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Saleh Kebzabo named as Chad's new prime minister

October 12, 2022

The ex-opposition politician and former journalist replaces Albert Pahimi Padacke, who was appointed after President Mahamat Idriss Deby seized power in the wake of his father's death.

Saleh Kebzaba
Kebzaba, 75, has tried to become Chad's president on four separate occasionsImage: Denis Sassou Gueipeur/AFP via Getty Images

Former journalist and opposition leader Saleh Kebzabo has been appointed prime minister of Chad, the military confirmed by decree on Wednesday.

The veteran politician was defeated in presidential elections on four occasions by Idriss Deby Itno, who ruled Chad for more than three decades until he was killed during a military operation in April 2021. He was then succeeded by a junta headed by his son, Mahamat, a 38-year-old five-star general.

Kebzabo replaces Albert Pahimi Padacke, a civilian politician who was named prime minister of a transitional military government last year after Mahamat Idriss Deby seized power.

Going back on promises

The junta had originally declared it would restore civilian rule after 18 months in power, and Deby had at first vowed not to participate in the proposed upcoming elections.

As the 18-month deadline neared, however, a nationwide forum staged by Deby meant the timeframe was altered.

Last weekend, the forum agreed the present government can remain in power until democratic elections in 2024.

In the meantime, Deby will remain the Central African country's "transitional president" and declared he could be a candidate in the elections in two years' time.

Chad dance center gets kids off the street

Peace agreement with rebels

In August, after more than five months of talks, 42 rebel groups signed an agreement with Chad's military government in the Qatari capital of Doha. The ceremony was attended by Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, who promised not to relent in his efforts to obtain peace.

But several rebel groups, including the largest, Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), have refused to sign the deal. Their absence has dented hopes for a quick peace deal and raised fears of a return to violence.

FACT is believed to be behind the death in combat of former president Idriss Deby.

jsi/nm (AFP, Reuters)