The call to arms for the constitutional referendum campaign in Chad has sounded, marking a significant turning point in the nation's governance. The transitional president, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, once promised a swift transition to civilian rule and elections in 2023. However, this pledge has been deferred to 2024, sparking fresh debates about the future of the country's political structure.
Setting the Stage for a New Constitution
The proposed constitution will test the three-decade rule of the Itno dynasty and the ruling military junta. The referendum, seen as a measure to lend credibility to the military's plans to hold power indefinitely, has already drawn criticism from civil society and opposition leaders. They have condemned the process for its lack of inclusiveness and dismissal of the political opposition's key concerns.
A 'Yes' for Highly Decentralized Unitary State
Prime Minister Saleh Kebzabo, who heads the pro-junta 'Yes' coalition, is championing a 'highly decentralized unitary state.' While launching the campaign, he urged over 8.3 million eligible voters in the vast Sahel country to back this concept. The referendum, scheduled for December 17, is viewed as a crucial step toward this direction.
The 'No' Camp and the Call for a Federal System
On the flip side, advocates for a federal system are mounting a strong 'no' campaign against the proposed constitution. These advocates argue that a federal system would offer a better alternative, aligning more closely with the aspirations of the Chad population. While the 'yes' and 'no' campaigns intensify, the nation holds its breath, anticipating a decision that could significantly shape Chad's future political landscape.