The Chadian Episcopal Conference announced on Saturday, September 3 the suspension of its participation in the sessions of the inclusive and sovereign national dialogue, which should allow the holding of free and democratic elections, and the handing over of power to civilians. The bishops denounce in particular the lack of inclusion and refuse to endorse the stranglehold of a group on the process of this dialogue.
Christine Kinghombe (Vatican City) and Séverin Ndinghatoloum (N’Djamena)
The Chadian episcopate has suspended its participation in the inclusive and sovereign national dialogue, which opened on Saturday August 20 in N’Djamena. In a note addressed to the inclusive and sovereign national dialogue, the bishops explain the reasons for their withdrawal from the process, while reaffirming their availability to participate in the reconciliation process that they deem sincere.
A “last chance dialogue»
In their statement, the bishops recall that, as soon as this process was announced, the Church in Chad “felt concerned and attached particular importance to this dialogue by taking part in it with a delegation composed of bishops, priests and lay people“. In the name of her mission of reconciliation, of promoting justice and peace, the Church in Chad had taken seriously this “last chance dialogue” who should “allow all the sons and daughters of Chad to agree on a new social contract whose basis would be justice and good governance“.
The inclusive and sovereign nature of dialogue is crumbling
However, despite the emphasis placed on the sincerity of this dialogue both in official speeches and in the first speeches, its inclusive and sovereign character is crumbling, the bishops deplore. For the episcopal conference,this dialogue, which is both political and social, must bring together political actors and those of civil society, many of whom are still outside“.
Inclusion and the search for consensus are unfortunately not on the agenda in this forum which must address issues of national importance such as the reform of the State, the electoral process, peace and reconciliation, notes the Chadian episcopate. “While we continue our work of mediation with those outside, some participants have left the dialogue or are threatening to leave it in protest at the confused way in which the rules of procedure were adopted and by the totally strange way of obtaining consensus in the designation of the members of the presidiumreads the conference statement.
“There was no dialogue»
The bishops also regret the absence of a real dialogue, specifying that this “is based on reciprocal listening“. Instead, they point out, these foundations look liketo an electoral campaign with, on the one hand, those who support change and a renewal of the political class; and on the other those who block everything and want to continue as before by setting up a cleverly orchestrated machine“.
Faced with such a situation of crisis of confidence between the different groups opposed to each other, and not wanting to endorse the control of a group on the process, the prelates are forced to suspend their participation in the dialogue sessions. “Peace is certainly a gift from God but it is also a work of justice on the part of men», declare the Chadian pastors, while reaffirming their availability for subsequent steps towards more sincere reconciliation.
call for sincerity
The decision of the bishops comes less than a week after the press conference of the Union of movements and associations of the laity of the Catholic Church of Chad (UMALECT). The collective of lay Chadians denounced Monday, August 29 the lack of inclusion, the opacity that surrounded the establishment of the presidium of the inclusive national dialogue and urged the organizing committee to suspend the work in order to promote the success of the ongoing mediation efforts. . Mr. Edmond Djimhodoum, representative of the platform, called on all the actors involved to show sincerity without partisan calculation in order to guarantee the success of the dialogue.
After several postponements, the inclusive national dialogue, announced by General Mahamat Idriss Déby, head of the Transitional Military Council (CMT), finally opened on August 20. Its conclusions should allow the return of the broken constitutional order after the death, on April 20, 2021, of President Idriss Déby Itno, in particular through the holding of free and democratic elections, and the handing over of power to civilians.