With just a week remaining until the vote on the new constitution in Chad, proponents and opponents of the proposed changes vigorously defend their positions, while some opt for a boycott. As the referendum campaign enters its final week, the political landscape is abuzz with activity ahead of the scheduled vote on Sunday, December 17. In Ndjamena, this weekend they have witnessed a series of rallies and meetings by various political parties, as reported by our correspondent, Olivier Monodji.
Supporters of the Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS), the former ruling party, and allied parties backing the transition expressed confidence in their impending victory. Mahamat Zen Bada Abbas, Vice President of the coalition advocating for a “yes” vote in the constitutional referendum, asserted, “The opposing camp proposes the division of Chad. We will participate in the referendum to say ‘yes,’ to allow people to establish constitutional order swiftly. Vote for a united and indivisible Chad.”
The Determined “No” Camp
However, the determination of the “no” camp remains unwavering. Brice Mbaimon Guedmbaye, the national coordinator, argued, “The position of unitary state has rather facilitated the emergence of rebellions, crises, inter-communal conflicts, and wars. It has not favored us. We call for a ‘no’ vote against the proposed unitary constitution because this anti-federalist propaganda works to their advantage.”
The text, adopted in June by the transitional Parliament, aims to restore constitutional order and conclude the transition following the death of former President Idriss Déby. It mirrors the consensual structure of the 1996 fundamental law and, on the crucial issue of the state’s form, promises advanced decentralization rather than federalism.
Unchanged Daily Life
The Group for Consultation of Political Actors (GCAP), an alliance advocating for a boycott, contends that whether one votes “yes” or “no,” it will not alter daily life significantly. Nassour Ibrahim Koursami, President of the Patriots party and a GCAP member, emphasized, “Secure our future by saying no to the referendum. Voting is accepting a life without economic development. Everything must be done to prevent this referendum.” He pointed out that the concerns of Chadians extend beyond the referendum, encompassing the closure of schools for almost two months and the increasing fuel scarcity.