In Chad, the Prime Minister, Succès Masra, announces his candidacy for the presidential election

The Prime Minister of the military junta in Chad, Succès Masra, announced, Sunday March 10 during a meeting, his candidacy for the presidential election on May 6, eight days after that of the transitional president, General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno

In Chad, the Prime Minister, Succès Masra, announces his candidacy for the presidential election

The Prime Minister of the military junta in Chad, Succès Masra, announced, Sunday March 10 during a meeting, his candidacy for the presidential election on May 6, eight days after that of the transitional president, General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno.

Mr. Masra, a former opponent, signed a reconciliation agreement with Mr. Déby before being named prime minister on January 1. The opposition denounces a “pretext candidacy” intended to give a semblance of plurality to a vote that it considers won in advance by Mahamat Idriss Déby.

“Bringing the People Together”

“I am here as a candidate for the presidential election (…) to repair hearts and bring the people together,” said this 40-year-old doctor of economics, in front of hundreds of activists from his Les Transformateurs party.

In response to the accusations of those who accuse him of having rallied the junta, he replied: "It was an agreement of national reconciliation, an agreement of the brave", "so that our quest for justice would never be transformed into a quest for revenge ".

“I am a candidate to be the main pilot of the plane”, but “you will have to choose the winning combination you want, who should be pilot and who should be co-pilot”, he retorted to those who suspected him of having negotiated to remain prime minister after the election.

Mr. Masra left his position as a senior official at the African Development Bank (AfDB) to found Les Transformateurs in 2018. He was one of the main opponents of Marshal Idriss Déby, killed on April 19, 2021 by rebels while surrendering at the front, after thirty years in power. Then he denounced the “coup d’état” of his son Mahamat Idriss Déby, proclaimed the day after the death of his father, head of state, by a junta of fifteen generals.

The new strongman of N’Djamena had promised to return power to civilians after an eighteen-month transition and to the African Union (AU) not to run in the elections. But he extended the transition by two years and announced his presidential candidacy on March 2.

Mr. Masra organized, with other opposition parties, demonstrations that were banned or systematically repressed. Until that of October 20, 2022, when hundreds of young people, according to the opposition and international NGOs, were shot and killed by the police, and at least a thousand others were imprisoned.

The government only recognized around fifty deaths, accusing the demonstrators of “attempted insurrection”. Mr. Masra, who had fled the country, returned there on November 3, 2023, three days after signing a “reconciliation agreement” with the junta amnestying in particular all the demonstrators of October 20, 2022. But also “their killers”, s strangled the opposition who accused him of “betraying” their cause and “massacred” his own activists.

“A false candidacy”

His candidacy is "a farce, a fake candidacy to accompany the head of the military power", Max Kemkoye, spokesperson for the second opposition platform, said to Agence France-Presse (AFP). the Consultation Group of Political Actors (GCAP).

“A candidacy which aims to support the current president to legitimize his election,” adds Mahamat Zène Chérif, president of the United Chad party, for AFP.

Mr. Masra's announcement also comes eleven days after the death of General Déby's main political rival, his own cousin Yaya Dillo Djérou, killed on February 28 by soldiers in the assault on the headquarters of his Socialist Party Without Borders (PSF). ). With a bullet in the head at point blank range, according to the PSF, an “assassination” intended to exclude him from the presidential race according to the opposition, which the government denies.

“After the assassination of Yaya Dillo, Masra accompanies power in a process that is flawed in advance, he will remain prime minister after the election,” predicted for AFP Avocksouma Djona Atchenemou, president of the Democrats party.

Same story among political scientists. “It’s a pretext candidacy because we need other candidates against Mr. Déby to say that there is a democratic game,” analyzes Kelma Manatouma, researcher and professor of political science at the University of N’Djamena.

“An arranged candidacy, to propel Masra to the head of a large institution like the National Assembly or other, as a reward after the elections,” constitutionalist Ahmat Mahamat Hassan wants to believe.

“There has never been a peaceful devolution of power through elections in Chad, power is won by arms and retained by arms, and all democratic exercises are only cosmetic legitimation maneuvers,” analyzes this consultant in political science, evoking the six triumphant elections of Marshal Idriss Déby since his coup in 1990, in the face of stooge candidacies often sparked by those in power.