Chad’s Democratic Party Raises Alarm Over Alleged Suppression of Public Freedoms
President Avocksouma’s Criticism on Ordinance n°009/Pt/2023
President Avocksouma Djona Atchénémou of the Democratic Party held a press conference on August 2nd, where he strongly criticized ordinance n°009/Pt/2023, adopted by the Council of Ministers on August 1, 2023. He believes that the transition is beginning to lock down public freedoms.
According to Avocksouma, Chad is worried about the ongoing issues at its borders, with war in Sudan to the east, instability in Libya in the north, concerns about rebellions in the Central African Republic in the south, and particularly the potential consequences of the recent coup in Niger. He stated that the transition authorities are taking advantage of the National Transition Council’s vacation period to tighten control over public freedoms.
Ordinance n°009/PT/2023: A Closer Look
This ordinance was adopted under law n° 016/Pt/2023 of July 4, which empowers the government to legislate by ordinance during the National Councilors’ vacation period from July 1 to August 31, 2023. The Ordinance defines a gathering as any premeditated or spontaneous assembly of people with a common intent, in such a number that the personality of each individual in the group is likely to dissolve into the group’s overall personality. This broad definition has raised concerns about its potential misinterpretation and misuse.
Article 3 of the ordinance prohibits any armed gathering (with a knife, firearm, or similar) and any unarmed gathering that might disturb public order on public roads or in a public place. This aspect of the ordinance has been perceived by critics as serving the government’s interests more than public order or safety.
Democratic Party’s Stand on The Ordinance
The Democratic Party has voiced concerns that the ordinance repeals all contrary previous provisions, particularly ordinance n° 046/Int-Sur of October 27, 1962, relating to gatherings, which the government deemed too lenient in terms of repression. They argue that the government has enacted measures to silence any dissenting voices in Chad indefinitely.
The party further argued that the ordinance has become an armed means to repress, something the government had already been doing freely in the past. They see the law in all its rigor as a system that views its people as an enemy.
Concerns Over Public Freedoms Amidst Regional Instability
While the government argues that these measures are necessary to maintain order and stability, critics like President Avocksouma and his party, believe that these measures are excessively repressive and infringe upon the public freedoms of the citizens of Chad. Amidst increasing regional instability and internal political transitions, the state of public freedoms in Chad is a matter of increasing concern to observers and critics alike. The ordinance, its interpretation, and its potential repercussions on public freedoms will continue to be a significant point of discussion in Chad’s political discourse in the days to come.
Looking Forward: Chad’s Democratic Future?
These concerns raise important questions about Chad’s democratic future, particularly in light of the recent changes in government and ongoing regional instability. It remains to be seen how the government will respond to these criticisms and whether it will take steps to address concerns about public freedoms and democratic processes. The international community will also be closely watching these developments, as they could have significant implications for regional stability and democratic governance in Chad and beyond.
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