Yves Mwana Mayas

Cesar Neto

 

On April 11, the presidential elections were held in Chad. Idriss Deby Itno, who has been in power for 30 years, was re-elected with 79% of the vote. Despite the victory, French imperialism was surprised by the death of Idriss in a military confrontation with the Alternation and Conciliation Front in Chad. The French government acted quickly, appointed the son of Idriss to replace the assassinated president and saw a huge crisis open, with major mobilizations that led President Emmanuel Macron to leave the Palais de l’Élysée n a rushand go to N’Djamena , capital of Chad..

 

 

“France will never allow

that nobody, neither today nor

tomorrow, challenge stability

and integrity of Chad “

Emmanuel Macron

 

One of the most colonized and impoverished countries in the world

Despite the exploitation of uranium, gold and oil (130,000 barrels per day), 90% of the population of 6 million live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than a dollar a day, 70% of the population is illiterate and 90% is unemployed. Of the newborns, 8% die before reaching one year of life, 20% do not reach the age of five, and the average life span of adults is 53 years. Among the 189 countries surveyed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Chad ranks 187th on the Human Development Index. Only loses to the Central African Republic and Niger.

The global economic crisis coupled with the pandemic is further aggravating the poverty situation.  At the same time Chad has become the French government’s main ally in the fight against the Boko Haram guerrillas and the Front for Alternance and Conciliation in Chad. Military spending is an additional element in explaining the deepening crisis.

According to projections, Chad’s government revenues were expected to fall to 747 billion CFA francs, down 10% year-on-year, while expenditure increased by 10.5% to 1,177 billion CFA francs. The trade balance went from a surplus of 676 billion CFA francs in 2019 to a deficit of 3 billion in 2020. Foreign exchange reserves are expected to reach US$300 million in 2021 and the forecast before the oil crisis would be US$1.1 billion.

The country’s public debt is with the multilateral banks, private banks and with Glencore who paid in advance for future oil production. This means that the oil that has not yet been extracted will be delivered and the country has already received and spent this revenue. This will further increase the crisis in the country, as the black gold represents 90% of its exports, about 40% of government revenues and 20% of GDP.

 

Chad and his colonial administrator Idriss Deby Itno

Idriss Deby, in a June 2017 interview with TV5 Monde, RFI and Le Monde Diplonatique , explained how the electoral and succession process has been in the country.

Says Deby: “I announced in 2002 in Paris my desire to leave office in 2006, but France said no, and told me I should continue. Then in 2006, against my will, France sent a Constitutionalist to Chad, who wrote the new Constitution to force me to run for new mandates until now”

The interview mentioned proves the degree of colonisation to which the Chadian people are subjected and the imperial role played by France and imperialism in general.

 

The presidential elections:

Idriss Deby Itno’s candidacy for a sixth term, after thirty years in power, was marked by successive protests. Initially there were 17 candidates. Many with a good electoral base. The repression unleashed against the contestants was unspeakable. For example, the candidate of the Socialist Party without Borders, Yaya Dillo, had his house guarded by two military vehicles and then raided by the security forces, who killed his 80-year-old mother and wounded five other relatives.

In the streets, before the elections, there were some important demonstrations and the response of the repressive forces was to beat her with whips, sticks and truncheons. An injured man who was being transported to a hospital was taken out of the car and its occupants were also beaten. Dozens of arrests were carried out and there are reports of electric shocks while in detention. The Supreme Court controlled by dictator Idriss Deby annulled the participation of seven candidates and three others abandoned the contest.

 

Election and death

With 79% of the vote, Idriss was to begin his sixth term, but before he could take office he was assassinated in an alleged confrontation with troops of the Chadian Alternative and Conciliation Front. The surprising news forced a quick reshuffle and the military appointed Idriss Deby’s son as the new president, ignoring the fact that the constitution stipulated that the post should be held by the President of the National Assembly.

 

The people take to the streets against “monarchic succession”

The people took to the streets against the appointment of the four-star general Mahamat “Kaka” Déby, who quickly formed the Transitional Military Council (TMC) made up of Mahamat and fourteen other generals. The TMC then set a deadline of 18 months to call new elections.

The mobilisations reproduced the confrontations that took place from December to March. The repression was violent, and at least five people died in the clashes.

 

Macron and the new colonial administrator

The constitution of the Revolutionary Military Council, the closure of the National Assembly, the curfew and the violent street demonstrations, the disputes between Idriss Deby’s former collaborators, put in doubt the possibility of opening a huge crisis on the heights.

Emanuel Macron abandoned his duties in Paris and addressed the inauguration of Mahamat Déby, in a clear gesture of support for the military coup.

 

The French business:

France has great interests in the Sahel region. Firstly for the extraction of gold and uranium in Niger and Mali. The uranium extracted from these two countries is what supplies the French thermoelectric plants. In addition, there are the large French business groups that have large investments in the Sahel, especially the Bolloré, Bouygues and Total groups.

The military presence is to guarantee the extraction of these minerals, oil and the profit of the three great French monopolies.

 

French military occupation troops

France has pushed forward a military alliance known as GS5 (Sahel Five Group) that brings together Chad, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. Chad is the country most involved in this operation, and the late Idriss Déby is the guarantor of the supply of 1,200 Chadian soldiers to GS5. These are linked to the troops of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the United States and France with 5,000 men who operate Operation Barkhane, based in N’Djamena, the Chadian capital.

The press gives prominence to the 100 jihadists killed and little publicity to those who “died for France” whom Macron buries with all pomp and circumstance, so as not to be burdened with internal political wear and tear. In addition to this internal problem, the presence of French occupation troops is increasingly repudiated by the masses of the Sahel. Thus Macron dreams of being able to subcontract part of the French army’s operations in the Sahel to African troops. For this reason, he travelled to the inauguration of Mahamat Déby who, with a group of fourteen other generals, committed himself to applying French imperial policy

 

The post-independence political imperialist tradition

The independence processes of the African countries in the sixties of the last century were restricted to political independence and the economic and financial relations inherited from the colonial period remained in place. These new governments, subservient to the imperialist countries, constituted extremely violent military dictatorships which destroyed any attempt to organise mass movements.

After thirty years of the dictatorship of Idriss Deby, supported and financed by French imperialism, the masses have begun to struggle, especially since December 2020, with various demonstrations and strikes in the public sector and private companies like CotonTchadSN, a state company sold to a Singapore consortium.

The crisis that opened on April 20, which generated the autogolpe or the “dynastic coup” as the placards at the demonstrations say, was limited by political and organisational weakness as a consequence of decades of pro-French military dictatorship.

The transfer of power from father to son in Chad recalls the same thing that happened in the Democratic Republic of Congo, when Laurent Kabila was assassinated and succeeded by his son Joseph.  The same procedure also occurred in Togo in 2005 and in Gabon in 2009. Long-lived dictatorships supported and financed by imperialist countries, as in the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, led by dictators 80 years of age or older, are already preparing for dynastic or monarchical succession in case of sudden death

 

Build solidarity bridges. Fight against imperialism.

In recent months we have experienced important democratic and anti-imperialist struggles in the countries of French domination, especially in Mali, Senegal and Chad. And a very special struggle of the Tamachek (Tuareg) people against French occupation troops and Minusma (UN troops) in the Sahel region between Niger and Mali.

The weakness of the anti-colonial and anti-capitalist struggle movements must and can be overcome with the international solidarity of the workers and poor people of the imperialist nations. The III International – when Lenin was still alive – stated that:

            “A particularly marked and clear attitude on the question of the colonies and oppressed nations is necessary                 on the part of the communist parties of those countries whosebourgeoisies are in possession of colonies and                 oppress other nations. Every party that wishes to belong to the Communist International has the obligation                 of exposing the dodges of its ‘own’ imperialists in the colonies, of supporting every liberation movement in                 the colonies not only in words but in deeds, of demanding that their imperialist compatriots should be thrown                 out of the colonies, of cultivating in the hearts of the workers in their own country a truly fraternal                 relationship to the working population in the colonies and to the oppressed nations, and of carrying out                 systematic propaganda among their own country’s troops against any oppression of colonial peoples..”

 

In metropolitan and colonised countries, we need to build unified actions and a programme of struggle that unites us and strengthens our struggles. Below we present a minimum program of unity of action and struggle.

* Down with the dictatorship of Mahamat Déby, and the Transitional Military Council (TCM)

* Out with French occupation troops (Operation Barkhane) and UN (MINUSMA)

* Break with economic, financial, military and political relations with French imperialism

* For Independence II