The President of the Transitional Military Council of the Republic of Chad, young Mahamat Déby, returned to his country on 8 November, after concluding his first visit to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
The visit took place under careful supervision of the UN and the African Union, who were pushing back the Chad-Equatorial Guinea Joint Commission into existence. The last meeting of the Commission designed to promote cooperation between the two countries was held in 2015.
The relations between Chad and Equatorial Guinea went into freefall in the late December 2017, when Equatoguinean security forces reported a border crossing by foreign mercenaries, including Chadian citizens. In a statement read on public radio, Security Minister Nicholas Obama Nchama blamed the alleged coup on mercenaries hired by opposition groups and supported by unnamed “powers”.
He said the coup attempt had been foiled with the help of the Cameroonian security services.
The young transitional leader of Chad, who became the interim President after his father’s sudden demise in April 2021, has been constantly making the news since he headed the country. Recently we made himself a five-star general – a rank belonging to his father only, – in order to raise himself above other generals in the Transitional government and add some political capital to his figure.
This confirms the notions of experts, who said back in April 2021 that Mahamat Déby lacks the necessary authority both among the military establishment and the people. The key to Mahamat Déby’s public position in the support of the Chad’s former colonial power, France. Macron has personally invested into Déby Jr. as his proxy in Africa, where the French power over former colonies is fading away.
But the support of Paris is not enough for an African leader to be recognized by the people of the continent, and it is not enough to protect an African leader in case of a coup d’état, as it happened with pro-French Alpha Condé in Guinea and Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in Mali.
This is why Mahamat Déby would do anything to reach the level of recognition of the old African leaders, like his father or Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the long-standing President of Equatorial Guinea.
According to the military sources close to the young general Déby, the visit to Equatorial Guinea, masked as the visit of friendship and cooperation, was indeed a reconnaissance-trip, design so that Mahamat Déby can see with his own eyes what an old-school African leader looks like. And as it has been already known to the press, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is old, sick and weak.
Equatoguinean opposition in exile has already visited France among the ranks of French delegations, constantly travelling from Paris to N’Djamena. As they did back in 2018, they again look the for the Chadian force who would be able to bring down the current government in Malabo.
It opens an opportunity to the young general Déby to correct the mistakes of his father who failed to overthrow the leader of Equatorial Guinea in 2017, and establish himself as a figure to be reckoned with.
Ali Mohammed is a socialpolitical commentator based in Mali
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