N’Djamena, Chad: Deferred consultations on Chad’s future were held on Saturday in what the ruling military junta said was a “decisive moment” despite some opposition groups boycotting the rally. More than 1,400 representatives from society, opposition parties, trade unions and rebel groups gathered in N’Djamena for a “national dialogue” scheduled to last three weeks.
After arriving in military uniform surrounded by heavy security to open the forum, the head of the military government, General Mahamat Idriss Deby, called his brainchild the forum “a decisive moment in our country’s history.” moment,” he said. He had earlier reviewed the honor guard after the inauguration of a statue symbolizing national unity at the royal palace in the capital N’Djamena on January 15, according to his AFP journalist at the scene.
“This dialogue should allow us to rely on weapons,” said government spokesman Abderamane Kuramalla. Deby signed a decree mid-week stating that the Forum would make a legally binding “sovereignty” decision and that he would act as a surety.
The head of the military junta took power in April 2021 at just 37 years old after his father, who ruled for 30 years, was killed during a military campaign against rebels. Military leaders say the talks should pave the way for “free and democratic” elections after 18 months of rule by the military junta.
A dialogue that was supposed to start in February was hit by repeated delays as a number of Chadian rebel groups met in Qatar and disputed whether to attend. Finally, on August 8, about 40 groups signed an agreement that included a ceasefire and guarantees of safe passage.
At the top of the agenda were ways to achieve lasting peace, reform the institutions of state and give basic freedoms to all. The commission must also draft a new constitution that will be put to a referendum. Although many opposition groups appeared ready to give the forum a chance, some did not attend.
The Front for Change and Harmony in Chad (FACT) has boycotted events considered “pre-distorted” towards the military regime. FACT, the main opposition group that did not sign a peace deal, sparked attacks in the northeast last year that resulted in the death in battle of Deby’s father, Idriss Deby.
The Wakit Thamma, a large coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups, has also refused to participate, accusing the military government of “human rights violations”. Opponents on the forum also swayed by suggesting that Deby may decide to take over power as head of the military junta and run for president, which he had initially promised not to do. is doing.
Success Masra, leader of the Transformers Party, part of the Wakit Tamma coalition, called for public resistance at a meeting attended by hundreds of supporters in N’Djamena on Saturday, leading to a massive police presence. After qualifying on Saturday, the actual dialogue is scheduled to begin on Sunday or Monday.
On Thursday, deported rebel leader Timan Erdimi and former Defense Minister of the Union for Democracy and Development (UFDD) Mahamat Nouri returned to Chad to participate in the forum.
“We signed this agreement to rebuild Chad,” Erdimi, head of the United Resistance Forces (UFR), told AFP. It has endured repeated uprisings and unrest since its independence from France in Observers say the negotiations face major challenges. – AFP