Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, former Special Representative and Head, United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), has urged Chad to us solid democratic principles build a sustainable society.
He said African leaders needed to be careful not to excuse the necessity to go through basics and ensure that ultimately a sustainable peaceful society was created in Chad, where all Chadians could aspire to be included in various processes and also in the benefits of the resources of the country.
Dr Chambas made the appeal in his submission during the Council on Foreign Relations-Ghana (CFR-Ghana) Virtual Conference Series dubbed, “Chad After Idriss Deby – Issues and Challenges”.
President Deby was assassinated on April 19, 2021, during a visit to the frontlines of the Chadian Army’s fight against the Front for Alternation and Concorde in Chad (FACT) rebels.
Dr Chambas noted that the African Union (AU) already had a normative framework – protocols and mechanisms for dealing with conflict situation such as in Chad.
He said an AU Team was already in Chad conducting their facts finding work, adding that the Team would then take their findings to the Peace Security Council.
He said it was regrettable that unlike with ECOWAS, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) did not have a very well-defined protocols on conflict mechanism for prevention, mediation, additional protocols on democracy and good governance.
“So, there is a void in that regard but I think the AU is there, we have our normative framework. We need to insist on at least some minimum standards to be maintained, otherwise, bad precedence would be set and it becomes a problem down the lane,” Dr Chambas said.
He noted that ECOWAS had started to collaborate rather closely with ECCAS, which perhaps would be an opportunity to rather solidarize with ECCAS regarding the situation there, which was strictly within the ECCAS domain.
This, he also said, was because of the widen implications of the situation in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel and the involvement of Chad through its military.
“We have an interest there, don’t forget that Ghana forfeited its candidature at the AU recently in solidarity with Chad, precisely because of the role that it is playing,” he stated.
“So, we acknowledge that role, however, at this point when some naked truths are also stirring us in the face, how do we go beyond the short term to start dealing with the situation.”
The discussant at the debate all held the view that Chad had an overblown army, which was not professionally structured, they turned to be tribal youth, who were hurriedly recruited and thrown into battle, they show a lot of bravery, bravado and they win some battle field victories and but one could not talk of a professional army in Chad and that needed to be addressed going forward.
Dr Chambas said the level of poverty was incredible in a country like Chad in the midst of huge resources.
He said going forward, serious efforts were needed in achieving sustainable development that impacted the population.
He called for judicious resource utilization to avoid state capture by a family or a clan or a few elites that denied the rest of population resources and which were at the roots of all these different rebel movements that kept coming up one time or the other.
He reiterated that the nature of recruits to the Chadian Army and the nature of the resource capture by the state and governance needed to be relooked.
He said as part of efforts to promote good governance in Chad, there was the need for the participation of citizenry, the ability to do so every so often freely and in a credible manner choose their leaders.
“In the short term, maybe one can accommodate some levels of Chadians particularities for a transition, but going forward there cannot be acceptance or variance to accepted norms of good governance, good democratic transitions. We’ve all gone through it in countries,” Dr Chambas said.
“We didn’t wake up one day and be a model of democracy in Africa. We went through processes where we built block by block and Chad has to start somewhere.”