Discovering oil should be a blessing when you are at the bottom of the human development indicators. Not for Chad. Since its independence, the landlocked country has juggled with political instability and regional conflicts. Under this context, President Idriss Deby and his family have needed money to ensure the subservience of a network of enablers and security providers, his family being at the forefront. As oil barrel prices are reaching historic lows, the president’s clan does not intend to lose out in the process.
Oil production started in 2003. Since then, it has become 73% of the state revenues, and 90% of exports, so about US$ 12 billion in total for 17 years. This new flow of money should have alleviated Chadians poverty. It did not.
In what is now oil-producing areas, mango farmers have been deprived of a regular income. For them, oil means less money. Meanwhile, according to a 1999 law.
80% of oil revenues were supposed to be allocated to infrastructure and services, as well as a future generation trust.
But these provisions were made before the latest dramatic drop in oil price, instead, the government must now use all the oil revenues to pay back its debts. Now, just crumbs are devoted to developing the nation.
All the promises made when the black gold was discovered are now obliterated. And citizens have not seen a positive impact on their daily life. But where all the money went?
Idriss Deby Itno is a strong man in an unstable region: In the north, Libya is at war; Darfur is still facing a conflict while Sudan faces a difficult transition in the East, and the Boko Haram insurgency is creating turmoil in the south-west. In each case, N’Djamena plays a crucial role. But Chadian’s influence goes beyond its immediate neighbourhood: its army has been critical to the French-led Operation Serval who allowed to recapture Northern Mali from the hands of Islamist insurgents and was a key partner of the following-up Barkhane operation, the UN Mission in Mali and the G-5 Sahel initiative to implement a pan-Sahel stabilization force.
President Deby is a good world citizen and has become a factor of stability in a volatile region. Although his position remains weak in his own country, where his legacy is more contested. On February 7th, 2019, Deby thanked France for blocking the way to a column of insurgents on their way to the capital. It was not the first time that the former colonial power, who still has a military base in Chad, would mingle in Chadian affairs. In 2005, a coup was narrowly avoided with the help of France. In 2008, rebels were, once again, stopped from moving to the capital by French forces.
In the name of preserving weak stability, a strong regime settled in N’Djamena. Since Deby entered the capital in 1980, by the side of dictator Hissene Habré, he always kept a close eye on power.
In 1990, Deby became the president of a sick country with the support of French secret services, after a decade of a bloody dictatorship that killed more than 40,000 Chadians.
The international community, notably France and the United States, during the Cold War, gave a blank check to Habré’s regime, as he was perceived as a way to contain the influence of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. When the Habré’s regime was not sustainable anymore, Deby became the new face of stability, imposing his clan and tight control over the security forces.
Idriss Deby was re-elected in 2016, but the six opposition candidates rejected the results. Since he came into power in the 1990s, the president has locked down the regime, appointing relatives and friends at all levels of government, including his wife. But to remain in power, the regime needs money to feed its network. The Deby Clan has funnelled US$ 10.76 billion of public funds into fiscal paradises, according to the Panama Papers.
The list of profiteers is long (see visuals) and infightings are frequent. When one of the president’s sons died under unclear circumstances in Paris, despite a travel ban, a confrontation erupted during his funerals, a symptom of the ongoing family quarrels.
While the family has a firm grip over state revenues, few public funds are left for services for Chadians. Four relatives of President Deby have the biggest share among them: Hinda Deby Itno, Mahamat Zene Hisssein Bourma, Ibrahim Hissein Bourma and Salay Deby.
|LAST AND FIRST NAME||JOB|
|ZAKARIA Idriss Deby||Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates|
|General Mahamat Idriss Deby||General Director for the Security Service of the State Institutions (GDSSSI)|
|SEID Idriss Deby||Deputy Director of Rafineerie Chad|
|Hissein Idriss Deby||General Director of Rahad Chad|
|General Nassouri Idriss Deby||President’s Private Chief of Staff|
|Colonel Kerim Idriss Deby||Military Coordinator at the Department of Foreign Affairs.|
|General Ahmat Youssouf Mahamat Itno||Chief of the General Staff of the Armies, 1st Deputy (CGSA)|
|Sougour Youssouf Mahamat Itno||Ambassador to South Africa|
|General Oumar Deby Itno||General Director of the Strategic Reserve|
|General Ousman Bahar Mahamat Itno||Commander of the Joint Forces Chad, Central Africa, and Sudan.|
|General Hassan Sendel Mahamat Itno||Special Advisor to the General Direction of the Security Service Institutions (GDSSI)|
|Hamid Hissein Mahamat Itno||General Coordinator of Water and Forests|
|Idriss Ibrahim Mahamat Itno||Director General of Budget of the finance minister|
|Koubra Hissein Mahamat Itno||Managing Director of Chadian Water management|
|Haoua Hissein Mahamat Itno||Director of the Telecommunications minister|
|Nassour Bahar Mahamat Itno||First Counsellor, Embassy to Canada|
|Mariam Hissein Mahamat Itno||Director of Administrative and Financial Affairs of Radio Chad.|
|Hamaday Haïga Deby||SNE Administrative and Financial Director|
|Colonel Ousman Kadidja Deby Itno||National Coordinator of the Support Forces, Ministry of Finance.|
|Mahamat Haïga Deby||Administrative and Financial Director of Chad Oil and Gas Corporation|
|Colonel Daoud Sendel||Deputy Military Zone Commander at Amtiman|
|Colonel Seby Sendel Mahamat Itno||Regiment Commander AESB|
|Colonel Sougour Kerim Deby||Deputy Director of General Intelligence|
|Ali Timan Deby Itno||Managing Director of Habitat Bank|
|Mahamat Timan Deby Itno||General Manager of the Cement Plant|
|General Sidick Timan Deby Itno||Director of Military Engineering|
|Abbas Cheno Déby Itno||Governor of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC).|
|Souleymane Ermia Mahamat Itno||General Paying Treasurer of Chad|
|General Amir Youssouf Mahamat Itno||Commander of the Chad-Sudanese Joint Forces|
|Hissein cheno Deby Itno||Director of Wiretaps at NSA|