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Helga Dickow in The Conversation: Four things Mahamat Déby has done to stay in power

Military in N'Djamena/Chad

Military in N'Djamena/Chad

| © Helga Dickow

Chad’s presidential election campaigns officially kicked off on Sunday 14 April 2024 in the capital city, N'Djamena.

Transitional president Mahamat Idriss Déby held a large meeting for members of the government, the military and various political parties in front of the presidential palace. Prime minister Succès Masra, meanwhile, led a large convoy of cars and motorbikes through the city and was accompanied by a crowd of mainly young followers.

The election will take place on 6 May 2024 and end a three-year transition period led by Mahamat Déby after the sudden death of his father, Idriss Déby Itno, in April 2021. Helga Dickow argues that Chad’s three-year transition programme had a single objective: the long-term retention of power by Mahamat Déby. In an article for The Conversation she analyzes the four things Mahamat Déby has done to stay in power.

Read the full article on the website of The Conversation.


More contributions by Helga Dickow on this topic: 

State crisis and elections in Chad: Helga Dickow quoted by DW

Military in Chad 2023, Helga Dickow

Chad's opposition under siege before elections

"German political analyst Helga Dickow recently returned from a trip to Chad, where she met Yaya Dillo days before his death.A crackdown on opposition leaders and activists in Chad is intensifying, casting a shadow over the country's upcoming elections. President Mahamat Deby's political opponents have been targeted by security forces. (...)

Dickows based at Arnold Bergstraesser Institut in Freiburg, suspected Dillo's siding with the late president's younger brother Salaye Deby may have been too much for Mahamat Deby to tolerate.

"Yaya Dillo had called for an investigation into the death of Idriss Deby, and Salaye Deby always said he knew what had happened," Dickow told DW.

In 2021, the Chadian army was fighting an insurgency in the north of the count. President Deby was said to have died on the frontlines after sustaining injuries. "There are those in Chad who said that both Mahamat Deby and his personal assistant played a role in Idriss Deby's death."

You can read the article in German and in Englisch.

Helga Dickow on the latest developments in Chad in The Conversation

Military in Chad 2023, Helga Dickow

It has been three years since Chad’s former president Idriss Déby Itno died. A transitional authority took over after his death. Yet the transition to democracy that was on the cards following his 31 years in power has failed to materialise.

Chadians hoped for a referendum on whether they wanted to be a unitary or federal state, a return to constitutional order and a return to democracy with elections being held by October 2024.

But the fulfilment of this plan has hit the wall. Following the controversial constitutional referendum, the appointment of opposition leader Succès Masra as prime minister raised fresh concerns. Helga Dickow argues that this will benefit the transitional president Mahamat Idriss Déby - not the Chadian people.

The full article can be found on

France and the Déby regime in Chad: Helga Dickow in iz3w

Foto "Mit erhobener Waffe: Militärs im Tschad 2023"
| Mit erhobener Waffe: Militärs im Tschad 2023 | Foto: Helga Dickow

Elevated fists and anti-French slogans: The images from the military takeovers in the Sahel states of Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, and Niger have recently borne a strong resemblance. These were coups that were sometimes greeted with loud mass demonstrations. Western observers now also see this as a protest by the youth against corruption and hopelessness, as well as a clear rejection of France's influence in the region.

A different scenario, however, unfolds in Chad, with which France maintains close relations even after the irregular change of power in 2021. There, long-time President Idriss Déby Itno died in April 2021 under unclear circumstances as rebels from the Front pour l’alternance et la concorde unsuccessfully attempted to advance towards the capital. In an unconstitutional process, a military transitional council subsequently installed Déby's son Mahamat as president. According to the constitution, the parliamentary president should have acted as the interim president and called for elections within 90 days - as explained by Helga Dickow, Chad expert at ABI.

You can find the complete text by Helga Dickow here (german).

Photo: Mit erhobener Waffe: Militärs im Tschad 2023 | Helga Dickow

Helga Dickow in The Conversation: Political violence and processes of democratisation in Chad

Military in Chad 2023, Helga Dickow

The assasination of Chad’s main opposition leader, Yaya Dillo, is hanging heavy over presidential elections due in early May. Dillo was killed on 28 February when the headquarters of the opposition Party Socialiste sans Frontières (Party of Socialists without Borders) in the Chadian capital N'Djamena was besieged by security forces.

It’s not the first violence meted out to the opposition. In October 2022 Chadian security forces killed hundreds of protesters. They were protesting the extension of the transition to democracy from 18 to 36 months and the decision of transitional president Mahamat Idriss Déby to stand as a candidate in presidential elections.

In an article for The Conversation, Helga Dickow sets out what this level of violence portends for the country.

The full article can be read on the website of The Conversation.