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Why is West not renouncing Chad’s new illegal government? | Franck Bakasse

Wednesday, April 28, 2021 @ 12:40 PM | By Franck Bakasse

Franck Bakasse %>
Franck Bakasse
On April 20, 2021, the spokesperson for the Chadian national army, Gen. Azem Bermandoa, announced on Chadian national television the death of Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno, who died as a result of his wounds fighting against the rebel group FACT (Front for Change and Concord in Chad).

A war started on April 11, 2021, the day of the presidential elections. Déby was running for his own succession for a sixth term. The election was contested and boycotted by civil society organizations and opposition political parties. During a week of battles with loyalist forces, the rebel groups made a rapid progression by occupying some towns in the north, heading toward the capital, N’Djamena.

Seeing the rebel threat, Déby went to the front to motivate his troops and to neutralize the rebel group that he called terrorists. Unfortunately for him, he was shot dead by FACT rebels.

Several other generals also died in the fierce fighting between April 17 and April 18 in Kanem province, 300 kilometres from the capital. More than 400 people have been killed in the fighting.

Remember that Déby has been in power for more than 30 years. The news of his death in the Chadian capital was received as a great upheaval for some and a breath of fresh air for others.

Déby led an iron-fist dictatorship that left little room for democracy and public freedoms. The disappearance of Déby comes at the same the majority of Chadians live below the extreme poverty line. The country is ranked 187th out of 189 of the poorest countries in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index.

Thus, this death could be announced as a new impetus allowing Chadians to lay the foundations of a good democracy and real economic development.

The same declaration announcing Déby’s death announced the creation of a military council of transition (CMT), composed of 15 generals, all of them former collaborators of Déby. Their leader is Déby’s son, Mahamat ibn Idriss Déby Itno.

This can only be described as an unconstitutional strike against a democratic country.

Article 81 of the Chadian constitution stipulates that in the event of a definitive vacancy of power, the role of the president of the republic is assumed by the president of the national assembly. What happened in Chad, however, was the national assembly and the government were dissolved by the transitional military council without any respect for the fundamental law.

Indeed, what appalls is the reaction of France which recognized this transitional military council as well as the U.S.A., whose position is ambiguous without a firm condemnation of the flagrant violation of the constitution by the armed men.

Even Canada, the host country for thousands of Africans and citizens fleeing dictatorial regimes around the world, has not condemned this violation of fundamental law.

Personally, Canada has made it possible to restore my dignity — violated by the Déby regime — by offering me political asylum and the hope of a better tomorrow, which I call the Canadian dream.

The noted Toronto immigration lawyer who assisted me and several other Chadians in our asylum applications would no doubt testify to the dictatorial nature of this regime, which has left little room for the right of expression and fundamental freedoms. A regime rejected by the Chadian people but maintained in power by arms and unwavering support from France.

This tragic disappearance of Déby is a strong message sent to African heads of state in general, especially those in Central Africa who cling to power at the risk of their lives. To the world and to the West, it is a reminder that the universal value of democracy, fundamental freedoms and social justice is a red line not to be crossed.

Franck Bakasse walked across the U.S.-Canada border at Lacolle, Que., in September 2018 claiming refugee status. Ronald Shacter was his lawyer. He has a degree in accounting and political science from the University of Chad and Catholic University of Central Africa and was once jailed by Chadian police for political activity. He now lives in Toronto and he is studying English for academic purposes at Humber College. Follow him on Twitter @Fbalgue.

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