Chad: President Deby declares amnesty for ‘rebels, mercenaries’

Chad President Idriss Deby_s
President Idriss Deby’s

President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad on Friday (4 May 2018) announced in Ndjamena a general amnesty for all Chadians involved in rebel movements or working as mercenaries.“I proclaim a general amnesty for all Chadians who, for one reason or another, have left their country, those who became mercenaries and those who fought us, among others,” President Deby said, after signing a decree for the country’s new constitution.

The amnesty was one of the main recommendations of the all inclusive national forum on institutional reforms which process led to the adoption of a new constitution.

Although President Deby did not refer directly to armed groups, his regime faced rebel groups between 2000 and 2008, which came close to overthrowing him twice, in April 2006 and February 2008, when rebel coalitions failed to dislodge him after reaching the gates of the presidency.

Currently, there are several armed groups in the east and far north of the country, with heavily armed fighters whose spokespersons have yet to respond to the amnesty declared by Deby.

It would be recalled that Chadian Prime Minister Pahimi Padacke Albert presented his government’s resignation to Déby on Thursday night in N’djamena.

A press release from the Secretary General at the Presidency, Jean-Bernard Padare, said the head of state ordered dissolution of the cabinet, pending the formation of a new government.

It would be further recalled that Chad’s National Assembly on April 30 endorsed the adoption of a new constitution to be promulgated on Friday, and under which the post of prime minister was abolished.

The new constitution provides for the establishment of the 4th Republic in which President Déby will hold all executive power.

Meanwhile, on 3 May, 26 opposition deputies filed an appeal with the country’s Constitutional Council asking it to annul the new constitutional amendment providing for a new constitution.

Chad’s parliament during its April 30 plenary session approved adoption of a new draft constitution, which takes the country to the Fourth Republic.

The new constitution consecrates an “integral presidential regime” with the President of the Republic to wield all Executive power, without a Prime Minister or Vice President.

The presidential term was also increased from 5 to 6 years, renewable once.

According to observers and pundits, President Deby has been in power since 1990. After being re-elected for a 5th term in the April 2016 election, should he decide to run again for office, as widely believed, then the way was opened under the new constitution for Deby to be in office up to 2030.