Will it take place this time? The military junta in Chad has set a new date for the national reconciliation dialogue, which has been postponed several times since it took power fifteen months ago. “The inclusive national dialogue is convened from August 20,” reads a decree of the Transitional Military Council signed on July 14 by the junta-appointed Prime Minister, Albert Pahimi Padacké.
The authorities do not specify at any time how to start this dialogue if the fifty or so groups armed rebels negotiating with them in the Qatari capital since March 13 fail to reach an agreement and if the main platform of the unarmed opposition, Wakit Tama, does not rejoin the talks it suspended on April 6 with the junta whose power she refuses to recognize.
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This dialogue was promised by General Mahamat Idriss Déby Iton the international community to hand over power to civilians within 18 months, possibly renewable once.
Already postponed twice
The day after the death of President Idriss Déby Itno, killed at the front against rebels in April 2021, his son, the young general Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, was proclaimed president at the head of a Transitional Military Council of 15 generals. He immediately promised free and democratic elections within 18 months, after an “inclusive national dialogue” with all the political opposition and all the countless rebel groups.
Chad: why the Major National Dialogue around the transition is doomed to succeed
But, after thirty years of very authoritarian exercise of power by Idriss Déby, this forum of national reconciliation, initially scheduled for February 15, then May 10, had been postponed, mainly because a pre-dialogue in Doha for a peace agreement between the junta and around fifty rebel groups has stalled for four months.
Too short a deadline for elections
From the first days, the new Chadian strongman had been dubbed by the international community – France, the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) in the lead –, his army being one of the pillars of the war against the jihadists in the Sahel alongside the French troops of Operation Barkhane. However, Paris, the EU and the AU had requested that the first 18-month deadline not be extended.
Chad: from Doha to N’Djamena, why dialogue is still blocked
The 18 months are supposed to end in October 2022, but presidential and legislative elections seem difficult to organize in such a short time. And the hypothesis of an “inclusive” dialogue supposed to prepare them without a major part of the armed and unarmed opposition in August seems to postpone the handing over of power to an uncertain future. to civilians.