Chad parties dub appointment of president’s son as leader an ‘institutional coup’

The opposition parties in Chad called the army’s appointment of President Idriss Déby’s son as the nation’s new leader an “institutional coup”.

Chad’s 68-year-old President, Idriss Déby Itno succumbed to injuries following clashes with rebels in the north of the country.

Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, also known as “General Kaka”, was made in charge of the presidential guard and is to lead the country for 18 months until elections.

The government and parliament have been dissolved, but constitutional experts say the speaker of parliament should take over when a sitting president dies before organising elections.

The rebels too have objected to the move, saying: “Chad is not a monarchy.”

There are fears that the death could trigger political instability in the vast semi-arid country with a long history of rebellions and coup attempts and where the opposition is weak and divided.

An umbrella group of trade unions has joined the opposition to reject the establishment of the Transitional Military Council, calling for dialogue and workers to stay at home until there is a resolution.

Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno:

Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, 37, is a four-star general who has played a leading role in the army since 2013 when he was appointed deputy head of Chadian forces taking part in anti-terror operations in Mali.

He is also known as “General Kaka”, a reference to his upbringing as he was raised by President Déby’s mother and “kaka” means grandmother in Chadian Arabic.

Although not a known personality, he is said to be greatly respected by the army’s rank and file.

It is reported that he was at the frontline in northern Chad when his father was fatally shot.

The late president had a large family, having married several times, and had an unknown number of children.