Ahead of Chad’s presidential election on 10 April popular discontent is rising amid a major economic crisis, growing intra-religious tensions and deadly Boko Haram attacks. The regime that portrays itself as spearheading the fight against regional jihadism could see all sorts of violent actors gain influence at home if it pursues exclusionary politics and denies its people a viable social contract.
Despite continued standoff between govt and unions over working conditions, major unions 13 Jan said they would suspend five-month strike for one month. Following airstrike on Chadian rebels in S Libya by Libyan General Khalifa Haftar’s forces in Dec and rumours that combatants had crossed from Libya into N Chad, govt 6 Jan said it had closed border with Libya and deployed troops to prevent other militants entering Chad. President Déby discussed EU’s aid to Chad during Brussels visit 9 Jan. Former President Hissène Habré’s appeal against conviction for crimes against humanity opened in Dakar, Senegal 9 Jan; court said it would give final verdict 27 April. FM Moussa Faki Mahamat 30 Jan elected AU Commission chair for four-year term.
The Sahel’s trajectory is worrying; poverty and population growth, combined with growing jihadi extremism, contraband and human trafficking constitute the perfect storm of actual and potential instability. Without holistic, sustained efforts against entrenched criminal networks, misrule and underdevelopment, radicalisation and migration are likely to spread and exacerbate.
Sensible, inclusive regulation of pastoralism that has mitigated tension in parts of the Sahel should be extended to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), where conflicts have worsened with the southward expansion of pastoralism.
The fall of Qaddafi’s regime, followed by his death on 20 October, could pave the way to promises of democracy in Libya but left neighbouring countries facing new potential problems that could threaten stability in the region.
Chad’s North West may become the next stage for insurgency, drug-running and religious extremism in the Sahel if the government continues to actively neglect the poorest of the violence-plagued country’s poor regions.
The approaching elections could be important steps toward reviving democracy in Chad, but only if President Idriss Déby opens political space for the opposition beforehand.
Jihadist groups have regrouped in the neglected hinterlands of Sahel countries and are launching attacks from them. To regain control of outlying districts, regional states must do far more to extend services and representation beyond recently recaptured provincial centres.
Originally published in Slate Afrique
Originally published in Al-Quds Al-Arabi
Saad Adoum, analyste principal de Crisis Group pour le Tchad, nous parle de l’évolution de la politique pétrolière tchadienne suite à l’influence croissante de la Chine, de l’impact de la crise libyenne sur le pays, et des conséquences de la réconciliation tchado-soudanaise sur la situation militaire du Tchad.