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Chad’s new leader, Mahamat Idriss Déby pays “friendship and work” visit to France

A statement released by the Chadian Presidency reveals that the country’s new leader Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, who took over after the sudden death of his father Idriss Déby Itno is paying a “friendship and work” visit to France. Reports equally have it that, dinner was planned for Mahamat Déby and President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

“The president of the transitional military council, president of the Republic, head of state, Lieutenant General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, left N’Djamena this morning, bound for Paris”, to make “a visit of friendship and work” the statement reads.

Since the death of his father on the battlefield, France has declared support for General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, also known as Mahamat Kaka who has been leading a transitional military council.

His leadership of the Junta has so far been strongly backed by France even against growing concerns of unlawful power grabs. It could be recalled that French President, Emmanuel Macron stated during a ceremony held to bid farewell to the deceased veteran ruler, Idriss Deby that, “France will never let anyone, either today or tomorrow, challenge Chad’s stability and integrity.”

Idriss Deby Itno, Chad's president, dies after 30 years in power
Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno with french Defence minister Morin in N’Djamena, Chad Feb 2008 | Pascal Guyot, AP

The military takeover by General Mahamat has since been considered by critics as a coup, as it violates the national constitution which defines transitional proceedings in such situations. According to provisions of the Chadian constitution which were suspended by the military, the current speaker of the legislative assembly (which was also dissolved by the military) was supposed to assume the automatic position as the interim President leading the transition until a new leader is democratically chosen and not military leadership.

However, General Mahamat and his counsel argued that the current situation falls within the confines of ‘exceptional’ security demands hence the need for a military rule. The 37-year-old promised to release power after 18 months period but hinted in June of a possible extension.

His “forceful” takeover has further amplified the growing weaknesses in the governance system of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), seen widely as a community that lacks a firm grip on democratic processes; a situation which allows leaders to build relatively stronger informal links to bypass constitutional provisions.

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