CHAD ELECTIONS: Chadians Take to The Polls Monday After 3 Years Of Limbo

Written by Dr. Florence Akano

After much ado and postponements, Chadians took to the polls on Monday. With Monday’s presidential election, Chad is slated to be the initial junta-governed African state transitioning to democratic governance.

This comes as the conclusion of a three-year period of transition, which was enforced following the unexpected death of long-standing ruler Idriss Déby Itno during battles against insurgents.

His son Gen Mahamat Déby is a top contender for victory as his father’s successor, but there are doubts about whether this will lead to any significant changes.

Among his nine challengers, Prime Minister Succès Masra is perceived as having the most significant competition. 

According to news agencies, officials reported that while voting was mostly peaceful, a 65-year-old man was fatally shot after casting his vote in the southern city of Moundou.

There were also some little issues that were quickly quelled. According to reports, an unidentified shooter entered a polling station with others and began firing at random. It is believed that the individual was denied access to vote due to a lack of proper identification in the form of an electoral card. Opposition reports claiming irregularities have also surfaced.

While casting his vote in the capital city of N’Djamena, President of The Transition Committee Déby expressed pride in fulfilling his commitment to adhere to the deadline for “elections that signify a restoration of constitutional order.”

He added that the decision to choose their president rests with the Chadian people, who should vote in large numbers.

On the other hand, Mr. Masra donned a traditional blue gown called boubou while casting his vote.

After casting his vote, he urged that all those who are committed to bringing about significant change need to participate in the voting process peacefully and extensively.

Despite having low expectations of any significant change resulting from the election, Laoukoura Sa-Ndoudjinang, aged 72, exercised her right to vote.

“We cannot conceive of a credible and fair election process in Chad as we do not believe that an electoral code would be able to prevent political party representatives from manipulating the vote count. This lack of logic leaves us vulnerable to a potential crisis, which wouldn’t come as a surprise,” he stated during his interview with media houses on the ground.

Due to effective sensitization efforts, the voting process is taking place in optimal conditions. As a result of this outcome, Chad will most likely finally experience transformation.

That said, there was a potential hiccup. The constitutional council excluded ten aspiring politicians, with two notable names being Nassour Ibrahim Neguy Koursami and Rakhis Ahmat Saleh. This was due to “irregularities” discovered by the council, such as forgery allegations against Mr Koursami.

However, there are those who contend that the choice to exclude individuals was driven by political factors.

Yaya Dillo, a possible rival, was reportedly leading an attack on the National Security Agency in N’Djamena when he got killed by security forces back in February.

The activists have urged people to boycott the election due to their belief that it was an attempt by the Déby dynasty to present a façade of democratic legitimacy.

Following the protests in October 2022, there are still numerous individuals who remain exiled due to a severe suppression of dissidents.

Chad’s election marks a significant moment for nations in West and Central Africa that have been subject to military takeover since a series of coups commenced in 2020.

This could be used as a blueprint for juntas attempting to retain their political sway after gaining power through illegitimate means.

Since its independence from France in 1960, the oil-exporting nation with a population of approximately 18 million people has not experienced a transfer of power that was free and fair.

It is anticipated that the results will be announced by May 21st. However, if none of the candidates secure over half of the votes during the initial round, another voting session may take place in June.

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Dr. Florence Akano

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