On Saturday, a number of Chadian political and rebel factions withdrew from negotiations with the country’s military administration, accusing it of attempting to undermine peace efforts.
Less than 24 hours after President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno’s government stated that a national peace conversation designed to prepare the way for elections would start on August 20, the move by almost half the organizations in the talks took place.
The rebel groups participating in the negotiations in Doha that were mediated by Qatar accused the government delegation in a statement of “harassment, intimidation, threats, and lies.”
They continued by claiming that the new date was arbitrarily chosen in an effort to “exclude” several armed groups and their political partners from the talks.
In April of last year, after his father, longstanding leader Idriss Deby Itno, was slain fending off a rebel onslaught on the capital. Deby took over as the head of a military junta.
Déby was a member of the Bidayat clan of the Zaghawa ethnic group. A high-ranking commander of President Hissène Habré’s military during the 1980s, Déby played important roles in the Toyota War which led to Chad’s victory during the Libyan-Chadian conflict. He was later purged by Habré after being suspected of plotting a coup, and was forced into exile in Libya.
He took power by leading a coup d’état against Habré in December 1990. Throughout his presidency, his Patriotic Salvation Movement was the dominant party. Déby won elections in 1996 and 2001, and after term limits were eliminated he won again in 2006, 2011, 2016, and 2021.
He outlined an 18-month timeline for national elections, but the Doha negotiations have frequently stalled and there haven’t been any face-to-face meetings between opposition and government leaders.
Before talks can begin, opposition organisations have asked that Deby rule out running in the election, but the administration has stated that this can only be discussed at the election.
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