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Chad Opposition Leader Urges Reconciliation With Military Regime

A first since his return to Chad on November 3r. Opposition leader Succès Masra spoke Sunday to hundreds of supporters in N’Djamena.

The les Transformers party chief had left Chad along with other opposition leaders after demonstrations held last year to protest military rule were violently repressed.

On Sunday (Nov. 19), Masra called for “reconciliation”.

“I want you to know that we went out for justice and equality, to carry your voice, and we have returned today with the same resolve and the same determination to fight to make justice and equality a reality in this country of ours.”

Officially about 50 people were killed in protests last year. The opposition and independent observers said at least 300 had been killed on October 20 after Transitional president Mahamat Deby went back on his word to hold elections.

Masra told the crowds not to seek revenge.

“As of today, our doors are open, our hearts are open, and I would like you to open yours as well to continue the dialogue so that this transition, which took off in April 2021, and which went through a period of extreme turbulence in 2022, particularly on 20 October, can land in 2024 at the airport of democracy where, for the first time, Chadians will choose their leader in an inclusive and free way.”

Masra returned home after reaching an agreement with the military regime. The rest of Chad’s opposition, many of whose leaders remain in exile, have denounced the deal which allegedly includes an amnesty for those reponsible for killing demonstrators last year. 

Max Kemkoye, president of the Union of Democrats for Development and Progress (UDP) party, said the rest of the opposition views the amnesty as a way of “shielding criminals from prosecution… who killed en masse, tortured, abducted and made young people disappear on October 20, 2022”.

A constitutional referendum is scheduled for next month.

What hope?

Masra received multiple rounds of applause throughout his lengthy speech from supporters dressed in the national colours.

“His speech reassured the people, we’re on our feet,” said Etienne Josue, 25, an enthusiastic member of the crowd.

“After October 20, there was no hope,” added 32-year-old Salim Abdoulaye, another attendee.

The opposition leader finished with a nod to future cooperation with the military leaders, calling President Deby “our brother”.

“Deby can count on us as an ally of the people. We are ready to continue working with the authorities to find a comprehensive solution,” he said.

General Mahamat Deby Itno, was proclaimed transitional president in 2021 following his father’s desime.

Mahamat Deby had promised elections within 18 months, but after that date passed he put off a vote for another two years.

Source : Africa News