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Chad On Edge As Voters Get Set To Go To The Polls On Monday


Chad is going to the polls on Monday and the question remains as to whether transitional president General Mahamat Idriss Deby will remain in power. Derby is the son of Idriss Deby Into who had been ruling Chad for three decades since 2021 till he was killed by rebels. Derby has been in power as military ruler in April 2021 and his main challengers include former opposition leader and current Prime Minister Succes Masra, and Pahimi Padacke Albert, who also served as Chad’s prime minister under Deby from April 2021 to October 2022

The Opposition is furious with Derby saying many of their party workers have been jailed in the run-up to the polls and doubt that the elections will be free and fair. They accuse him of doing so to maintain his grip on power. Some have stated that the National Election Management Authority (ANGE) will rig the polls, a charge that the election body that will oversee the elections denies. This is backed up by some residents in the country’s capital N’djamena.

Chad’s elections will help determine the fate of locals. According to studies by international organisations, it is one of the tenth poorest in the country. It is also most prone to climate change with both droughts and floods affecting the country. Strategically it is very important. Chad is the last remaining military ally for the US, France, and European countries, in West Africa’s Sahel region and has aided them in the fight against Islamic militancy.

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France, a former colony of Chad, has troops there along with the US but recent indications suggest they might be asked to go. Chad’s Air Force chief had asked US troops to leave an air base where they were staying according to a Reuters report. Further speculation arose when President Derby met with President Putin in January. A Kremlin statement after the meeting quoted the transitional president describing the visit as “history making” which he hoped would strengthen the “relationship in all spheres.”

(With inputs from agencies)