Nairobi/Brussels, 24 September 2008: Chad will face continuing security threats and political crises unless Chadians adopt a new and inclusive approach toward national reconciliation, supported by the international community.
Chad: A New Conflict Resolution Framework,* the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the escalation of violence and ethnic tensions in Chad and recommends a new and credible framework for negotiation to address the political and security crisis within the country and in the region. Far from setting Chad on the road to reform, the political agreement signed between the government and the political opposition on 13 August 2007 focused narrowly on electoral reforms and is incapable of providing the basis for fundamental shifts of governance.
“Major rebel attacks on N’Djamena just six months after the agreement, which was signed without an inclusive process of national consultation, proved that it cannot offer the way out of deep political crisis and end the armed rebellion”, says Daniela Kroslak, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Deputy Director. “The single-minded emphasis on this process, by the European Union and France in particular, must be reconsidered”.
Since the return to a multi-party system in 1990, power has been monopolised by a Zaghawa military clan headed by President Idriss Déby. Neither enhanced government revenues from newly exploited oil reserves, nor elections backed by Chad’s Western allies have brought democracy or improved governance.
Sudan’s repeated attacks against refugee camps and Darfur rebels in Chad have exacerbated the crisis but did not cause it. Déby’s decision to back Darfur’s Sudanese rebels became a central element to his political survival strategy. He found a new lease on life in portraying himself as a key asset to the West’s containment strategy against Khartoum and was emboldened by the deployment of two international peacekeeping operations in eastern Chad to protect 250,000 Darfuri refugees.
A three-track process of dialogue and substantive action is needed. The first should build on the 2007 agreement by launching new political negotiations with broadened participation, including civil society. A second track should focus on the armed rebellion with the goal of establishing a genuine, permanent ceasefire and integrating rebel forces with the army. Under the supervision of the African Union, a third track should address longstanding disputes between Chad and Sudan, and seek to eliminate a pattern of proxy war and support for each other’s rebels.
“Without real administrative, economic and security sector reform, Chad will continue to face alienation and recurring threats of violent political takeovers that have haunted the country for decades”, says Francois Grignon, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director.
For more information: http://www.crisisgroup.org
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