By Vatican News staff writer
Bishops in Chad have called for an “inclusive national dialogue” that brings together stakeholders in the nation’s socio-political life to work together toward peace.
In a recent statement, the Chadian Bishops’ Conference (CET) highlighted that “the lack of real and sincere dialogue between Chadian socio-political actors has long plagued national life and is at the heart of current debates.”
Need for national dialogue
CET further noted that the sudden April 19 demise of the Chadian president Idriss Deby Itno at the hands of military forces has brought the crises in the north-central African nation to the fore.
“The death of President Déby has made this crisis obvious, and this inclusive national dialogue and reconciliation is becoming an urgent necessity in order to enable all the children of Chad to come together and agree on a new social contract that should bind them for the next few decades,” the bishops said.
The inclusive national reconciliation dialogue, CET added, is supposed to bring together all the actors in the country’s socio-political life and set up a national transitional council for carrying out the necessary institutional reforms “with a view to drawing up a more consensual draft constitution”. However, the bishops lamented that this “is slow to take shape.”
Deby, who ruled Chad for 30 years, was killed while on a visit to the frontlines against a surging rebellion. He had just been announced winner of his fifth presidential election and his death created a vacuum in the country’s political scene.
Following his death, a transitional council of military officers led by Deby’s son, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, as interim president, has been overseeing the nation’s 18-month transition period. The council has also published a charter that defines the role of members expected to be appointed to the national transitional council. The charter has been largely rejected by the Chadian political opposition.
The concern of the Bishops
In the statement signed by CET president, Archbishop Edmond Djitangar Goetbé, the Bishops recalled that the first dialogue that gave birth to the fourth republic in 2018, and the other forum in 2020 – a recreation of the previous one – “have greatly influenced the social fabric and the way Chadians live together.” The Bishops, therefore, urge the Chadian authorities in charge of the transition to “learn from the lessons and failures” of these forums.
More so, CET pointed at the setting up of the committee in charge of appointing the members of the future National Transition Council (CNT), expressing concern that the council “does not seem to be representative of all the aspirations of the Chadian people and is already the target of much criticism in its unprecedented form.”
The Bishops went on to highlight the urgent need to “give the ministry in charge of dialogue and reconciliation a free hand and to give it all the means to organize this national, inclusive and reconciliatory dialogue with a view to setting up a consistent and consensual CNT.”
The National Transitional Council, the Bishops insisted, “can only be done after a sincere and inclusive national dialogue.”
Appeal to the leaders
In the face of the situation, the Bishops appealed to Chad’s partners to “be sensitive to the aspirations of the Chadian people for a qualitative change and for the CMT to keep its promises by bringing this transition to a successful conclusion for peace and stability in our country and in the sub-region.”
Concluding, CET reaffirmed the Church’s commitment and availability to contribute in the different phases of the transition in service of “the cause of unity, justice and peace” for the wellbeing of all Chadian citizens.