Chad is one of the countries in Africa that has struggled with political fragmentation since its independence in 1960. This set the stage for years of rebel-led incursions and military coups in the country.
Out of six heads of state, only three survived being killed or displaced by military coups in the north-central country.
Chad’s last president, Idriss Déby, was killed in battle against a strong rebel force known as the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT). After his death, the military suspended the constitution and placed Derby’s son, Mahamat Deby, at the hem of the Transitional Military Council.
The new leader recently proposed a reconciliation dialogue with rebels and members of the civil society that would allow the TMC to usher in a democratic government. The warring groups would put forward their list of preconditions, which would then be presented to the government.
Some 300 rebels and 50 group delegates journeyed to Qatar to join the dialogue planned for May 10. But ongoing early-stage negotiations have made the process move at a snail’s pace amid a series of walkouts and stoppages.
Experts believe the transitional government came with the intention not to seal a reconciliation deal but to infiltrate the groups with splinter factions and former rebel leaders who have already joined the interim government.
While this argument might carry some truth, we would rather focus on the tensions that might escalate by putting all the warring groups in one hotel. Both rebel groups and delegates of Chad’s ruling military transitional council were lodged at the JW Marriott Marquis in Qatari. More than a few disagreements have been reported since the groups checked into their hotel last month and the heightening tensions could mean there is more to come.
So far, delegators for the TMC have been able to maintain the peace and it is safe to report that the pre-dialogue is still in full swing, although no one is sure when it would transcend to the much-awaited stage.