On Wednesday the streets of N’djamena in Chad were filled with opposition protesters, demonstrating against the country’s president Idriss Deby Itno’s bid for a fifth term. He has been in power for two decades and a half.
About 20 civil society society organisations shutdown the streets under the slogan “Thats enough”, closing shops and emptying major markets and schools.
“People are unhappy and the failure of this dead city is also explained by the accumulation of frustrations experienced by people for 25 years,” said another official of the Ministry of Justice.
This is the first time in the history of Chad that people unanimously support civil society
“This is the first time in the history of Chad that people unanimously support civil society, “ said Issa Moussa, of the Ministry of Territorial Administration.
Citizens are often silence about issues which directly affect them out of fear of being victimized.
There is also a recent thorny issue which further deepens Deby’s problems. Two weeks ago, a girl only known as Zouhoura was gang- raped by 5 young men said to be sons of top ranking generals.
A video of the incident was circulated on social media networks but was shortly removed. Citizens took to the streets, calling for justice.
The incident has brought hundreds of students to the street in Chad, carrying banners proclaiming “Je suis Zouhoura”.
Two protesters were reportedly shot dead in two separate incidents when police cracked down on the demonstrations
“In truth, Zouhoura’s case is just a pretext, the little spark that initiated this silent majority that begins to say no,” said the editor of the weekly The Nation.
Chad, which has a population of 11.6 million, was ranked 185th out of 188 countries in the U.N.’s 2015 Human Development Index, which measures living standards around the world.
The country has a GDP per capita of $1,024, a fraction of its former colonial power France at $42,732.
The country is also facing a host of security challenges, with Boko Haram encroaching into the Lake Chad basin and the unstable Libya to its north, where the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) has established a significant presence.