Africa’s security dilemmas and the looming crisis in Chad, By Adeoye O. Akinola


Of the 157 countries ranked in the 2019 global Human Capital Index, Chad occupied the last position, with 6.3 million Chadians living in extreme poverty. Military intervention is nothing but an aberration. Africa’s governing elites should implement effective governance and tackle the root causes of conflict – inequality and poverty. National, sub-regional, and regional actors should focus on “silencing the pervasive poverty” in Africa…

On July 29, the capital of Chad, N’Djamena, was a theatre of mass protest in opposition to the military junta, which took control of the country after the long-serving ruler, President Idriss Déby Itno, died in April, while reportedly leading a four-week offensive against rebels in northern Chad. The military, now led by Idriss’s son, Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, immediately assumed power. The main opposition party, The Transformers, and civil society actors, mobilised the people against the democratic reversal and “the confiscation of power” by the Transitional Military Council under Mahamat’s leadership. Mahamat has personalised power since April and embarked on regime consolidation, together with 14 generals who were loyal to his father.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who had attended President Idriss’s burial, met with the military rulers. The objectives and outcomes of this meeting were unclear, but based on Mahamat’s decision to dissolve the parliament, repeal the constitution, and set a 18-month transitional period, the ruling junta is now firmly in control. France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, defended the military regime, citing “exceptional circumstances” as the reason for dissolving the National Assembly. Would this have been his response had this occurred in France? Besides Chad, the Malian army struck in August 2020 and May 2021. Is this becoming a pattern, and what are the foreign troops securing in the Sahel?

The Chadian military has tried to gain local and international alliances but based on their autocratic nature, there is growing apprehension about the future of democracy in the Central African country. While France had initially pledged support for the military regime, it has since made a dramatic U-turn and called for the formation of a civilian national unity government. Chad, which serves as the main Western ally against Islamic militants across the Sahel, has been battling with an armed group, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT).  About nine people were reportedly killed during the July protest, and seven died during similar protests in April and May. Intercommunal clashes and flooding, caused by climate change, continue to also claim lives and displace people in the Lac province. In March, between 20,000 and 30,000 people were forced to flee because of sporadic attacks in Bohoma, a village in the province. They joined the 208,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 13,900 refugees already in Lac province.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 237,000 refugees and 300,000 IDPs are living in Niger, which includes an additional 4,000 refugees and 2,000 newly displaced in 2021, due to attacks in the Tillabéri and Tahoua regions. In June, local armed men unleashed violence on a village – Solhan – in northeast Burkina Faso, near the Nigerien border.

Other African states have experienced incessant threats to human security. In Nigeria, a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report recently revealed that attacks from the dreaded Boko Haram, including its splinter group – Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), and Fulani herdsmen have resulted in 2.7 million IDPs and 350,000 deaths. Besides the infiltration of Boko Haram’s terrorism in Chad, the spill-over effects of conflicts in its neighbouring countries – Cameroon, Libya, Sudan, and Niger – have compounded its quest for stability. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 237,000 refugees and 300,000 IDPs are living in Niger, which includes an additional 4,000 refugees and 2,000 newly displaced in 2021, due to attacks in the Tillabéri and Tahoua regions. In June, local armed men unleashed violence on a village – Solhan – in northeast Burkina Faso, near the Nigerien border. This attack claimed 138 lives and 40 sustained injuries, and the gun-wielding men set residential areas and the market ablaze.

Last month, South Africans and the global community watched in horror as lawlessness and violence, unprecedented in the country’s democratic history, were unleashed. What had started as pro-Zuma protests, after his imprisonment for contempt of court, became a free-for-all looting spree, uncontrolled criminality, and wholesale arson of factories and warehouses, that caused an estimated R50 billion in damages. More than 40,000 businesses, and 300 banks and post offices were destroyed, with 300 lives lost in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces. While the Cyril Ramaphosa-led government could have reacted more swiftly, the administration has restored order to the warring zones due to the resilience of South Africa’s socio-political institutions. However, some of the conflict areas remain volatile.

The death of Libya’s strongman, Muammar al-Qadaffi, continues to haunt his country, making it insecure. The protracted conflict in Sudan has ceased from attracting headlines, but many communities are still under the control of local rebels and conflict persists in Darfur. As recently as last January, hundreds of Sudanese nationals were killed and about 150,000 displaced when a suspected Arab rebel group attacked the el Geneina camp in West Darfur. In April, another outbreak of conflict in the town claimed the lives of more than 100 people, while thousands were displaced and fled to Chad.

Despite slow efforts to silence the guns in Africa, cases of bloodletting abound. What accounts for the expanding proliferation of conflicts? The colonial legacy? While this is close to the heart, the false promise of liberal democracy and capitalism systems have exposed the fragility of the disjointed elitist states that are dependent on global financial oligarchs, many of which are governed by greedy, corrupt, and inept leaders.

In 2016, what started as a protest by the two anglophone regions against marginalisation by the majority French-speaking government has turned Cameroon into a war zone. The violent conflict between the central government and minority separatist groups has killed over 4,000 people and displaced more than a million, including 66,899 refugees who fled to Nigeria. Boko Haram has killed over 3,000 people and displaced 250,000 in northern Cameroon. The country has also played host to 441,000 refugees, mostly from Nigeria and the Central African Republic.

Despite slow efforts to silence the guns in Africa, cases of bloodletting abound. What accounts for the expanding proliferation of conflicts? The colonial legacy? While this is close to the heart, the false promise of liberal democracy and capitalism systems have exposed the fragility of the disjointed elitist states that are dependent on global financial oligarchs, many of which are governed by greedy, corrupt, and inept leaders. Democratisation in Africa, which is seen as the antidote to both internal resurrections and external aggressions, has deepened poverty, structural violence, identity assertiveness and the politicisation of ethnic groups. Poverty remains closely associated with conflict. Of the 157 countries ranked in the 2019 global Human Capital Index, Chad occupied the last position, with 6.3 million Chadians living in extreme poverty. Military intervention is nothing but an aberration. Africa’s governing elites should implement effective governance and tackle the root causes of conflict – inequality and poverty. National, sub-regional, and regional actors should focus on “silencing the pervasive poverty” in Africa, before reviewing the ambitious African Union’s project of “silencing the guns”.

Adeoye O. Akinola is a Head of Research and Teaching at the University of Johannesburg’s Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation, South Africa.

 

 

Support PREMIUM TIMES’ journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

Donate


TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401…






PT Mag Campaign AD





Read from the Source link

(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)

About The Author

You might be interested in

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *