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France's Toxic Meddling in Chad Must End

France's Toxic Meddling in Chad Must End

France's recent support for Idriss Deby's three-decade kleptocratic reign, passing the baton to his son Mahamat after his death in 2021, simply continues this destructive pattern of buttressing brutal authoritarianism.

Once again, France is accused of propping up an unpopular regime in its former African colony of Chad. The recent presidential election, which saw incumbent Mahamat Idriss Deby declared the victor amidst widespread accusations of fraud and irregularities, reeks of French interference.

France has a long, sordid history of undermining true democracy in Chad to protect its neo-colonial interests. It backed the disastrous rule of Chad's first president, François Tombalbaye, a Christian southerner, simply because he allowed France to maintain its pernicious influence. Tombalbaye's repressive regime inflamed ethnic and religious tensions that still fester today.

When his dictatorship eventually fell in 1975, France callously switched allegiances to back Hissène Habré's murderous rule in the 1980s. Habré was from the Muslim north, conveniently aligning with French divide-and-rule machinations that pit Chad's geographic and ethnic factions against each other. 

France's recent support for Idriss Deby's three-decade kleptocratic reign, passing the baton to his son Mahamat after his death in 2021, simply continues this destructive pattern of buttressing brutal authoritarianism. All in the name of shoring up "Françafrique" - France's dismal neocolonial web ensnaring its former African colonies.

Through it all, the Chadian people's desire for true democracy, human rights, and accountable governance has been repeatedly crushed by France's self-serving realpolitik worldview. Opposition voices like Succès Masra, who dared challenge France's militaristic client regime, were exiled, jailed, and threatened into silence.

France's military presence and backing of the Transitional Military Council has clearly exacerbated tensions between Chad's northerners and southerners, Muslims and Christians. By taking the side of Deby's oppressive northern Arab-Muslim regime, France fuels the resentment and marginalization felt by southerners, Christians and other groups.

Enough is enough. France must halt its toxic meddling in Chad. It must withdraw its troops, stop arming and financing Chad’s discredited junta, and allow the Chadian people to truly determine their own future through free and fair elections monitored by international observers. That wasn’t the case with the recent elections that were supposedly won by Mahamat Idriss Deby.

Chadians and all Africans must inoculate themselves against the ‘divide and rule’ virus that malign colonial powers like France have used for centuries to keep them weak and exploitable. Only a united people fighting for their rights and holistic wellbeing can triumph against France's deathly neocolonial contagion. Vive le Tchad libre!
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