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CHAD: Interim president wants to run for president amid unsettling France backing

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Chad’s interim President Mahamat Idriss Deby on Saturday, confirmed his plan to run in the upcoming presidential race, fueling speculations that his recent shuttling to France was to secure strategic backing.

Deby’s announcement comes after a tumultuous week in which opposition politician, Yaya Dillo, was shot and killed in the capital, N’Djamena.

Some thinking suggests that external forces appear to be propelling Deby’s ambition in a bid not to let Chad go the eay of its neighbors to the west; Niger, Mali and Bokina Faso.

But Dillo’s death has intensified divisions within the ruling elite as Chad prepares for a transition to democratic rule through elections.

Following Dillo’s death, Deby’s uncle, General Saleh Deby Itno, who had defected to Dillo’s party, was arrested.

On Wednesday, heavy gunfire broke out in N’Djamena, capital of Chad shortly after the announcement of a much-anticipated election date in the central African nation.

The Chadian government stated that its security forces retaliated against members of the opposition Socialist Party Without Borders (PSF), who initiated an attack on state security forces early on Wednesday following an altercation with a party member.

PSF leaders refuted these allegations in Facebook posts, but local newspapers reported additional gunfire and a potential bombing of the party’s headquarters later that Wednesday.

Local authorities confirmed on Thursday that “dozens” of individuals were either injured or killed, including PSF leader Yaya Dillo.

Since Wednesday, internet services in the country have remained disconnected, contributing to the prevailing uncertainty.

Chad has long been grappling with political tensions stemming from changing loyalties and familial and tribal affiliations within the political establishment.

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The uncertainty following the passing of long-time ruler Idriss Deby in 2021 and the appointment of his son Mahamat as the new leader have only exacerbated the existing issues.

Despite the recent violence, President Deby announced his candidacy in a speech expressing honor, humility, responsibility, and gratitude.

Initially, Deby had promised an 18-month transition to elections following his assumption of power in 2021 after his father’s death.

However, the government later postponed elections to 2024, allowing Deby to run for president.

The situation in Chad remains tense as the country navigates political uncertainty and prepares for the upcoming presidential election amidst internal divisions and violence.

 


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