US embassy cable - 05NDJAMENA44

POSTCARD FROM MOUNDOU: RULING PARTY INSIDER'S INSIGHTS

Identifier: 05NDJAMENA44
Wikileaks: View 05NDJAMENA44 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Ndjamena
Created: 2005-01-11 16:35:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PHUM CD Political Stability
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

111635Z Jan 05

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FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0753
INFO AMEMBASSY ABUJA 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY NIAMEY 
AMEMBASSY OUAGADOUGOU 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 
C O N F I D E N T I A L  NDJAMENA 000044 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR AF/C, LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICAWATCHERS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/01/2015 
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, CD, Political Stability 
SUBJECT: POSTCARD FROM MOUNDOU: RULING PARTY INSIDER'S 
INSIGHTS 
 
 
Classified By: Political/Economic Officer Kathleen FitzGibbon for reaso 
ns 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
 1.  (C) SUMMARY.  During a visit to Moundou on December 13, 
a ruling party member treated Ambassador Wall to a tour 
d,horizon of key issues facing Chad.  Masagar Mbairidoum 
Lucas, the Secretary General of Moundou, described growing 
security problems, societal violence, and the culture of 
impunity gripping the country.  He cited the weakness of 
Chad,s opposition parties as a reason for public 
acquiescence to the ruling Movement for Patriotic Salvation 
(MPS).  Lucas, comments about President Deby,s quest for a 
third term are an indication of the level of dissatisfaction 
among some members of the ruling party.  END SUMMARY. 
 
- - - - - - - 
STRANGE TWIST 
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2.  (C) Ambassador Wall was scheduled to meet with Governor 
Mahamat Bechir Cherif.  Upon arrival, security at the 
Governor,s residence indicated that the Cherif was in his 
office.  Instead, the Ambassador, P/E officer, and commercial 
specialist were shown into the office of the Secretary 
General, Masagar Mbairidoum Lucas.  Lucas explained that the 
Governor was busy making arrangements for President Deby,s 
trip to the region the following week and could not see the 
Ambassador. 
 
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CULTURE OF IMPUNITY 
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3.  (C) Lucas provided a surprisingly frank assessment of the 
current state of affairs in Chad for a ruling party insider. 
Lucas stated that the justice system in Chad does not work. 
Judges are killed, threatened, and too afraid to do their 
jobs.  A culture of impunity reigns.  Lucas said that the 
justice system must be made to serve the people.  If a 
country has a strong judicial system, the actions of a head 
of state are not as important.  The fact that Chadians cannot 
afford to eat, travel safely, or get paid regularly indicates 
that there is a problem in Chad.  To make matters worse, 
Chadians are victims of those who extort money and carry out 
attacks along the roads.  According to Lucas, prior to ousted 
former President Hissein Habre's rule, Chadians were safe. 
Lucas stated that Deby,s critical mistake was not 
dismantling Habre,s security apparatus.  Habre,s people are 
still a key component of the security services. 
 
- - - - - - 
THIRD TERM 
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4.  (C)  Lucas did not hesitate to criticize plans for 
President Deby to stay on for a third term.  God gave Deby 
power but he is losing his good grace, Lucas stated.  Leaders 
need to leave power when the time comes.  One must do what is 
best for the country.  Deby should allow someone else to take 
over, Lucas argued.  He did not doubt that the upcoming 
referendum would result in amending the constitution to 
permit Deby to serve additional terms. 
 
- - - - - - - - - - 
OPPOSITION BANKRUPT 
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5.  (C)  There is no real opposition in Chad, Lucas lamented, 
and this allows the ruling party to remain in power. 
Opposition deputies make a lot of noise but what have they 
delivered to their constituencies, he asked.  The lack of a a 
viable opposition political platform allows the ruling party 
to take credit for programs that were started long before 
Deby came along.  For example, the original oil exploration 
was begun in the late 1980s, yet Deby uses the oil project as 
proof of his effectiveness. Lucas asked what has Deby done to 
improve the state of the roads in Chad.   (Note: Quite a lot, 
actually.  End Note.) 
 
6.  (C) Lucas left Lol Choua,s opposition RDP party in April 
because he felt that the opposition was not presenting a 
platform to the public.  He told President Deby when he 
agreed to join the ruling Movement for Patriotic Salvation 
that he would be frank and honest about how he saw things. 
He described himself as an &old man8 without higher 
political ambitions so he does not have to worry if Deby does 
 
 
not like what he says. 
 
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FARMER-HERDER VIOLENCE 
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7.  (C) Lucas explained that the level of societal violence 
in Chad is rising because of weak local administration and 
the growing intolerance between groups being promoted by the 
regime.  During the period of disorder after the civil war, 
Lucas said, there were often cases of squatters taking over 
fields held by others.  Herders are better armed now because 
weapons are easily available through Chad,s porous borders. 
They need the arms to protect themselves from the increasing 
number of bandits and cattle thieves. 
 
8.  (C)  Land chiefs previously settled disputes between 
farmers and herders.  However, prefets and gendarmes became 
involved in dispute resolution, and traditional methods of 
conflict resolution are now not respected.  Currently, 
justice goes to the party that pays the official the most. 
This has created a spiral of violence and intolerance between 
farmers and herders.  In addition, Lucas believes that the 
herders, search for water points and pasturage for their 
cattle, particularly by Peuhl herders from Niger and 
Cameroon, has increased the number of recent conflicts. 
There are many situations were the violence is 
herder-on-herder, not herder versus farmer.  Lucas pointed 
out that southerners also raise cattle and that there are 
associations in the region trying to regulate the growing 
problems and reduce the level of violence. 
 
- - - - 
COMMENT 
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9.  (C)  Lucas is a southerner, and his views reflect 
southern discontent with the Zaghawa-dominated government and 
upcoming referendum.  But we find it interesting that his 
boss sent him to talk with the Ambassador.  Governor Cherif, 
a northerner who is close to Deby, may have preferred to use 
his deputy to deliver a perspective he was not comfortable 
delivering himself.  Lucas, who claimed to have nothing to 
lose politically, obviously had no such reservations. 
WALL 
 
 
NNNN 

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