Chad’s strongman gets even stronger

Chadian lawmakers on Monday April 30 passed a controversial change to the country’s Constitution, which bolsters President Idriss Deby’s powers despite opposition warnings that it will undermine democracy in the oil-rich African country.

The text, which received the green light from the government earlier this month, needed to be approved by three-fifths of members in the National Assembly. It was passed by 132 votes in the 170-member legislature. Two members voted against it and there were no abstentions. The opposition boycotted the vote.

There was tight security around Parliament with all the roads leading to the legislature ringed by police. Two activists from the Chadian Convention for the Defence of Human Rights were arrested earlier on Monday, Mahamat Nour Ibedou, the head of the civil society group, said. “They wanted to stage a sit-in in front of Parliament,” he said.

They were released later on Monday.

Tchindebbe Patalle, a spokesperson for the National Union for Development and Renewal opposition party, said all opposition groups had “wanted to demonstrate outside Parliament to protest against the vote but the security forces are posted all around”.

Street protests are rare in Chad, which has Deby (65), had a long history of coups, and has been ruled with an iron fist by Deby (65) who is serving his fifth term, which runs until 2021.

He has insisted the changes are necessary. They will increase presidential terms to six years, with a limit of two terms. The current mandate is five years with no limits on re-election.

The vote comes amid growing political tensions in Chad, ranked by Transparency International as one of the world’s most corrupt nations, as opposition groups boycotted a forum last month to discuss the proposed changes.

Chad, a Western ally in combating jihadism in the Sahel region, is cash- strapped and poor and has endured two years of severe recession worsened by a slump in oil prices.

The changes do not include the creation of a post of vice-president, contrary to what was proposed at a national forum on the reforms in March.

The Catholic Church has warned that a new Constitution “seriously risks distorting the rules of the democratic game”.

Opposition groups have called for the text to be put to a referendum.

Deby, who has been named in a corruption probe in the United States, has said that elections, on hold since 2015, will take place this year. — AFP

Advertisting

Senior SANDF colonel involved in an alleged business scam

A senior soldier who is part of South Africa’s peacekeeping missions is accused by her colleagues of swindling them out of of hundreds of thousands of rands in a nonexistent business deal

AU pushes the frontiers of transitional justice

Now these important policy developments must be implemented

Mass store and job cuts at Massmart

Changed market conditions and an appalling economy has hit low end cash-and-carry outlets

Courts to guide land expropriation

Two bits of law need to be approved before a court can decide if land owners will be compensated
Advertising

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.