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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06NDJAMENA1055
2006-08-14 18:14:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Ndjamena
Cable title:  

CHAD'S POLITICAL TALK: DIALOGUE OR MONOLOGUE?

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  PHUM  CD  ASEC 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 NDJAMENA 001055 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/C, LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA-WATCHERS
INFO AF/PD (CANYASO)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM CD ASEC
SUBJECT: CHAD'S POLITICAL TALK: DIALOGUE OR MONOLOGUE?

REF: A. NDJAMENA 00994

B. NDJAMENA 00989

C. PARIS 05106

D. NDJAMENA 01026

Classified By: Public Affairs Officer Arthur Bell for reasons 1.4 (b) a
nd (d).



1. (C) SUMMARY: Making good on informal commitments voiced
before the May 3rd election, President Deby's government
completed a week of "political dialogue" sessions on August


2. Dubbed by the opposition parties who boycotted the
sessions and the independent press as a "monologue," a
"masquerade," and "le grand show," the much-anticipated
political dialogue appeared long on pomp and short on
substance. The results, presented in a "final report" at the
closing session, included some potentially beneficial changes
to the electoral code. However, results also included vague
and potentially menacing proposals for a "code of good
conduct" and "better tracking policies" for political
parties, and a public funding plan that, on the surface,
appears to greatly benefit the party in power. Meanwhile, a
visiting high-ranking United Nations official found little
reason for optimism, citing "no willingness on the part of
the government or the opposition to come together on
fundamental issues." END SUMMARY.




--------------------------


THE DIALOGUE


--------------------------





2. (SBU) With predictable pomp and solemnity, Prime
Minister Pascal Yoadmnadji welcomed over 500 participants,
observers, and press to the opening ceremony of Chad's latest
iteration of "political dialogue" on July 28. The six-day
event, presented as the "Political Dialogue for the
Reinforcement of the Democratic Process in Chad," was widely
seen as President Deby's answer to the international
communities' urging to sit down with his political opponents
and address Chad's institutional crises.



--------------------------


RESULTS?


--------------------------





3. (SBU) Post has previously reported on the widespread
skepticism about the dialogue (Ref A), owing in large measure
to the deep mistrust between the Deby regime and its
political opponents. The latter have long been openly
critical of Deby's attempts to dialogue, and generally appear
to view the latest version as a farce with little to no
chance of success (Ref B, Ref C).



4. (SBU) Nonetheless, the GOC forged ahead with the
dialogue. President Deby convened a nine member "council of
wisemen" (drawn mostly from his inner circle; see Ref A) to
advise him on the format and content of the dialogue. The
working sessions included 54 political parties, the vast
majority allied in some respect with the ruling MPS, and none
drawn from the CPDC collective, which includes most of the
prominent opposition leaders. During the working sessions,
an 11 member working committee, composed of representatives

of various political parties including the ruling MPS,
produced a total of 13 official statements covering four
broad areas: a) the electoral code; b) organization of
elections; c) status of political parties; d) code of good
behavior for political parties.



5. (U) Below are some of the salient points from each area:

a) Electoral code revisions:
--nomad voting procedures: fewer days to vote; must vote in a
chosen district.

NDJAMENA 00001055 002 OF 003


--votes can be cast at any polling place, with valid card.
--changes to overseas voting procedures

b) Organization of elections:
--revise electoral lists
--modify composition of National Electoral Commission (CENI)
(1/4 GOC, 1/2 Natl Assembly parties, 1/4 non-Natl Assembly
parties).
--reduce number of voters per polling station.

c) Status of political parties:
--revisions to Law 45 governing creation of political parties.
--"better tracking" of political parties.
--Heads of political parties will have some special status
(to be defined).
--promote gender and the role of women in political parties.
--provide funding for political parties who present a
candidate.
--provide equal access to public media for campaigning
parties.

d) Code of good behavior:
--obligations of political parties.
--mechanisms for better tracking of political parties.
--political parties must be national in composition (at least
3 members from every region).




--------------------------


UNITED NATIONS PERSPECTIVE


--------------------------





6. (C) The United Nations sent a delegation, headed by
Assistant Secretary General for African Affairs, Tuliamani
Kalomoh, to observe the dialogue. In two separate meetings,
Kalomoh provided us with his trenchant and fairly bleak
analysis of the current political landscape. Kalomoh
expressed the UN's desire to see "the emergence of a coherent
set of ideas to move past the current political impasse," but
instead found "no willingness on the part of the government
or the opposition to come together on fundamental issues."
During his four-hour meeting with President Deby, Kalomoh
said he encountered a "self-righteous" leader, "not offering
any way out," who "took offense at suggestions of
'inclusiveness', thinking that 'inclusiveness' automatically
means 'armed rebels.'" Kalomoh reported that Deby
re-iterated the GOC's unwillingness and inability to
"legalize what is illegal," in reference to the political
status of the armed rebellion -- a point also made by the
Prime Minister in his opening address at the dialogue. In
response to Kalomoh's offer of UN assistance, Deby replied
that "the UN needs to deploy troops to Darfur." President
Deby also believes that it is the UN's role to bring the
political opposition to the table, Kalomoh said.



7. (C) Kalomoh described the current attempt at dialogue as
"a set of pre-defined parameters and pre-determined
outcomes." From the GOC perspective, the primary desired
outcomes are to legitimize the President, and to co-opt the
opposition to the extent possible, he said. Kalomoh cited
four "fundamental issues" that must be addressed. While
acknowledging that the "political dialogue" had made a
gesture at addressing (1) the electoral codes and (2) the
composition of the electoral commission, he pointed out that
there was no mention of either (3) judicial reforms or (4)
constructive dialogue with the armed opposition.



8. (C) The political opposition, and in particular the
CPDC, have called repeatedly for an outside, independent
facilitator, both to mediate their disputes with the GOC, and
to weigh in on Chad-Sudan relations. Kalomoh saw no
indication that Deby wants the UN to play this role. Indeed,
the UN diplomat believes that the GOC is not ready for true
mediation. They want simply "to force through a dialogue,

NDJAMENA 00001055 003 OF 003


and get it out of the way before the inauguration."
According to Kalomoh, "the donors must speak with one voice
on the need for electoral reform and inclusiveness, and
unless the process is open, there is no hope for stability."
Furthermore, Kalomoh said that, according to Deby, the GOC
continues to view the CPDC as lacking a Chadian constituency.
He also said that Deby expressed his belief, during their
meeting, that the opposition is supported by foreign
embassies, including the American Embassy.




9. (C) Kalomoh told us that he planned to report to the
Secretary General his conclusion that there was "no direct

SIPDIS
role to play" for the UN in Chad at the moment, "except to
identify one or two donors."



--------------------------


MEDIA AND CIVIL SOCIETY REACTION


--------------------------





10. (SBU) Private media by and large considered the
National Political Dialogue to be a "political monologue,"
pointing out that the ruling MPS and its close allies were
the only participants. This position was also expressed
during a press conference by various human rights
associations on the opening day of the dialogue. Delphine
Kemneloum, a prominent lawyer and human rights activist,
stated in an interview on National Chadian Radio that the
political dialogue in its current form "would in no way help
to bring peace to Chad." According to the bi-weekly
N'Djamena Bi-Hebdo, nothing could be expected of such a forum
except a banal discussion of election issues. The daily
Progres newspaper, owned by a prominent MPS leader, found
that "the dialogue promotes the survival of political
parties," citing the new funding proposals, and the new
requirements on political parties. Finally, an editorial in
the independent Notre Temps said that the decisions taken as
a result of the dialogue "will serve only to fill the
coffers" of ruling party members, and that participants in
the dialogue will be expecting nothing more that "their
portion of the cake that the Prince will distribute."



11. (SBU) Although media criticism of the dialogue was
quite harsh, the Minister of Communciation told us in a
recent meeting (Ref D) that he found it to be acceptible,
balanced and well-reasoned, and a good example of the role of
the free press in Chad.



--------------------------


COMMENT


--------------------------





12. (SBU) Now that the "results" of the dialogue are in, it
remains to be seen to what extent the government will work to
implement its proposed changes, what efforts they will make
to continue the dialogue process, and how those who did not
participate -- particularly the CPDC opposition and the armed
rebels -- will react.
WALL