Published on: 19.08.2022 – 20:06 Modified on: 20.08.2022 – 08:27
In Chad, the Inclusive and Sovereign National Dialogue (DNIS) is scheduled to open on Saturday at the Palace of January 15 in N’Djamena. A look back at the program of this long-awaited major dialogue.
From our Special Envoy for Ndjamena,
Tomorrow is all about the opening ceremony of the DNIS. The event will begin at 10am local time with the arrival of the President of the Transitional Military Council, Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno. Shortly thereafter, the inauguration of the statue of Peace, Forgiveness and Reconciliation, already installed on the esplanade of the Palace and currently covered with a blue tarpaulin, was to take place.
Then official speeches follow. According to the chairman of the technical committee of the organizing committee of the dialogue, Njelgotar Armand, interventions by the mayor of Ndjamena, Ali Haroun, and the chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, are not excluded. After all, it is the head of state, Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, who is supposed to conclude this first part with his speech. All this in the presence of representatives from regional institutions, including CEMAC, the African Development Bank and the Bank of Central African States. The afternoon will be mainly devoted to shows to introduce Chad’s cultural diversity.
The organizers then use the Sunday to prepare the large hall of the palace for the actual start of the dialogue on Monday. Rules of procedure are adopted, which are necessary for the establishment of a bureau.
Between 21 and 30 days of dialogue
According to the organizer, the duration of the dialogue is set at 21, maximum 30 days; During this period, the Chadian authorities can speak openly with the politico-military groups. Several leaders of these groups have arrived in N’djamena in the past few days. They are dozens of leaders, all signatories to the peace accord struck in Doha, Qatar, early last week. Among them we can particularly highlight the presence of Mahamat Nouri, leader of the UFDD, and Timan Erdimi of the UFR. The two figures of the Chadian rebellion returned to Ndjamena on Thursday after more than 15 years in exile. They were greeted at the airport by a crowd of relatives and supporters. Both call for a real dialogue that will finally bring peace to the country.
Rebel leaders Timan Erdimi (L) and Mahamat Nouri (R) returned to Ndjamena on August 18, 2022 after 16 years of exile. © AFP/Aurélie Bazzara-Kibangula / Montage
Despite everything, not everyone welcomes the holding of this national dialogue. Twenty rebel movements failed to sign the Doha Accords, especially the factwhich launched an offensive that resulted in the death of former President Idriss Déby Itno in 2021.
Civil society organizations and opposition parties have also criticized the form of the dialogue. The platform Wakit Tama describes it as non-inclusive, with a number of participants mostly loyal to the ruling junta. Wakit Tama also called for the demonstration today. A mobilization banned by the authorities, limited to a few sporadic actions and burned tires in the capital.
Chad has gone through several dialogues and previous dialogues so far have resulted in measures that have never been implemented because there has been resistance, because the will to implement has not emerged. And by giving them an enforceable character, we make them immediately applicable, that is, no agency, no institution of the Chadian state can oppose the implementation of these institutions, these are unusual, unpublished elements, and I think this is the case is both a pledge of goodwill, but above all a guarantee for the implementation of the decisions that will emerge from the dialogue, because until now we have been used to good decisions that have never had concrete consequences. In any case, at the end of this dialogue there will be many new elements in the organization of the Chadian state. I think the challenge of this dialogue is to rebuild the state of Chad, reestablish it and put an end to years of rebellion and years of war in this Central African country.
According to Seidik Abba, the conclusions of the dialogue will be “binding”, a first in Chad
The day after the death of Marshal Idriss Déby Itno, the Transitional Military Council led by his son undertook to organize a transition. The process must lead to free and transparent elections that return power to a civilian. Suddenly, Chad’s political system was reassembled into two camps.
On the one hand, those who support the interim government. In this group we find opponents of Déby’s father like Saleh Kebzabo or Mahamat Ahmat Alhabo. For the latter, the military must be helped to create the conditions for reconciliation between the daughters and sons of Chad.
For their part, opponents of the new regime have constantly called for the Transitional Charter to be revised to make it more democratic. They also call for a revision of the terms of organizing the dialogue so that more sensitivities can be expressed. This group, made up mostly of members of the Wakit-Tamma coalition, was supported in its demands by the rebel movements, which refused to sign the Doha Accords on August 8. This section of Chadian society will not be present at the meeting that opens this Saturday morning.
The Chadian government fell into a trap when it agreed to give the dialogue a sovereign character and it cannot have accepted it, issued a decree… We heard the Prime Minister say that the decree was in good faith was enacted and all consequences knows the impact this can have. I believe the force has been trapped. In any case, he has no way of challenging any decision, including preventing the President from appearing, except to make a coup within the coup, that is to say that if ever the dialogue decides that the President doesn’t appears, there are only military means, there are only means of violence to get the President to show up when the dialogue confidently and enforceably says he won’t show up.
For journalist and writer Seidik Abba, “power was captured by giving dialogue a sovereign character”
Blue, yellow and red flags flew along the 40-meter-long avenue leading to the Palace of January 15, where the national dialogue is to take place.
In front of his shoe shop, Haroune is expecting a lot from this big gathering with a beaming smile. He explains that the economy is bad and that the country is “riddled” with corruption. He hopes that the dialogue will change everything.
But next to him, few traders share his enthusiasm. Everyday worries take precedence over political debates.
Starting with the price of food in the capital’s markets. A kilo of millet flour is trading at 800 CFA francs versus 500 CFA francs a few weeks ago. The price of a bag of sugar has increased by almost 30%.
Another concern for Chadian households: household gas, which is almost impossible to find, but also flooding. With every rain, neighborhoods are flooded and houses threaten to collapse. At least 22 people have been killed in Chad since June due to heavy rains, and more than 110,000 have been affected, according to a UN report.