The Chad News Archive

Chad's Deby Vows War on Corruption

AFP (8/8/11)

Idriss Deby Itno vowed to battle corruption as he was sworn in as president of Chad for a new five-year term on Monday, extending a rule which already stretches back more than two decades.

"There will be no pardon for people who misappropriate public funds," Deby said at a ceremony in the capital N'Djamena attended by 11 African heads of state.

"We will fight against those who corrupt and those who are corrupted. Anyone looking for an easy way to make money can stop."

Deby won nearly 84 percent of the vote in the April 25 elections, which were boycotted by the opposition. He has ruled Chad since 1990 although the opposition criticises his hold on power.

Among the leaders at the inauguration was Sudan's leader Omar al-Bashir, for whom the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant in 2009 on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The allegations arise from the conflict that broke out in Sudan's western region of Darfur in 2003 between non-Arab rebels and the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime and caused 300,000 deaths, according to UN estimates.

Chad and Sudan were at war for five years before the two nations embarked on a normalisation of relations in January 2010. Border controls are now in place and rebel leaders have been expelled from both countries.

Also at Deby's ceremony was Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, who was himself sworn into power in May following a nearly five-month battle to dislodge strongman Laurent Gbagbo, who would not accept election defeat.

Deby is embarking on a fourth term after winning elections in 1996, 2001 and 2006. The opposition boycotted the April vote alleging that conditions in earlier parliamentary polls were unfairly in his party's favour.

Deby's rule has been branded a "military-clan regime" by the France-based National Council for Change and Democracy, a coalition of Chadian opposition parties and rebel movements including that of insurgent leader General Mahamat Nouri.

"All the workers in the towns and cities see their working and living conditions degrading every day, despite demagogic announcements by those in power," said coordinator Annette Laokole.

Deby also promised at Monday's ceremony to develop agriculture in Chad, still one of the world's poorest countries despite growing oil exports and an abundance of uranium and gold.

"I will dedicate my first three years of this term to rural areas, because self-sufficiency in agriculture comes from rural development and we must become self-sufficient (concerning) food," he said.

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