Faustin Archange Touadera, whose re-election as Central African Republic president was announced on Monday, casts himself as a unifier and man of peace in one of the world’s most divided and turbulent countries.
But each time he travels, Touadera is given a stark reminder of the scale of this challenge — he is escorted by a hefty guard of UN peacekeepers and private Russian security agents. Touadera, aged 63, a former prime minister with an academic background in mathematics, won a first term as president in 2016, the first elections after a coup and civil war that erupted three years earlier.
Criticisms about the credibility of his victory were muted at the time — many saw the ballot, however flawed, as the price to pay for stability. During his post-electoral honeymoon, Touadera gained an image as hard-working, competent and self-effacing. His supporters even found him too modest.
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