TCHAD : a country in turmoil: pre-election tensions and regional issues Spécial

Source : Sahel weather

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Tensions between nomadic Arab herders and indigenous sedentary farmers continue to provoke deadly clashes in southern Chad. At the end of March, at least 23 people were killed during seven days of violence in the Moyen-Chari region. These clashes are often triggered by disagreements and conflicts over the control of certain lands.

At the same time, the arrest of Ibrahim Hissein Bourma, a Chadian businessman, continues to arouse public criticism. His support committee has denounced the conditions of his detention, claiming that he was brutally arrested by armed soldiers. Relatives also denounce the arbitrary detention of some thirty people in his residence.

Controversy also erupted around the appearance of election posters of the transitional president before the official start of the electoral campaign. The opposition denounced this as a violation of the Electoral Code and accused the election management body of a partisan attitude in not taking action against these posters. Presidential candidates are also criticizing the use of state resources in the campaign, claiming that the transitional president is benefiting from an unfair advantage. In addition, tensions have arisen around electoral transparency, with a ban on photographing the minutes of the count, raising concerns about the validity of the electoral process.

The electoral campaign continued with ten candidates vying for the May 6 presidential election, including Pahimi Padacké and Lydie Beassemda, the only female candidate in the Chadian presidential election, who supports federalism as well as women's rights. A food industry engineer with ministerial experience, she heads the Party for Democracy and Integral Independence (PDI). The candidates' programs range from anti-corruption measures and energy sector reform to promises of restoring democracy and food self-sufficiency. While Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno is campaigning in opposition areas, Succès Masra, the current Prime Minister and presidential candidate, organized a massive rally in Moundou before embarking on a well-attended campaign even in the interior of the country and especially in the big cities. 

Against this tense backdrop, the United States plans to temporarily withdraw some of its forces from Chad, in response to a Chadian request to cease operations at an air base, and will do so, according to the authorities, as part of a review of security cooperation after the presidential elections.  

The elections went off smoothly and the partial results are being scrutinized from all sides, with heated debates already launched on social networks and claims of victory in the major cities by supporters of the opponent Succès Masra.