Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 30 April 2021

Give credit they deserve

Ngor Arol Garang

While the visit of the government delegation to Chad had triggered debates and depictions in social media reflective of a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations, I saw a takeaway message. The two images sold the visit. One being of the guy who wept and another of amputee liberator who struggled to sit and whose images invaded the social media, drawing diplomatic and public attention. There should be no shame for what they did. The guy who wept knew what he did, cried relentlessly until someone turned to him, so was the liberator. They are not children. It was a division of roles to achieve what they went for. It was not a mission in which fault would not be seen but which must be successfully accomplished to the admiration of the general hiring officer, the president. Make no mistake to underestimate them. They are adult politicians with education to scheme and work through their dreams.

What they did cause the current leadership in Chad to feel Deby was a great personality in regional politics and his son was the right pick. The delegation, huge as it was, had caused Chadian authority to think about what they would do next when they come across a case involving a fate of the current leadership in the regional clubs and associations to which they subscribed. It was a strategic visit, second to that which the French president undertook, although Chad has always been the handbag of France.

Several heads of state and governments in Chad, starting with the first president after gaining independence in 1960, Francois Tombalbaye, the two days president Noel Milarew Odingar in whose hand the president left this planet in 1975, to Felix Mallloum, later Goukouni Oueddei, followed by Lol Mahamat Choua, then Goukouni Ouedei two, followed by Hissene Hibre, Idris Deby and now his son, have always ascended to power either with the full backing of France or full knowledge, even if the group succeeded with either the support of Nigeria, Libya or Sudan. Chad never knew anybody with formidable leadership or personality worth reaching for support in the south. Khartoum was either their source of fear or support. So, if someone or people they know had ties with Khartoum had come to visit them, they would give a listening ear, hoping their message would be delivered to those in Khartoum in return. Rather than sending liberators with western education and connections without personal affections and some sorts of religious and mercenary stories to crack and share as some on the delegation depicts, the guy who grew up in the house of masterminds and backers who helped put the president being succeeded by a son in power was a right pick. Deby was in Khartoum until 1990 when he took power in Ndjamena and Tut Kew was in the house of Deby’s backers. They must have met to know each other, albeit at arm’s length at the time but which can possibly be a source of starting intimate diplomatic relations and connection, if properly utilized since there is already a knowledge of each other.

Far from death and mourning visit, the African Union being one of the clubs to which Chad had subscribed and is managed by one of their own, Musa Faki, a member of the ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement and a northerner besides coming from Zaghawa, a tribe of the former president and his successor, could possibly be another target. Nothing comes to mind other than this. The agreement contained a provision of the hybrid court. AU would select judges and the government in Juba would do the same. It will be a court of split ideas and judgments. The backgrounds of judges AU would select would require serious work from both the government and the commission. A judge who would trouble the commission would not get hired to bring food to the table of his children and showcase talent and education than the one who would listen to rhetoric selling African solution to an African problem. The latter would apparently find a place on the bench with folks the government would nominate to the court. The former will have to wait. This, though not empirically conclusive, points at a grand strategy behind which a huge and public resources draining delegation predominantly Kiir must stay folks, was assembled. If Kiir goes by the recommendation of the court, they are gone. And who would such mistake in politics? Obviously, not a politician and one who does that has no business in being in African politics. So, give the credit they deserve, then holding on damn if you do, and damn if you do not.

The author is a South Sudanese journalist reachable at ngorgarang8@gmail.com