By Paul Ejime
At least two civilians have been killed and 27 others injured in clashes between demonstrators and Chadian security forces.
In another development, 12 Chadian soldiers have been reported killed by rebels opposed to Chad’s Military Transition Government led by Gen. Mahamat Deby, who succeeded his late father on April 20.
The main opposition group FACT, Front for Change and Concord in Chad, called the protests after rejecting as a coup against democracy, Mahamat’s takeover from his father Idriss Deby, who had ruled Chad for 31 years.
Deby Sr. had won a 6th term in office in an April 11 highly disputed vote before he was reportedly killed in battle with rebels.
Under pressure from the rebels, the Military Council on Monday named Albert Padacke, an ally of the late Deby as Prime Minister of the Transitional Military Council, which has promised to conduct elections within 18 months for the transfer of power to civilians.
France, the former colonial power in Chad has the headquarters of its 5,100-strong Barkhane force in N’djamena, the Chadian capital fighting terrorism and Islamist insurgents in the Sahel.
Paris and other Western powers supported the late Deby as their partner in the counter-terrorism fight. But Chadian rebels and other citizens saw him as a dictator that pursued his personal and foreign agendas.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron, the only Western leader to attend the late Deby’s funeral has in a joint statement with President Felix Tshisekedi of Central Africa Republic, Chair of the African Union, ‘expressed concern’ over ongoing violence in Chad.
Without condemning the military takeover, both leaders simply called for an inclusive and civilian-led Unity Government. They also want elections to be held within 18 months as already decreed by the Military Transitional Council.
Political observers have criticized as hypocrisy, the implicit support of the military takeover in Chad by France, the African Union and the rest of the international community, when compared with a similar event in neighbouring Mali, where the military seized power in August 2020.
The Mali situation which is not dissimilar to Chad’s was not only condemned roundly, but was met with sanctions and suspension.
Chad’s constitution provides for the Speaker/President of the National Assembly to assume power in the absence of the president of the republic.
But in a bizarre move, the Speaker of Chad’s Parliament issued an implausible statement after the military takeover and dissolution of government and the Assembly, claiming that it was the parliament that set up the Military Transition Council.
Such double standards and hypocrisy orchestrated by the imperialist powers and their African stooges constitute the real obstacles to the consolidation of democracy and socio-economic development/progress of Africa.