N’DJAMENA, 3 May 2021 – Chad’s new military leaders named a government Saturday, but leading opposition parties and civil society have rejected it.
The coalition of civil society organizations which organized street protests last Tuesday against military rule and Chad’s main opposition parties have reiterated calls for a return to constitutional order and civilian rule.
Rebels who assassinated former Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno have also rejected the junta, calling for an end to attempts to set up a “Deby dynasty”.
The armed rebellion, political opposition, and civil society stakeholders are united in their call for a transition government that mirrors the arrangements made in Sudan following the fall of Omar al-Bashir: a transition led by a civilian president, with a military vice-president.
Chad’s former president, Idriss Deby Itno, was killed last April 20 while visiting government forces on the frontlines of the war with rebels.
One of Deby’s sons, Mahamat Deby Itno aka Kaka, seized power at the helm of an 18-member military council that dissolved the former government, disbanded parliament, and gave itself the mandate to manage an 18-month transition leading to democratic elections.
One of Kaka’s well-known allies in civil society, Albert Pahimi Padacke, was named prime minister.
“It gives the impression of a house built starting with the roof,” Reuters news agency cited opposition leader Succes Masra as saying.
“This will not go far as long as we do not return to the foundations desired by the people: a civilian president, a (military) vice-president.”
The military council claims that the government will be led by a civilian, holding out the appointment of a civilian prime minister to say the military will focus on security issues at a time when the country faces a rebellion from the north.
At least six civilians were shot dead during protests last Tuesday in the capital, N’Djamena, and the country’s second-biggest town, Moundou.
A majority of the ministers named in the new government held positions under Idriss Deby’s last government, lending credence to claims by the opposition and civil society groups that “the more Chad changes, the more it is the same”.
Since gaining independence from France in 1960, Chad has been ruled for all but the first 15 years by the military or leaders of armed rebellions claiming to be civilians once in power.
The country’s first president, Ngarta Tombalbaye, ruled for 15 years surviving at least seven major assassination attempts over that period and finally getting slain in the presidential palace in 1975 by General Mbailai Odingar, the then acting commander of Chad’s 4,000-man army.
Then as more recently during the transition from Deby-Father to Deby-Son, the military claimed that it had assumed its responsibilities before God and the nation.