Opposition parties in Chad are condemning the entry of the country’s military ruler into the 2024 presidential race. General Mahamat Idriss Deby seized power after his father’s death, declared himself interim president, and pushed through a new constitution which enables him to run for president in this year's delayed elections.
In the nationally televised broadcast Saturday, Mahamat Zene Bada, secretary of Chad's former ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement or MPS party, said that military ruler Mahamat Idriss Deby is the party's candidate for the central African state’s presidential elections expected later this year.
Bada said Chad is lucky to have Deby, an understanding leader who he said listens to his people and works for peace, development and national concord as transitional president.
Baba said members of MPS designate Deby as their candidate for presidential elections so Deby can continue the work he has been doing to stop armed conflicts and political tensions and make Chad an emerging economy by 2030.
However, Chad's opposition and civil society groups are condemning Deby's designation and candidate for the presidential race. The opposition and civil society groups say Chad is not a Deby dynasty that can be ruled only by a single family.
Albert Pahimi Padacke, opposition leader of Chad's National Rally for Democracy, contested and lost Chad's 2006 presidential election.
Padacke says he is certain the younger Deby asked the MPS, Chad's former ruling party, to name the military ruler as candidate for presidential elections expected this 2024.
He says Deby, who wants to conserve power and continue his late father Idriss Deby Itno's three decades iron fisted rule, should save Chad from descending into violence by not single handedly appointing people loyal to the military ruler to manage elections, instead of people who are independent, neutral and have the confidence of all Chad's political actors.
Padacke spoke on Chad state TV on Monday. He said Chad has remained poor and is devastated by armed conflicts and political tensions since the Deby family took power in 1990.
General Mahamat Idriss Deby became leader of Chad's Transitional Military Council in April 2021 after his father, Idriss Deby Itno, died on the frontlines of a fight against northern rebels.
The younger Deby was to head an 18-month transitional council but in October of 2022, he dissolved the council and declared himself interim president.
Deby organized a December 17 constitutional referendum he said paved the way for a return to civilian rule and Chad's supreme court announced that the new constitution was approved by 86% of voters.
Chad's opposition and civil society groups called the constitutional referendum a sham to prepare for an eventual election of Deby, a 39-year-old military general.
Opposition parties, including the Rally for Democracy and the Union of Democrats for Development and Progress, said the referendum should have barred Deby from becoming a candidate.
Meantime, interim president Deby has been designated honorary president of the MPS by a resolution of congressmen.