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Kaka confirms presidential run three days after opposition leader is shot

Election timetable in question after rival contender shot by government forces

Interim president Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno 'Kaka' confirmed his plans to stand in presidential elections which are scheduled for 6 May – some five months ahead of schedule.

Kaka, whose junta has governed since his father was killed in 2021, hopes that the elections will legitimise his takeover. His candidacy was endorsed by representatives of the political groups that make up his Coalition pour un Tchad Uni which claims to include over 200 parties.

'I did not see myself as a candidate because my main concern was to bring this transition to a successful conclusion in peace and stability in a united and reconciled Chad,' Kaka said on 2 March.

His announcement came just three days after his main rival and cousin, Yaya Dillo Djérou, was shot and killed in N'Djamena in what his allies call a targeted assassination. But Communications Minister Abderaman Koulamallah said there had been a shoot-out and that Dillo had 'retreated to his office' in the capital after firing at some soldiers. Since then the authorities have bulldozed the head quarters of Dillo's party Parti Socialiste sans Frontières.

After Dillo's death, Kaka is unlikely to face much of a challenge. The appointment of Succès Masra, leader of Les Transformateurs, as Prime Minister on 1 January was seen as a move to co-opt him into Kaka's camp.

Masra's Les Transformateurs  is one of seven parties to have been authorised to contest the 2024 elections (AC Vol 65 No 2, Mahamat Kaka co-opts Succès in pre-election campaign). The main threat to Kaka's grip on power comes from the military and divisions within the Zaghawa ruling elite, which includes Kaka's family, over which side to back in the civil war in neighbouring Sudan (AC Vol 64 No 25, Preparing for an all-out fight in El Fasher).

The atmosphere, particularly in N'Djamena, remains tense, though the internet is back online after being cut for 48 hours.

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