Hereditary Kleptocracy in Chad: A Special Report

One year after the massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in October 2022, what now for Chad, its economy and its people?

October 20 2023 marks the one-year anniversary of the violent repression by Chad’s transitional government that resulted in the arbitrary arrest, detention, and deaths of scores of civilians.

But what began in the streets with the indiscriminate use of live ammunition soon became a much more targeted campaign against perceived opponents of the transitional government. Many prominent critics of the government were forced to flee the country to escape the brutality of its clampdown.

The trigger for this shocking violence by authorities was a response to widespread protests calling on the government to do what it had publicly promised: to hold elections within 18 months of the death of former president Idriss Déby Itno in April 2021 which would then allow for a transition to civilian rule.

A year on from the massacre, this resource-rich but drastically underdeveloped country is no closer to holding the sort of elections capable of benefiting its people.

For the three decades Idriss Déby ruled the country, Chad was regarded as a kleptocracy.

With the death of President Déby in 2021, Chad became in the eyes of many observers an “hereditary kleptocracy” when power effectively transferred to his son, Mahamat Idriss DébyItno. (Mahamat is commonly referred to as “Kaka” to distinguish him from his father.)

There are no verified calculations of Déby’s wealth, but at the time of his death it was reported to be at least $50m. Where that may have been invested is unclear and a strand for future journalistic investigations.

To assess the state of the country a year on from the massacre, Finance Uncovered for OCA member, Public Interest Law Center Chad has spoken to a range of experts across the political, economic and civil rights landscape and examined various developments, especially in the petroleum sector.

Serious questions are being raised about how much of the country’s oil wealth is being utilised for development and the management of public resources. 

Please read our report here

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