Reginal bodies in Africa have been implored to collectively assist Chad to overcome its ongoing political crisis and reach a national census for peace and stability to prevail in the North-Central African country.
According to Dr Abdel-Fatau Musah, the Director of the Western Africa Division of the United Nations (UN) Department of Political and Peace-Building Affairs and Peace Operations, the nature of the situation in the country required a continental support.
“The regional leaders have to come together and try to help them have a breakthrough and national consensus on a transition; a civilian-led one leading to fresh election”, he said at a virtual conference on the Chadian crisis on Friday.
The conference, organised by the Council on Foreign Relations Ghana (CFR), an independent institution which specialises in international affairs, was on the theme “Chad after Idriss Deby – Issues and Challenges.”
Chadian President Idriss Déby died on April 20 on the frontlines of a fight against the rebel group, le Front pour l’alternanceet la concorde au Tchad (FACT).
Two weeks afterwards, the ruling junta, led by his son Mahamat Idriss Deby, has appointed a transitional government amid accusation from the opposition and civil society he has led an “institutional coup d’état” and perpetuating a “dynasty” after 30 years of power of his father.
According to Dr Musah, the transitional military council has rejected any dialogue with the FACT or other factions while FACT and three other groups had moved back to southern Libya to regroup.
He said although an African Union delegation was in the country to engage stakeholders to ensure a consensual transition that would last for about 18 months, extra support was needed to bring the people together for national dialogue.
He said a national dialogue as a major ingredient for a transition had become critical because of the position taken by the junta leader to dictate who qualified to contest in an election, a situation which would lead to more rebellions.
Dr Musah said the mid-year ECOWAS summit schedule for Accra, he said, should discuss the issue and find ways it could implement the Community’s counter- terrorism strategies to secure the southern ring of the Sahel either bilaterally or multilaterally, as the Chadian situation could worsen the security threats in other sub-regions.
“The governance issues are there but we are facing imminent treats from terrorism and violent extremism”, he said.
For his part, Professor Abdoulaye Bathily, Former Special Representative of UN Secretary-General for Central Africa and Head of the UN Office for Central Africa said the military option deployed by Chad was not sustainable and might collapse and create more long term havoc .
He implored regional bodies to formulate a common African policy and strategy and called on ECOWAS and Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) to chart a way forward for collective security in West, Central and North Africa, otherwise they would be pawns in external strategies.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR