Mahamat Idriss Deby, son of slain president, emerges as Chad’s new strongman
A son of Chad’s slain leader Idriss Deby Itno is to take over as president in place of his father, according to a charter released Wednesday by the presidency.
The charter said General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, 37, who on Tuesday was named transitional leader as head of a military council following his father’s death, will “occupy the functions of the president of the republic” and also serve as head of the armed forces.
The four-star general was not on any list of heirs to the throne drawn up by experts, who said they believed the veteran warlord and president had not chosen a successor and seemed to worry little about it.
But Mahamat immediately took charge of a transitional military council and appointed 14 of the most trusted generals to a junta to run Chad until “free and democratic” elections in 18-months time.
Commander in chief of the all-powerful red-bereted presidential guard or DGSSIE security service for state institutions, he carries the nickname Mahamat “Kaka” or grandmother in Chadian Arabic, after his father’s mother who raised him.
“The man in black glasses”, as he is known in military circles, is said to be a discreet, quiet officer who looks after his men.
A career soldier, just like his father, he is from the Zaghawa ethnic group which can boast of numerous top officers in an army seen as one of the finest in the region.
“He has always been at his father’s side. He also led the DGSSIE. The army has gone for continuity in the system,” Kelma Manatouma, a Chadian political science researcher at Paris-Nanterre university, told AFP.
However over recent months the unity of the Zaghawas has fractured and the president has removed several suspect officers, sources close to the palace said…..read more