Chad: ‘Nobody is afraid to run against Mahamat Idriss Deby in an election’

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In Chad, the inclusive and sovereign national dialogue must end by the end of the week. Some important conclusions were formulated by the plenary: A new 24-month transition will begin, led by Mahamat Idriss Déby. In the end, like the other transition leaders, he will be able to capture the votes of the electorate. Opponent Succès Masra, head of the Transformers party, calls for clarification and new talks.

RFI: The national, inclusive and sovereign dialogue has decided that Mahamat Idriss Déby could run in the elections that will take place at the end of the transition. How do you react to this decision?

Masra Success: The right to stand as a candidate is not the obligation to stand as a candidate. I believe that the President of the Transitional Military Council, Mahamat Déby, has made a commitment and has not yet spoken after the discussions in the palace on the 15th of the candidate. There are things to which one is entitled but which may seem politically inappropriate. It’s up to him to either stick to the initial commitment or to explain to the Chadians and each other why he might abandon that initial choice.

As such, he will initially lead this transition, which may take up to 24 months. Under what conditions can this transition work? Do you think that Mahamat Idris Déby’s direction is a problem?

It depends on how the bodies of transition management are organized. It’s not a personal question. This is not a nominal question. It’s about how to help shape that transition so that eventually trust is restored so that the resulting elections can be real elections. At the moment he has not said his intentions. Maybe, I suppose, at the end of the transition he decides not to run.

And if he is a candidate?

If he is a candidate, then at some point the upstream balance sheet must be made to build trust, because when he has all the powers in his hands. You know that all power tends to corrupt. And absolute power absolutely corrupts. And that’s why we can’t afford it. The question of how to continue to manage the transition will therefore also depend on their clarification.

Today palace talks say he may be a candidate, which he has not committed to. If he’s changed, he should be able to tell. And the way the administration of the suite is organized needs to integrate these elements so that we can achieve something credible for everyone. Because in the end nobody is afraid to face Mahamat [Idriss Déby] to an election. We said it, at least for us, from the beginning: if the conditions for a balanced election are met, the results will be binding for everyone. And so, in a way, Chadians are willing to get involved.

But how can we specifically organize this co-management that you are calling for?

Specifically, these are the power relations. Today, when decisions are made, all powers will be in the hands of one person. This is not acceptable. For example, we do not discuss the irremovability of heads of transitional bodies and members of various transitional bodies, including the body that will be responsible for elections. All of this needs to be discussed.

So do we need another dialogue that extends this one?

Either way. In a second format or another. But what is essential is that we have to have discussions that will make it possible to create together the conditions for something that takes into account some good ideas that came out of this palace on January 15th. But to this must be added important things that are not in this palace…

Like what?

For example, the release of prisoners of war. The conditions we are asking for to ensure that the crossing points are not in the hands of one person are not dominated in terms of representativeness by people who may in fact come from one part of the country. All of that is the balance we need to find to get there.

What do you expect from the international community today?

To honor its commitments, because the international community has also made commitments, be it France, be it the United States, be it the African Union, be it the United Nations, be it the European Union. This international community that has said that it will stand by the Chadian people so that there is real democracy and that there is no plan for dynastic succession or dynastic transfer of power etc. Against this background, everyone is expected today.

Chadians don’t want press releases raising concerns. Chadians want an international community that can act alongside the Chadian people on the basis of justice and equality.

► Also read: Inclusive National Dialogue in Chad: Policy Responses to Prolonging Transition

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