Five months after President Idriss Déby’s sudden death, Chadian authorities are preparing a highly anticipated national dialogue. The country faces significant challenges as it charts a course to civilian rule.
National dialogue moved to propose extension of transition as political repression increased; deadly herder-farmer violence continued in south.
National dialogue continued amid tensions. Internal commission of national dialogue 28 Sept submitted proposal to extend transition to elections by two years, keep head of military junta as head of state and allow him to run for president at ballot box. Earlier in month, lack of inclusivity cast shadow on national dialogue’s work. Catholic Church 3 Sept suspended participation in national dialogue, citing lack of “mutual listening”. Group of elders and religious leaders negotiating with some boycotting forces (including opposition and civil society platform Wakit Tama) to pave way for their participation 14 Sept called for suspension of dialogue to consider several recommendations, including installation of new presidium and revision of participation quotas; authorities however took no heed of proposal. Meanwhile, FM Cherif Mahamat Zene 19 Sept resigned, citing interference and encroachment on his mandate from presidential office.
Authorities clamped down on opposition. In apparent bid to prevent anti-dialogue rally scheduled for 3 Sept, security forces 1 Sept detained 84 members of Les Transformateurs opposition party over accusations of “disturbing public order” and holding “unauthorised demonstrations” in capital N’Djamena; next day surrounded party headquarters in city, confining four members inside, including party president, Succès Masra. Authorities 4 Sept lifted siege and released party members arrested since 1 Sept, who totalled 279 according to party. Police 9 Sept fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters accompanying Masra to N’Djamena courthouse; 21 Sept cordoned off square in N’Djamena to contain Wakit Tama protest, reportedly detaining several demonstrators.
Intercommunal conflict persisted in Moyen-Chari province in south. Herder-farmer clashes 13-14 Sept left 19 dead in several localities of Lac Iro department; security forces detained 18 people.
Chad is an essential component of Western countries’ strategy in the Sahel and in the fight against terrorism.
[Chadian president Déby] has a pretty fractious inner circle, and he knows that any local conflict could quickly escalate into a national one.
[There are no] significant indications of other violent extremist activity [in Chad aside from Boko Haram], so in that respect, [the decision to include Chad in the U.S. ...
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Crisis Group experts Richard Moncrieff and Claudia Gazzini about the death of Chadian President Idriss Déby and its consequences for Chad and the region.
The death of Chad’s President Idriss Déby has plunged the country into uncertainty, causing concern among many Chadians and in neighbouring states. Crisis Group looks at recent events and examines the main risks facing the country.
The Chadian army, while essential to counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel, is also a source of potential instability for the country. Chadian authorities, supported by their international partners, should build a more representative and professional army, and establish safeguards to discourage violence in the event of a succession crisis.
Despite Chad’s economic woes and its citizens’ frustration with elite impunity, its civil society organisations have struggled to mobilise into a coherent protest movement. But these groups might yet play a more important role if the country undergoes more dramatic and potentially destabilising changes.
Jihadist fighters killed around one hundred Chadian soldiers on Lake Chad in the country’s deadliest attack in recent history. While the army has launched a counter-offensive, it is vital to improve military cooperation in the region and to protect civilians.
Intercommunal violence, particularly between Arabs and non-Arabs, has ravaged eastern Chad throughout 2019 and could further threaten the country’s stability. The government should initiate a debate on managing pastoralism and support an inclusive conference on the east.
Risks of an escalation in Tibesti are high as friction is rising between the state, gold miners and the local ethnic Teda population. The government should lift what has become a blockade of the village of Miski, dial back its rhetoric and enter talks with the population.
An early February incursion by the Union of Resistance Forces (UFR) into Chad from Libya was halted by French air strikes, conducted in coordination with the Chadian army. This most severe security threat for several years highlights the weakness of the country and President Idriss Déby’s rule.