Politics

10
Apr
10:27 UTC

Chad Tactical: Presidential election slated to take place on April 11; maintain heightened vigilance, avoid vicinity of electoral facilities

Please be advised

  • The presidential election is slated to take place on April 11 with President Idriss Deby of the ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) contesting for reelection for a sixth term in office.
  • Reports from March 3 indicate that the Supreme Court validated the candidacy of 10 presidential candidates including that of President Deby as well as opposition National Union for Democracy and Renewal (UNDR) leader Saleh Kebzabo. Kebzabo later withdrew his candidacy on March 1.
  • The UNDR posted a call issued by ‘Wakit Tama’ to boycott the election and mobilize against Deby across the country on April 10-11. Wakit Tama is a platform recently launched against Deby’s reelection bid by 30 civil society groups, religious leaders, opposition parties including the Transformers and the UNDR, among others.
  • Additional opposition and civil society groups such as the National Council for Change (CNC) and the trade unions associated Coordination of Citizen Actions have also called upon people to boycott the elections and mobilize against Deby on April 10-11.
  • On April 8, the Minister of Public Security and Immigration stated that the security forces have begun to arrest individuals, including political leaders, for allegedly planning to attack the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) headquarters and to assassinate opposition leaders.
  • For a more detailed analysis of the Chad elections, please click here.

Assessments & Forecast

  1. The presidential election is set to take place amid heightened tensions with opposition protests,  arrests of activists, and opposition figures being recorded in the past two months. While additional details including the identity of the individuals arrested as per the April 8 statements remain unknown, this aligns with the authorities’ use of threat to national security as means to clampdown on dissent. The opposition has campaigned for a boycott of the election due to the political unrest resulting from the resistance against Deby’s re-election bid for his sixth presidential term.
  2. FORECAST: Despite an ongoing ban on demonstrations and the precedent of violent dispersals of opposition protests by security forces, there remains the potential of the opposition calls for mobilization to manifest into spontaneous and scattered small-scale protests. While most of such manifestations can be expected to be focused in N’Djamena, low-level unrest may take place nationwide, particularly in southern Chad as well as Ouaddai, and Kanem Region where the opposition has campaigned to boycott the election. Heavy deployment of security forces is expected in the vicinity of all polling stations and other election facilities as well as throughout the major cities. Additionally, security measures such as checkpoints and roadblocks are likely to be employed, particularly in N’Djamena. Security forces will use forceful measures including tear gas and batons to disperse any opposition gatherings to prevent the protests from taking place.
  3. FORECAST: Furthermore, additional arbitrary arrests of opposition figures, civil society activists, and dissenting voices can be expected in light of the authorities’ stated threat of an attack against CENI and opposition figures. This may also manifest in the form of a security escort to allegedly safeguard prominent opposition figures. Consequently, restricting the opposition figures’ movement and hindering efforts to mobilize or campaign against Deby. Furthermore, there remains the potential of Deby supporters also engaging in violence against opposition supporters. Given precedent, internet blackout and restricted access to social media platforms can be expected on polling day and in the coming week, to prevent opposition mobilization.
  4. FORECAST: Given the heightened security measures to be implemented, the election will likely transpire relatively peacefully. However, the opposition campaign to boycott the election can lead to a low voter turnout. This along with the likely opposition claims of electoral manipulation and fraud are unlikely to have any significant impact on the election results, where Deby is expected to be announced as the winner. The opposition presidential candidates may either individually or together appeal against the results, which will likely be dismissed given Deby’s entrenched influence over state institutions including the judiciary. However, the opposition grievances may manifest in the form of opposition protests and unrest against Deby following the declaration of the results. The political landscape is expected to remain tense in the coming days and weeks.

Recommendations

  1. Those operating or residing in Chad on April 11 are advised to avoid the vicinity of electoral facilities due to the election and the potential for unrest.
  2. Maintain heightened vigilance and avoid gatherings and political events over the coming week due to the heightened tensions and the risk of political unrest and security crackdowns.
COUNTRY RISK LEVEL Medium
AFFECTED AREA Nationwide, Chad
INCIDENT RISK LEVEL Medium
STRENGTH OF SOURCE Confirmed

Please be advised

  • The presidential election is slated to take place on April 11 with President Idriss Deby of the ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) contesting for reelection for a sixth term in office.
  • Reports from March 3 indicate that the Supreme Court validated the candidacy of 10 presidential candidates including that of President Deby as well as opposition National Union for Democracy and Renewal (UNDR) leader Saleh Kebzabo. Kebzabo later withdrew his candidacy on March 1.
  • The UNDR posted a call issued by ‘Wakit Tama’ to boycott the election and mobilize against Deby across the country on April 10-11. Wakit Tama is a platform recently launched against Deby’s reelection bid by 30 civil society groups, religious leaders, opposition parties including the Transformers and the UNDR, among others.
  • Additional opposition and civil society groups such as the National Council for Change (CNC) and the trade unions associated Coordination of Citizen Actions have also called upon people to boycott the elections and mobilize against Deby on April 10-11.
  • On April 8, the Minister of Public Security and Immigration stated that the security forces have begun to arrest individuals, including political leaders, for allegedly planning to attack the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) headquarters and to assassinate opposition leaders.
  • For a more detailed analysis of the Chad elections, please click here.

Assessments & Forecast

  1. The presidential election is set to take place amid heightened tensions with opposition protests,  arrests of activists, and opposition figures being recorded in the past two months. While additional details including the identity of the individuals arrested as per the April 8 statements remain unknown, this aligns with the authorities’ use of threat to national security as means to clampdown on dissent. The opposition has campaigned for a boycott of the election due to the political unrest resulting from the resistance against Deby’s re-election bid for his sixth presidential term.
  2. FORECAST: Despite an ongoing ban on demonstrations and the precedent of violent dispersals of opposition protests by security forces, there remains the potential of the opposition calls for mobilization to manifest into spontaneous and scattered small-scale protests. While most of such manifestations can be expected to be focused in N’Djamena, low-level unrest may take place nationwide, particularly in southern Chad as well as Ouaddai, and Kanem Region where the opposition has campaigned to boycott the election. Heavy deployment of security forces is expected in the vicinity of all polling stations and other election facilities as well as throughout the major cities. Additionally, security measures such as checkpoints and roadblocks are likely to be employed, particularly in N’Djamena. Security forces will use forceful measures including tear gas and batons to disperse any opposition gatherings to prevent the protests from taking place.
  3. FORECAST: Furthermore, additional arbitrary arrests of opposition figures, civil society activists, and dissenting voices can be expected in light of the authorities’ stated threat of an attack against CENI and opposition figures. This may also manifest in the form of a security escort to allegedly safeguard prominent opposition figures. Consequently, restricting the opposition figures’ movement and hindering efforts to mobilize or campaign against Deby. Furthermore, there remains the potential of Deby supporters also engaging in violence against opposition supporters. Given precedent, internet blackout and restricted access to social media platforms can be expected on polling day and in the coming week, to prevent opposition mobilization.
  4. FORECAST: Given the heightened security measures to be implemented, the election will likely transpire relatively peacefully. However, the opposition campaign to boycott the election can lead to a low voter turnout. This along with the likely opposition claims of electoral manipulation and fraud are unlikely to have any significant impact on the election results, where Deby is expected to be announced as the winner. The opposition presidential candidates may either individually or together appeal against the results, which will likely be dismissed given Deby’s entrenched influence over state institutions including the judiciary. However, the opposition grievances may manifest in the form of opposition protests and unrest against Deby following the declaration of the results. The political landscape is expected to remain tense in the coming days and weeks.

Recommendations

  1. Those operating or residing in Chad on April 11 are advised to avoid the vicinity of electoral facilities due to the election and the potential for unrest.
  2. Maintain heightened vigilance and avoid gatherings and political events over the coming week due to the heightened tensions and the risk of political unrest and security crackdowns.
COUNTRY RISK LEVEL Medium
AFFECTED AREA Nationwide, Chad
INCIDENT RISK LEVEL Medium
STRENGTH OF SOURCE Confirmed