Chad: President Deby Pressing Ahead With 6th Term Plan in Chad's Chaotic Election

11 April 2021

Chad's President Idriss Deby is going ahead with Sunday's election for a 6th term after 36 years in office amid unrecedented violence, calls for boycott by his beleaguered opponents and alleged assassination and bombing plots.

The ministry of internal affairs in N'djamena on Thursday announced the arrest of several people, including politicians, over an alleged plot to assassinate prominent figures, attack polling stations and the electoral commission headquarters.

Deby, 68, has been running the oil-rich but poor country for a cumulative 36 years.

The list of his original 30 opponents for Sunday's vote was whittled down to 10 but most of those cleared have either been barred or quit the race.

Saleh Kebzabo, runner up in the last presidential race, says he has quit, following the "militarization" of the electoral process. This was after security forces raided the home of another aspirant Yaya Djero, whose 80-year-old mother was among the three people killed in the raid.

The government version was that some armed men attacked security agents who had gone to arrest the politician for an alleged crime.

Protests have been banned or violently dispersed with human right groups accusing the authorities of cracking down and intimidating opponents.

Deby's decision in February to stand for a sixth term sparked violent protests. Sporadic anti-government demonstrations have been met with strong arm responses.

Since independence from France in 1960, Chad has seen chronic political instability, ethnic conflicts, high unemployment and stifling poverty.

Deby, a former rebel and military paratrooper, who seized power in a coup in 1990 has remained on the saddle for all but a few years.

In 2020, the parliament controlled by his ruling party conferred on him the rank of Field Marshall for his "efforts in fighting Islamic terrorism in West Africa."

Most importantly, Deby enjoys the support of France and other foreign powers, who consider him an ally in the unending fight against terrorism and insurrections by jihadists groups including Al Qaeda and ISIS in the Sahel, especially with the killing of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Deby's compatriots are now in charge of the African Union Commission and the 15,000-strong UN Mission in Mali, MINUSMA.

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