Political transition in Chad: The TMC ensures the continuity of the state
Chad’s Transitional Military Council (TMC), which was set up after the death of President Idriss Deby Itno, is continuing to strengthen the foundations of a state made fragile by the attacks on its borders. It has been working on all fronts for the past four months to ensure institutional continuity, security, social support and freedom.
On 20 April 2021, Field Marshal Idriss Deby Itno lost his life during a rebel incursion into Chad, on the very same day that the provisional results of the presidential election were announced. The demise of the President of the Republic, Head of State and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, further emboldened rebel groups and sparked more attacks on the country’s borders, shaking the state to its foundations.
Following the President of the National Assembly’s refusal to step in as interim president, a fifteen-member Transitional Military Council (TMC), headed by General Mahamat Idriss Deby, was tasked with dealing with the threats facing the country. Nearly four months later, the performance of this council, in conjunction with the country’s political, social and religious stakeholders, as well as with its international allies, is convincing.
On 21 April, a Transitional Charter was promulgated to establish the transitional bodies. These include, in addition to the TMC, the National Transitional Council (NTC), currently in the process of being set up, and the Transitional Government (TG). It was in accordance with this Charter that a civilian transitional Prime Minister, Albert Pahimi Padacké, was appointed on 26 April. Five days later, following mediation by the international community and national consultations, a transitional government was set up by the Prime Minister. The General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno President of the TMC. Prime Minister’s programme was unanimously approved by the National Assembly on 14May.
THE PRIME MINISTER’S PROGRAMME WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED BY THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
A roadmap in the lead-up to a National Development Plan
The government has drawn up a roadmap to guide transitional bodies in their dealings with friendly countries and development partners. This is a reference framework to steer actions aimed at ensuring the continuity of the state, safeguard the gains made in terms of peace and stability, and maintain the country’s development programmes, in order to create the right conditions for a general election to take place at the end of the transition period.
This roadmap sets out three strategic thrusts and identifies 123 actions, along with the estimated implementation costs:
• Strengthening security and defence:
298 billion CFA francs, of which 11 billion are available
• Organising dialogue, consolidating peace and national unity:
424 billion CFA francs, of which 129 billion are available
• Strengthening good governance and the rule of law:
273 billion CFA francs, of which 14 billion are available
Financing for these planned actions will come from the state budget and from development partners and Chad’s allies, either bilaterally or through an event that brings together international donors.
SIGNS OF GOODWILL
In an effort to convince its political and social partners of its genuine desire to achieve a swift transition and return power to civilians in the short term, the TMC has made numerous demonstrations of goodwill. It is also making every effort to restore security throughout the country.
• Peace and security
In earlyMay, the Chadian army declared victory over the rebels of the Front pour l’alternance et la concorde au Tchad (FACT), whose forays led to the death of President Idriss Déby. As a result, the security forces carried out a census of the military and a disarmament operation to further strengthen their victory.
• Démocracy and the rule of law
The government has released several prisoners of conscience, including Baradine Berdeï Targuio in June. Targuio, who heads up the Chadian Organisation for Human Rights (OTDH), was accused of subversiveonline activity,before being arrested in January 2020 and sentenced to three years in prison in February, despite his Supreme Court appeal. To its credit, the government also legalised presidential candidate Succes Masra’s political party, Les Transformateurs. It is also worth noting that the rights of FACT prisoners of war are being upheld. Lastly, on 30 June, the president of the TMC signed a decree granting collective remissions of sentences to common law prisoners
• Respecting rights and freedoms
The government lifted restrictions on peaceful marches and authorised several demonstrations in compliance with the terms of the Public Security Minister’s order. For example, on 29 July, the march organised by the civil society coalition Wakit-Tama took place peacefully.
THE GOVERNMENT LIFTED RESTRICTIONS ON PEACEFUL MARCHES
• National reconciliation
With the constitution of a government of national unity and reconciliation, a portfolio of National Reconciliation and Dialogue was created, headed by the Minister for National Reconciliation. A committee responsible for the organisation of the inclusive national dialogue is being set up with all the country’s political and social stakeholders. Members of this committee will be selected on the basis of how representative and competent they are. The TMC’s policy of reaching out to opponents in exile is the reason for Hassan Fadoul Khitir’s return to the country after having lived in exile in Togo for two decades.
• Social and civil services
Despite the country’s difficult economic situation, which is exacerbated by the health crisis, there have been no delays in the payment of civil servants’ salaries and the retired population’s pensions. To improve services to citizens, the government has acquired a 19 MW generator to boost the capacity of the SNE, and the water supply has been improved in the capital, N’Djamena.
ECONOMIC RECOVERY: SUPPORT FROM INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS FOR CHAD’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY
The government’s roadmap is not a substitute for the impending National Development Plan (2022- 2026), which is expected to revive the national economy. Chad will need the support of all its partners in order to implement this plan, as well as the roadmap that precedes it. For this reason, there has been intense diplomatic activity over the past four months, including trips by the Head of State to Niger, Nigeria, Angola and France. It should be stressed that the transition process has received significant support from the international community, in particular from the African Union, the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (CEMAC), and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), as well as from friendly countries (Togo, Egypt, Qatar, Angola, and Sudan).