There is a looming crisis in the Republic of Chad following the sudden death of the country’s president, Idriss Deby, as his son – a 37-year-old four-star general Mahamat Idriss Deby – was named as the head of a military the council that will take over power rather than the head of parliament as the constitution stipulates.
The world was yesterday stunned by the death of Chadian President Deby, who was reportedly shot at the battlefront with rebels and died of his injuries shortly after, putting his country in uncertainty, especially after he was presumed to have won the election for a sixth term in office.
The late president had gone to the frontlines, several hundred kilometres north of the capital N’Djamena, at the weekend to visit troops battling rebels belonging to a group calling itself FACT (the Front for Change and Concord in Chad).
Meanwhile, the government has been dissolved and Mr Deby’s 37-year-old son Mahamat Kaka, a four-star general, has been named interim president, a move experts consider unconstitutional, saying the speaker of parliament should take over when a sitting president dies before organising elections.
Meanwhile the military in Chad has announced that elections will be held in 18 months’ time following the death of President Déby but there are uncertainty beclouding this as many think it might be a step to enthrone Deby’s son through unconstitutional means.
Chadian political scientist and professor at the University of Ndjamena, Evariste Ngarlem Toldé, told BBC Afrique that the announcement that a military council will take power following the death of the president amounts to a coup.
“This is a coup d’état. This is not provided for by the texts. So it is an anti-constitutional regime.
“Our fundamental law provides that in case of vacancy of power, it is the president of the National Assembly who should lead in the interim until the new elections. This transitional military council has no place. So for me, it is a coup d’état.”
Nigerian public intellectual and expert in international relations, Katch Ononuju, told LEADERSHIP yesterday that it appears Deby had been killed by those sympathetic to the Boko Haram terrorists in the Sahel region, warning that it has “wider security implications for the region”.
“Deby looks like somebody who was against their Boko Haram intentions. He was always leading the war against the Boko Haram, so you can understand that the killing may have a wide implication, not just issues with Chad but within the region,” he said.
About a year ago, Déby led an operation where 1,000 Boko Haram fighters were reportedly killed.
Deby, a French-trained officer and pilot, had headed the army during the 1980s under the regime of President Hissène Habré, before the two fell out.
He fled the country, ending up in Libya where he did a deal with Col Muammar Gaddafi – a Habré foe – who helped him launch his rebellion in return for information about CIA operations in Chad.
Déby came to power in 1990 when he toppled President Hissène Habré in coup and had since remained in power.
A state funeral is to take place on Friday.