The Stream

Is real change in Chad possible?

On Thursday, May 6 at 19:30 GMT:
More than thirty years of increasingly repressive rule by one man in Chad has in recent weeks given way to sudden political uncertainty, as first an unappointed military council and now a transitional government reckon with the country’s future after President Idriss Deby’s killing.

Chad’s interim president Mahamat Deby – son of the late Idriss – on Sunday named the 40-member transitional government after days of widespread popular discontent over power being concentrated within a 15-member Transitional Military Council (CMT), led by Deby. The military council was formed soon after the army announced on April 20 that Idriss Deby had died of injuries he sustained while visiting frontline forces fighting Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) rebels in the Kanem region, hours after he had won a sixth term.

While some opposition leaders have joined the new transitional government, the majority of ministerial posts were reserved for members of Deby’s Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS). And there is simmering public discontent that parliament was dissolved and the constitution suspended before the CMT was formed. While parliament reconvened this week, one opposition leader says Chad is still being denied a full transition to civilian rule.

Tensions have been especially high in Chad since several people were killed and hundreds arrested during protests in the capital on April 27. Millions of people across the country are facing unemployment and hunger. The country’s economy weakened in 2020 as oil prices fell, and people working in previously reliable job sectors such as energy, transport and construction have been laid off in recent months. Thousands of people working informal jobs have also lost work.

Chad is now being closely watched by former colonial power France, which supported the late president Deby and which has hundreds of troops stationed in N’Djamena. French President Emmanuel Macron has in recent days tried to walk a line between supporting the Chadian military in its fight against FACT rebels while at the same time publicly opposing a “succession plan” for Chad. An African Union fact-finding team is in Chad to monitor its next steps.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll look at what lies ahead for people in Chad as it adjusts to life without Idriss Deby.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
John Mukum Mbaku
Professor, Weber State University

Reed Brody, @ReedBrody
Counsel and Spokesperson, Human Rights Watch

Ahmed Idris, @Ahmedtj66
Correspondent, Al Jazeera