Follow us on:

Zuma's secret deal with dictator

By admin
27 August 2013

The Central African Republic’s ousted dictator Francois Bozize says President Jacob Zuma’s broken promises made during a secret back-room deal led to his downfall.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Times in Paris last week, the deposed strongman said that he sent his son, Jean Francis Bozize - then the CAR’s defence minister - to Pretoria in December to cut a deal with Zuma to send enough South African troops and weapons to halt the Seleka rebel advance on the capital, Bangui –but far fewer than promised arrived.

He also said he held frantic talks for three hours with Zuma just three days before Bangui fell, to remind him to honour their back-room deal. He said he held Chad’s President Idriss Deby, his former friend who backed the coup that put Bozize in power in 2003, personally responsible for the deaths of 15 South African soldiers when his troops let rebel columns advance on Bangui without putting up a fight.

Bozize said he is lobbying for support to return to power, hinting that he might use force if necessary.

The original defence agreement between South Africa and the CAR, negotiated by former president Thabo Mbeki, provided for 28 troops to be sent to Bangui in 2007 as military trainers and to beef up Bozize’s presidential guard. This deal was secretly renewed for another five years in December, when Bozize sent his son to meet Zuma. Another 200 troops arrived in Bangui in January.

But he said the number of troops sent fell far short of the number promised by Zuma.