YAOUNDE, CAMEROON — Chad’s female leaders and activists have strongly condemned what they say is their negligible representation in President Mahamat Idriss Deby’s first civilian government after a three-year transition from military rule. The women voiced their concerns during a meeting in Chad’s capital, N’djamena, on Monday.

Several dozen female activists and opposition members say they are upset with what they call Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Deby’s decision to exclude them from political issues in his first civilian government.

The women who met in N’djamena on Monday, said Deby should have rejected the government appointed by new Prime Minister Allamaye Halina last week.

Halina was appointed by Deby to replace Succes Masra, who resigned after his defeat in Chad’s May 6 presidential election. Masra was in office for four months.

Amina Tidjani Yaya is the coordinator of Voix De La Femme, or Women’s Voice, a nongovernmental organization that advocates for the respect of women’s rights and political participation.

She says female leaders and activists do not understand why Chad’s new prime minister, Allamaye Halina, decided to reduce the number of female ministers from 12 during Chad’s three-year transitional period to eight in the first civilian government he appointed May 27. Yaya says Chadian officials have not respected the resolution of the central African nations’ 2022 Inclusive and Sovereign National Dialogue, which states that more women should be appointed to government positions.

Chad’s new government has 35 ministers. Twenty-three served in the previous administration before Deby was declared the winner of Chad’s May 6 presidential election, ending three years of military transition, returning to constitutional order.

During his inauguration, Deby promised to involve opposition parties, youths and women in executing his immediate task, which he said is to reconcile differences among all Chadians and make the central African state a better place in which to live.

The female leaders and activists say increasing women’s political participation would have been synonymous with improving respect for human rights, justice, the rule of law, governance and democracy. They say women constitute the majority of Chad’s population and can have more influence than men in peacekeeping processes.

Female leaders say there have been tensions and conflicts involving armed groups who accused the new president of using the military to prolong his family’s rule. Deby’s family has had a firm grip on power since his father, Idriss Deby Ino, took over in a 1990 coup and died in April 2021 before the younger Deby took power.

The women say Deby should have involved more women in the current government because Chad is a signatory to the Maputo Protocol, a commitment by African nations through the African Union to ensure gender equality in political decision making.

Chad’s government has not responded to the women’s request for more representation in politics. But the central African state’s prime minister, after officially taking office on May 24, pleaded with all Chadians to resolve their differences and collaborate with the new government which he maintained will work for the well-being of all citizens.

Senoussi Hassana Abdoulaye, a jurist and lecturer at Chad’s university of Ndjamena, told state TV on Monday that Deby and his new civilian government cannot be officially held responsible for reducing the number of female ministers because no law in Chad imposes gender equity in political appointments.

He says all women in Chad should register and massively take part as candidates and voters in local council and parliamentary elections that President Mahamat Idriss Deby says will take place before December of this year. He says if women succeed in having a majority of seats in parliament, they can enact laws that compel government officials to respect political equality between men and women.

In February, female leaders and activists from Burkina Faso, Chad, Gabon, Guinea, Mali and Niger met in N’djamena and said they want to be involved in the highest decision-making circles of the African military governments involved with political transitions.

The meeting, which took place under the theme African Women in Transitional Governments, reiterated that women constitute a majority of civilians in the six states, bear the brunt of violence from military takeovers and are highly underrepresented in decision-making circles.

The women promised to make their participation in transitional governance a subject of discussion during important events like their countries’ national days and international events organized by the United Nations and African Union.

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