Chad ruler Deby says unity govt 'in next few days'

AFP , Monday 10 Oct 2022

Chad junta chief Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno on Monday said a "government of national union" would be created in the coming days to steer the course toward elections, following a forum on the country's future.

Mahamat Idriss Deby raises his hand as he is sworn in as Chad s transitional president, in N Djamena on October 10, 2022. AFP


The government "will put its heart and soul into ensuring that the will of the Chadian people is fully upheld," said Deby at ceremonies where he was appointed "transitional president" after the forum which ended on Saturday.

Chad, one of the world's poorest countries, has endured repeated uprisings and unrest since gaining independence from France in 1960.

Deby, a 38-year-old five-star general, took the helm in April 2021 after his father, Idriss Deby Itno, who had ruled with an iron fist for three decades, was killed during an operation against rebels.

Parliament was dissolved and the constitution was suspended as Deby was proclaimed president.

He headed a junta of 15 generals that, he said, would rule for 18 months -- a period that without extension would have ended this month.

Deby then organised a "national inclusive dialogue" that he said would chart the country's return to civilian rule.

It wound up on Saturday after endorsing a further two-year period leading to elections during which Deby would become "transitional president" and be allowed to stand as a candidate in the future polls.

The conference opened on August 20 after repeated delays and was boycotted by the main political opposition movement and by two out of the three biggest armed rebel groups.

Deby on Monday said the government would be formed "in the next few days" and oversee what he called "the second phase of transition... (leading to) the strengthening of our democracy".

"Elections will be held, transparently and peacefully, to enable the men and women of Chad to put an end to the transition and ensure the return to constitutional order," he said.

VIPs who attended his inauguration included Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and ministers from Niger, the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo.

France, the former colonial power and long-term ally of Deby's father, was represented by its ambassador, as was the European Union (EU).

Deby had initially pledged an 18-month transition period and said he would not run in the presidential elections that followed.

Bu in June 2021, he floated the possibility of extending the transition by a further 18 months "if the Chadians do not manage to reach an agreement" on the way forward.

He also said he would leave the question of his presidential candidacy to God.

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