Chad: A peaceful Transitional Government or Tyranny Dictatorship?
Zaid Adam Cheik
On April 20, 2021, the Chadian population learnt of the sudden death of their president Marshal Idriss Deby Itno, on the battlefield which opposed the forces of order to a rebel group of the Front Pour L’alternance et La Concorde au Chad (FACT) in the province of Kanem. This disappearance of the head of state has aroused concern among the population. However, this concern did not last after the imposition of Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, son of the deceased, as President of the Transitional Military Council under a charter which provides for an 18-month transition period during which power will be handed over to civilians, that is to that is, no later than October 20, 2022, after the Inclusive and Sovereign National Dialogue (DNIS).
Inclusive and Sovereign National Dialogue
A few months before the launch of the DNIS, a negotiation meeting took place in Doha, Qatar, with the participation of almost all the opposing political parties and the rebel movements, without forgetting the members of the Transitional Military Council. After five months of hard work, the peace agreement with some forty rebel movements for their participation in the inclusive national dialogue is coming to an end. Despite the desire of the president of the Transitional Military Council to unite all the people, 18 rebel groups, including the most important, do not adhere to the agreement. Thus, the DNIS is scheduled for August 20, 2022, in the capital of Chad, N’djamena.
The DNIS commenced as planned under the leadership of former adversary Gali Ngothé Gatta. However, the dialogue, which was supposed to run for 21 days, was interrupted before the conclusion of its second day, delaying the calendar as announced. Unnecessary breaks continued, dragging the dialogue until October 8, the date of the end of the DNIS. During these discussions, several institutional reforms and electoral processes were made. For example, the commission recommended a presidential term of 7 years, renewable once. In addition, to be a presidential candidate, the minimum age is 35 (a constitutional reform was made just a few months before the death of Marshal İdriss Deby İtno, increasing the age from 35 to 40). In addition, a very important decision is born: the transition will be extended for two years, and the president of the transitional military council will be able to present himself at least twice in the next presidential elections. Thus, October 10 marks the inauguration of PCMT as transitional president, president of the Republic, and Chadian head of state.
The aftermath of the inauguration
The inauguration of Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno as transitional President, President of the Chadian Republic saw dissatisfied reactions. Several political parties and civil society coalitions have called for demonstrations on October 20 in Chad to protest the extension of the transition period to two years.
The latter are demanding that transitional president Mahamat Idriss Deby hand over power to a civilian in accordance with his promise at the end of an 18-month transition, which ends on October 20. The opposition platform Wakit Tamma and the political party, the Transformers guided by its President Masra, one of the main oppositions are calling for demonstrations. However, on the night of October 19, 2022, the demonstration was banned by the authorities. According to the government, “this march aims to create a popular and armed insurrection with the support of external forces in order to destabilise” the country. In addition, the government adds: “Security provisions are being taken to thwart these actions” that the Chadian opposition intends to carry out. But all this fell on deaf ears of the opposing parties.
On October 20, 2022, the capital Ndjamena woke up to total disorder. The demonstrators invade almost half of the city in a disparate way to demand the departure of Mahamat Deby İtno. In addition to the capital is added the city of Doba, Moundou and Koumra.
The demonstrators attacked public buildings, the governorate, the headquarters of the Prime Minister’s party, and that of the president of the National Assembly. The headquarters of Saleh Kebzabo’s (transitional head of government) party, the National Union for Development and Renewal (UNDR), was targeted by protesters and “partly burnt down”, the deputy said. -president of the party, Celestin Topona.
Clouds of black smoke were visible, and tear gas fire was heard regularly throughout the day, while barricades were erected in several areas of the city and tires were burned on the main roads to obstruct traffic.The security forces come against these demonstrators, creating a total ambush. They use lethal weapons and kill them with live ammunition. Thus, the authorities take everything under control by spilling the citizens.
“They are shooting at us. They are killing our people. The soldiers of the only general who refused to honour his word, and today is the end of 18 months, this is how he intends to install the dynasty by killing the people”, said in a message on Twitter Success Masra
Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, “strongly condemned” the repression of the demonstrations, calling on “the parties to respect human lives and property” and to “prioritise peaceful ways to overcome the crisis” he reacted on Twitter
During a press conference on the same day, the Prime Minister of Chad, Saleh Kebzabo, announced that at least 50 died and more than 300 were wounded during the confrontation, which opposed the people to the forces of the ‘order. The deaths occurred in the different cities, he said, announcing the establishment of a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. until “total restoration of order” in these cities.
As a result, there is calm in the Chadian territory. Several organisations and countries strongly condemn the October 20 act. The UN asks that an investigation be made so that the actors of these bloody events go to court. For his part, the president of the Transition, President of the Republic, and Head of State, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, visited the victims and announced in a message addressed to the nation: “A 7-day mourning will be observed throughout the country from Tuesday, October 25, 2022, in memory of the victims of the tragic events.
Even though a precarious peace has returned to N’Djamena, tensions remain high not only in the capital but also in the major cities in the country’s south. Some opposition executives who called for this march on October 20 invoked an unconfirmable figure of more than a hundred deaths. The tensions between opposition leader Succès Masra and President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno escalate daily. In his second broadcast to the nation in a week, the president made significant revelations about two of the most influential organisers of the October 20 marches. In fact, if one reads between the lines, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno asserts that the protests that took place were the result of the desires of one individual, Success Masra, whose requests were denied.
In addition, through a publication on her Facebook page, the former Treasurer of the Transformers, Fatima Soumaila, reveals: “Masra told us several times, and I quote: if I do not become President, I will do everything possible to make this country unliveable.”
This affair risks removing the masks and showing the true faces of Chadian politicians. The question arises whether opposition leader Success Masra’s purpose is attaining power or protecting the lives of civilians. Alternatively, is all of this a political game devised by the transitional president Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno to destroy his opponent Success Masra so he can make Chad an autocratic monarchy?
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