Tchad: Saleh Déby Itno, Uncle of Transitional President, Joins Opposition Figure Yaya Dillo—What’s Behind It?

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
3 Min Read
Saleh Déby

In a significant political move, Saleh Déby Itno, the younger brother of the late President Idriss Déby Itno, has parted ways with the ruling MPS party, which recently endorsed Mahamat Idriss Déby as its candidate for the upcoming presidential elections slated before the end of October. His defection to the opposition, specifically Yaya Dillo’s PSF party, has sparked speculations about deepening divisions within the Itno clan, although Saleh Déby Itno dismisses such interpretations.

Saleh Déby Itno formally aligned himself with Yaya Dillo’s PSF party over the weekend. Dillo, also a member of the Itno clan, has emerged as a vocal critic of the government following the tragic death of his mother during a military raid on his residence in Ndjamena in early March 2021.

The significance of Saleh Déby Itno’s defection to Yaya Dillo’s PSF party is not lost on several Tchad experts. Political analyst Évariste Ngarlem Toldé acknowledges that it reflects underlying tensions within the presidential clan, noting that until now, all members of the Itno clan were affiliated with the MPS party, founded by the late President Idriss Déby Itno, which rallied behind his son Mahamat following his succession in April 2021. Ngarlem Toldé points out that this move signifies a fracture within the clan.

Another researcher believes that a faction within the clan continues to dispute the legitimacy of Mahamat Idriss Déby’s presidency, nearly three years after he assumed power. Moreover, there’s a perception that Mahamat is seeking to distance himself from familial constraints, which has not been well received by other family members.

In essence, the ongoing political struggle revolves around determining the clan’s leadership. Despite this internal strife, both factions are keen on retaining power within the family circle. It’s worth noting that even Yaya Dillo, as a nephew of Idriss Déby Itno, is considered part of the family.

Saleh Déby maintains that family ties and politics are distinct realms, asserting his departure from the MPS due to its failure to bring about significant progress during its three-decade-long tenure.

The evolving political landscape in Tchad, characterized by shifting allegiances and intra-familial dynamics, underscores the complexities of governance and power struggles in the aftermath of President Idriss Déby Itno’s demise.


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