The leader of the military junta in Chad, Mahamat Idriss Itno Deby, has assured Chadians and the international community that relations with the African Union (AU) which have not been cordial since April this year when the army took over in the country, are now “calm.”
“It is now time for a relaxation of tensions and calm. The divergences have now turned into convergence of views and real collaboration with a view to better manage the transition in Chad,” a statement from the Presidency of Chad declared on Thursday, July 8 as a 16-member AU delegation led by Bankole Adeoye, its Commissioner of Political Affairs, Peace and Security, was received by the junta leader, General Mahamat Deby Itno.
The AU had condemned the army’s takeover in the country following the death of President Idriss Deby Itno and suspended Chad after the junta dissolved parliament and government, abrogated the constitution, and appointed Deby’s 37-year-old son as President of an eighteen month Transitional Military Council (TMC).
However, the AU called on the junta to rapidly open a “national dialogue” with the opposition and a “democratic transition” involving “free, just and credible” elections within a period not exceeding eighteen months.
The president of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) quickly promised to hold a national dialogue and the appointment of a National Transitional Council in charge of legislative functions which is still being awaited.
Under pressure from the international community, General Idriss Deby Itno on May 2, 2021 appointed a “transitional government” made up of civilians and led by Albert Pahimi Padacke, the last Prime Minister to his late father.
The Prime Minister on Thursday met with a delegation of the Wakit Tamma coalition, a collective of opposition parties and civil society associations, which has denounced what it termed “a constitutional coup d’etat” and has on several occasions called for demonstrations against the TMC.
Thursday’s discussions between Prime Minister Padacke and the Wakit Tamma delegation were centred on the transitional and national dialogue process.
“The ultimate goal was to break the ice because we were diabolised and Wakit Tamma was painted as not wanting dialogue and holding a radical position,” declared Max Loalngar, Coordinator of the opposition platform.
“We are by this proving that we are not opposed to dialogue.”
Wakit Tamma had on June 8, 2021 said it was ready to participate in national dialogue but called for the Transitional Military Council to change its nomenclature to Republican Transitional Council composed of civilians and soldiers.
Tension between the African Union and N’Djamena became visible when the continental organisation appointed the former Senegalese Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Fall, as its “High Representative to accompany the transition” in Chad without first informing the Chadian authorities.
The AU had in May called on Mahamat Deby and members of the TMC to “respect the engagement which they took not to be candidates in presidential and legislative elections after the transition.”
The head of the military junta had two weeks ago said he did not exclude the possibility of prolonging the transitional period before holding promised elections.
Former Chadian head of state Idriss Deby Itno who was 68-year-old died at the war front against rebels on April 19, 2021 after ruling the country for 30 years.
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