Thursday (October 13th): Déby Officially Sworn In 

Name? Mahamat Idriss Déby

Westphalian identity? Chadian

Age? 38

Why is he in the news? This week, Mahamat Idriss Déby was sworn into office as the President of the Republic of Chad. Last year, he took over the African country after his father, former President Idriss Déby, was killed in a military operation. Though Déby has been ruling since last April as head of the country’s military council, he brings Chad into the ‘second phase’ of the country’s transition. 

Why do we care? Last year, when Mahamat Déby took over Chad, he was left with a crisis in which rebel groups were rampant within Chad. More recently, the president has met more than 1400 national stakeholders, such as pro-democracy groups and rebels in a ‘national forum’. Important stakeholders such as the FACT rebel group or the “transformateurs” pro-democracy group attended the meeting, who denied Déby’s request to attend.

Why should you care? Chad is one of the poorest countries in Africa and 42% of the population live below the poverty line. Though there are not intense protests against the Deby power extension, the move has upset his vocal opposition and rebel groups. You should care 4/10 about possible continued political turmoil. 

Who else cares? While former-ECOWAS chairman, Nana Addo Dwanka Afuka-Addo was vocal in his opposition for other West African coups, the organisation, alongside Western powers, kept quiet. This is because Western leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron see Chad as a viable ally to fight in the Sahel against Malian rebels and a counterbalance to Russian mercenaries. The African Union has also been quiet about anything regarding the extension of power, while it has generally been vocal when it came to traditionally undemocratic transitions in Africa.

Any further comments? Yesterday, the Prime Minister Albert Pahimi Padacke resigned from his post. He did so to allow Déby’s appointment, former opposition leader and four-time opposition candidate to Déby’s father, Kaleh Kebzabo, to take the reins.