At the very moment when tongues are wagging and screaming for the respect of the constitution, Emmanuel Macron is coming as if to give his unction to the rapid and anti-constitutional seizure of power by the junta made up of 15 generals headed by General Mahamat Kaka Idriss Déby Itno, the son of the deceased marshal.
According to the tabloid Young Africa, the French president personally present at the funeral of Marshal-President Idriss Déby, brings more questions than answers. France is not a country bordering Chad, so everything is in new approach according to Idriss Déby Itno.
For Emmanuel Macron, who came to attend Idriss Déby’s funeral on Friday, April 23, there is an uncomfortable test. What will be the lesson of this presence? The pre-eminence of security in the Paris-N’Djamena relationship? Without the Chadian contingent alongside forces allied with France in the Sahel in the fight against jihadist groups, everything would be harder. But France’s policy, reduced to this component, is trapping itself, and risks increasingly alienating the people, especially the younger generations. Will the French president find the words to go beyond the current discourse emanating from Paris, limited to the celebration of a « reliable » Chadian army (the language element among official sources) alongside French military operations in the Sahelian strip?
How, conversely, can the voices of Chadian effervescence be heard? The fear among civil society and party leaders is long-standing, fueled in particular by the memory of Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh, a respected politician who paid with his life for having taken a clear public stand, abducted in February 2008 by men in uniform during a failed rebel attack in N’Djamena. His body was never found.
Refusal of the « juntaThere is no major opposition party in Chad to rely on. However, among the personalities who dare to speak out, all are now aligned on a refusal of the authority of « the junta. » The constitution, reformed in 2018, cut off any remaining checks and balances within the state, and gave rise to a hyper-presidential regime without safeguards. But at least it established that in the event of the disappearance of the head of state, power reverted to the president of the Assembly, who had to organize elections. The Speaker of the Assembly promptly stepped down. This is also provided for in the constitution, which transfers this responsibility to the deputy speaker of parliament. No one has even considered this possibility.
At the very moment when tongues are wagging and crying out for the constitution to be respected, Emmanuel Macron comes as if to give his anointment to the rapid and anti-constitutional seizure of power by the junta made up of 15 generals headed by General Mahamat Kaka Idriss Déby Itno, the son of the deceased marshal.
By going in person to the funeral of Idriss Déby, the Chadian President who officially died fighting rebels, Emmanuel Macron is first paying tribute to a key ally of France in Africa. But his trip is also being interpreted as an endorsement of his successor, General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, the deceased president’s own son, who was appointed under troubled circumstances.
For it is not a banal trip for a funeral that the President is making: he is arriving in a capital under tension, with an armed rebellion in the north, and a population that fears a new period of instability, even violence. And in a context where the Chadian opposition and civil society are crying « coup d’état » at the heart of the still mysterious events of the last few days.
The President’s visit and the unqualified statements from Paris show that France has no problem with a transition that does not respect the Chadian constitution and resembles the worst nepotistic and clan-based practices denounced elsewhere.
In the Chadian constitution, it is the President of the National Assembly who should be in charge in the event of a power vacuum, not the head of the presidential guard and a military council as is the case.
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