Abel Nguéndé Goumba (French pronunciation: ​[abɛl gumba]; 18 September 1926 – 11 May 2009) was a Central African political figure. During the late 1950s, he headed the government in the period prior to independence from France, and following independence he was an unsuccessful candidate for President of the Central African Republic four times (1981, 1993, 1999, and 2005). Goumba, who was President of the Patriotic Front for Progress (FPP) political party, served under President François Bozizé as Prime Minister from March 2003 to December 2003 and then as Vice President from December 2003 to March 2005.[1] Subsequently, he was appointed to the official post of Ombudsman.

Abel Goumba
AbelGoumba.png
Goumba c. 1960
Vice President of the Central African Republic
In office
December 2003 – March 2005
PresidentFrançois Bozizé
Preceded byHenri Maïdou (1980)
Succeeded byPost abolished
Prime Minister of the Central African Republic
In office
15 March 2003 – December 2003
PresidentFrançois Bozizé
Preceded byMartin Ziguélé
Succeeded byCélestin Gaombalet
Prime Minister of Ubangi-Shari
In office
30 March 1959 – 30 April 1959
Preceded byBarthélemy Boganda
Succeeded byDavid Dacko
Personal details
Born
Abel Nguéndé Goumba

(1926-09-18)18 September 1926
Grimari, Oubangui-Ouaka, Ubangi-Shari (present day Ouaka Prefecture, Central African Republic)
Died11 May 2009(2009-05-11) (aged 82)
Bangui, Central African Republic
Signature

Early lifeEdit

He was born in 1926 in Grimari, Ouaka Prefecture[2] in the Oubangi-Chari French colony, which is now the Central African Republic. He was a qualified medical doctor and member of the medical faculty in Bangui.

Entry into politicsEdit

While the country was still a French colony, Goumba was Vice-President of the Government Council from May 1957 to July 1958, President of the Government Council from July 1958 to December 1958, and was briefly Prime Minister in an acting capacity in April 1959, following the death of Barthélemy Boganda in a plane crash. He was defeated in a political power struggle by David Dacko in 1959 and then became a minor opposition party leader. He was in exile in France from 1960 until 1980. He worked for the World Health Organization in Rwanda and then Benin during the 1970s; while in Rwanda, he met his wife, Anne-Marie.[3] Even after his return to the Central African Republic, he was occasionally arrested for political activity. He feuded with all of Central African Republic's presidents until 2003 and was declared by them to be a national traitor.

1990sEdit

Goumba has a reputation for honesty and integrity. He stressed the importance of governing without corruption. In the 1981 presidential election, which was won by Dacko (who was nevertheless ousted only a few months later), Goumba took less than 2% of the vote, but in the 1993 presidential election he achieved his best result, coming in second place but being defeated by Ange-Félix Patassé in a run-off, in which Goumba took about 46% of the vote. In 1999 he did poorly by comparison, taking only about 6% of the vote and placing fourth, behind Patassé, André Kolingba, and Dacko.[4]

Under BozizéEdit

After Bozizé seized power on 15 March 2003, ousting Patassé, he appointed Goumba as Prime Minister on 23 March.[5] His government was formed on 31 March 2003; in its composition it was viewed as a compromise between Bozizé and Goumba, with a number of military allies and relatives of Bozizé receiving key posts while other posts went to associates and allies of various political leaders and to independent figures regarded as competent.[6] Goumba kept the portfolio of Minister of Finance himself.[7] The National Transitional Council (CNT) rejected Goumba's proposed programme of general policy on 5 November 2003, saying that the government's objectives, along with the methods of implementing those objectives, were not sufficiently defined in the programme. He had planned to submit a revised programme on 12 December 2003,[8] but on 11 December, Bozizé dismissed him as Prime Minister. On the next day Célestin Gaombalet was named to replace him;[8][9] Goumba was appointed as Vice-President instead.[9]

2005 candidacyEdit

He was a presidential candidate for the fourth time in the election held on 13 March 2005. Goumba was not expected to win;[10] he received sixth place and 2.51% of the vote.[4][11] He was one of the five candidates initially approved by the transitional constitutional court on 30 December 2004;[12] seven other candidates were excluded, although six of them were later allowed to run.[13]

On 14 March 2005, the day after the election, members of the Collective of Political Parties of the Opposition (CPPO), including Goumba, signed a petition in which they alleged that fraud had occurred. On 15 March, before the election results became available, Bozizé dismissed Goumba from the Vice-Presidency and the position was abolished. According to presidential spokesman Alain-George Ngatoua, this was because the constitution adopted in December 2004 did not provide for a Vice-President, and the dismissal was unrelated to the quality of Goumba's work; Ngatoua said that Bozizé thanked Goumba for facilitating the transitional process through his "wisdom and courage". Goumba expressed disgust at the manner of his dismissal; he said that he had received no notification of the dismissal and found out about it when it was reported on state radio. Goumba's view was that transitional institutions, including the Vice-Presidency, were supposed to be maintained until the installation of an elected government.[10]

Goumba ran for a seat from Kouango in the 2005 parliamentary election, held concurrently with the presidential election, but was defeated;[14] his wife Anne-Marie won a seat, however.[14][15]

RetirementEdit

Goumba's son, Alexandre was elected to succeed him as President of his party, Patriotic Front for Progress (FPP), on 5 March 2006, after the elder Goumba was appointed to the official post of Ombudsman.[16] As Ombudsman, he called for the government to negotiate with a rebel group after it captured Birao on 30 October 2006.[17]

He presented the first volume of his memoirs, covering the period from 1956 to 1959, on 14 January 2007.[18]

Goumba died at age 82 on 11 May 2009 at a clinic in Bangui after being taken to hospital the previous evening.[19][20]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Historical Dictionary of the Central African Republic
  2. ^ "Goumba Abel, candidat n°3, FPP." Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, 2005 election profile, ideesplus.com (in French).
  3. ^ Francis Kpatindé, "Monsieur Propre est arrive !" Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Jeuneafrique.com, 30 March 2003 (in French).
  4. ^ a b Elections in the Central African Republic, African Elections Database.
  5. ^ "Bozize appoints prime minister", IRIN, 24 March 2003.
  6. ^ François Soudan, "Le lutteur et le libérateur", Jeuneafrique.com, 6 April 2003 (in French).
  7. ^ "Les Anciens Ministres | Ministère des Finances et du Budget". www.finances.gouv.cf.
  8. ^ a b "Abel Goumba limogé", Jeuneafrique.com, 14 December 2003 (in French).
  9. ^ a b "New premier forms government, Goumba appointed VP", IRIN, 15 December 2003.
  10. ^ a b "Bozize sacks his deputy", IRIN, 16 March 2005.
  11. ^ "Rapport de la mission d'observation des élections présidentielle et législatives des 13 mars et 8 mai 2005 en République Centrafricaine" Archived 22 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine, democratie.francophonie.org (in French).
  12. ^ "Court clears five to run for president", IRIN, 31 December 2004.
  13. ^ "Election postponed, but most banned candidates can now run", IRIN, 25 January 2005.
  14. ^ a b François Soudan, "Chronique d'une victoire annoncée" Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, J.A./L'Intelligent N° 2314, 15–21 May 2005 (in French).
  15. ^ "Premiers résultats des législatives en Centrafrique: neuf députés élus" Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, AFP, 12 May 2007 (in French).
  16. ^ "Abel Goumba cède la présidence du FPP à son fils" Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, L'Express, 7 March 2006 (in French).
  17. ^ "CAR appeals for international help to combat rebels", Radio France Internationale, 5 November 2006.
  18. ^ "Les mémoires d'Abel Goumba présentés à Bangui" Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Agence Centrafrique Presse, 15 January 2007 (in French).
  19. ^ "Centrafrique : décès de l'ancien Premier ministre Abel Goumba" Archived 25 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Agence Centrafrique Presse, 11 May 2009 (in French).
  20. ^ "Décès d'Abel Goumba", African Press Agency, 11 May 2009 (in French).
Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of the Central African Republic
1959
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of the Central African Republic
2003
Succeeded by