The continued slump in oil prices and the ensuing economic difficulties in many countries of the subregion remained a factor behind political and social tensions.
Political developments and trends
5. On 11 March, during a meeting of the political bureau of the ruling party Movimento popular de libertação de Angola, the President of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos, announced his retirement from political life in 2018, at the end of his current mandate in late 2017.
6. In Cameroon, there have been calls to push forward the 2018 presidential elections, which would, however, require a change of the Constitution. On 29 March, during a press conference, four opposition political parties officially opposed a change of the Constitution, with some opposition leaders also opposing a further candidacy by President Paul Biya. After blocking access to the site of the press conference, the police detained several opposition leaders, their supporters and some journalists. They were all released the same day. On 7 April, in an open letter to the Minister for Territorial Administration, four opposition political parties criticized the Government for its stance on the freedom of assembly. On 8 April, around 20 supporters of two opposition parties, the Cameroon People’s Party and the Mouvement pour la renaissance du Cameroun, were arrested in Yaoundé on charges of incitement to rebellion. The flyers they were distributing called upon the population to mobilize against the alleged limitation of political space by the Government and to protest against the lack of social services. They were subsequently released.
7. In Chad, on 13 February, the Government of Prime Minister Kalzeubet Pahimi Deubet was dissolved following his resignation. Albert Pahimi Padacké was appointed Prime Minister. Civil society, including youth organizations, launched frequent campaigns against poor governance, nepotism, impunity and inequality. In mid-February, students took to the streets over the rape of a 16-year-old girl, allegedly by the sons of senior military officials. The alleged perpetrators were arrested. Two students were killed by the police and army during the protests, and tens were injured or arrested. On 19 February, civil society organizations launched a campaign calling for the departure of President Idriss Déby Itno. This was followed by a day of countrywide general strike on 24 February, organized in protest of the President’s bid for re-election, and a “ghost town” initiative on 26 February.