Political situation Faltering democratisation process

The death of Chadian president Idriss Déby was announced in April 2021. According to official reports, he was fatally wounded in an attack by rebels during a visit to frontline troops. Déby had been the country’s autocratic leader since 1990 and shortly before his death, he had yet again emerged as the victor in the presidential election.

A woman casts her vote in the 2016 presidential election in Chad.

A woman casts her vote in the 2016 presidential election in Chad.

A woman casts her vote in the 2016 presidential election in Chad.

After Déby’s death, a transitional military council (Conseil militaire de transition – CMT) chaired by his son Mahamat Déby took over the leadership of the country. The CMT suspended the constitution, dissolved parliament and adopted a transitional constitution. The phase of political transition was intended to last for 18 months, after which democratic elections would be held. However, the timetable has faltered: the “inclusive national dialogue” involving the transitional government, the political opposition, civil society and various rebel groups, which was scheduled to start in May 2022, has been postponed. It is unclear, therefore, when the transitional phase is likely to end.

The African Union has signalled its willingness to support the democratisation process. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has reached agreement with Chad’s transitional government on the establishment of a fund via which international donors can support key elements such as the national dialogue, constitutional reform and preparation of elections.

Substantial need for reform

With regard to good governance, the rule of law and human rights, there is a substantial need for reform in Chad. Repressive and sometimes violent measures are taken to silence criticism from the political opposition, media and civil society.

Parliamentary elections were last held in 2011; local elections have been overdue since 2014. The most recent presidential election took place in 2021.

The independence of the judiciary is not guaranteed. Traditional conflict resolution mechanisms are prohibited but are still commonly used in some regions and ethnic groups.

Restrictions have been imposed on press freedom. Journalists face the risk of sometime arbitrary arrest, imprisonment and violent assault. Internet connections across the country are poor.

Corruption is rife: on the Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by Transparency International, Chad ranked 164th out of the 180 countries evaluated in 2021.

Security situation

Experiences of violence and conflict dominate the everyday lives of many people in Chad. In the Lake Chad region in the west of the country, security is under threat from radical Islamist terror groups such as Boko Haram and the “Islamic State”. A state of emergency has been in force here for many years. Various so-called “political-military” groups, mainly from southern Libya and Sudan, are fighting for a change of power in the capital N'Djamena.

The population is vulnerable not only to these attacks but also to sometimes arbitrary violence at the hands of the Chadian security forces. There are also conflicts between ethnic groups over land and water, particularly between settled arable farmers and nomadic pastoralists, and over the exploitation of gold deposits.

A generous response to refugees

Despite facing domestic difficulties of its own, Chad is currently hosting around 570,000 refugees, mainly from Sudan, the Central African Republic and Cameroon. This makes Chad the African country with the highest number of refugees relative to its population size. Additionally, there are around 400,000 internally displaced persons who have fled terrorist attacks in the Lake Chad region and sought refuge in other parts of the country.

Military activities

In order to combat terrorism in the Sahel region, Chad is involved in various international military missions, including the Joint Force established by the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) formed by the Lake Chad Basin countries.

In addition, Chad is one of the largest providers of troops for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

As at: 08/08/2022