Friday, June 14, 2024

Idriss Deby Sworn In As Chad’s Elected President

General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, who has led Chad’s military junta for three years, was sworn in as president on Thursday after an election victory contested by the opposition. Deby officially won 61 percent of the May 6 vote that international NGOs said was neither credible nor free and which his main rival called a “masquerade”.

Taking the oath of office, Deby said he swore “before the Chadian people… to fulfil the high functions that the nation has entrusted in us”.

Eight African heads of state as well as Constitutional Council members and hundreds of guests watched as the 40-year-old, dressed in his customary white boubou, was inaugurated as president at the Palace of Arts and Culture in the capital N’Djamena.

The presidential term runs for five years and can be renewed once. In a speech had earlier declared a “return to constitutional order” and pledged to be “the president of Chadians from all backgrounds and of all sensibilities”.

Deby was proclaimed transitional president in April 2021 by a junta of 15 generals after his father, iron-fisted president Idriss Deby Itno, was shot dead by rebels after 30 years in power.

The swearing-in marks the end of three years of military rule in a country crucial to the fight against jihadism across Africa’s restive Sahel region.

In 2021, Deby was quickly endorsed by an international community led by France, whose forces in recent years have been ousted by military regimes in its other former colonies Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

The investiture ceremony also officialises what the opposition has denounced as a Deby dynasty.

Prime Minister Succes Masra, one of Deby’s fiercest opponents before becoming prime minister, handed in his resignation on Wednesday in the wake of his party’s election defeat after just four months in office. Masra, an economist who won 18.5 percent of the vote, contested the results and did not attend the inauguration.

He had claimed victory after the first round of voting but faced accusations of being a junta stooge by the opposition, which has been violently repressed in Chad, with its top members barred from the election.

Mana Balagbogbo
Mana Balagbogbo
Broadcast Journalist with LN247 (Everything Politics).

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