“Considering the importance of this dialogue in relation to other forums, the Catholic Church wanted to participate in it, not only through the Catholic lay faithful, members of the various corporations who delegated them, but through an official delegation composed of three lay people, a priest and three bishops according to the quota granted by the DNI organizing committee,” say the members of the CET.
They add: “We realized from the start that the Inclusive Sovereign National Dialogue, both in its form and in its management, had started off badly and many participants were frustrated”.
The members of the CET regret that there was “a certain desire for one group to take control of the process, when it was supposed to be an exercise in listening to each other in mutual respect”.
“Aware of our status as pastors which invites us to keep an equal distance between the parties, we have expressed our reservations by suspending our participation in the sessions,” the Catholic bishops of Chad further specify, referring to their September 3 announcement.
Amid the challenges highlighted and the decision to suspend their participation in DNI sessions, TEC members say they have used the “time to continue our mediation work with other religious leaders and elders to restore inclusiveness of dialogue”.
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They express their awareness that “this suspension of our participation in the DNI has been interpreted differently”.
In an effort to clarify their situation in relation to their suspended participation in the DNI sessions, the Catholic Bishops of Chad say, “We would like to reassure everyone that this is only the official delegation of the Catholic Church. We are not minimizing the importance of the issues discussed, but the rules were unclear.
DNI, which was originally scheduled for February but has been repeatedly postponedwas detained less than two weeks after the Chadian junta and 40 rebel groups sign an agreement in Doha.
In April 2021, President Idriss Déby Itno who had led the country since 1990 died after succumbing to his injuries during a battle with the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), a dissident army rebel group in the north of the country .
After his death, a transition council of military officers led by Deby’s son, Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, as interim president, began to oversee Chad’s transition period for the next 18 months.
The council issued a charter that defines the role of members who should be appointed to the national transitional council, a charter that was rejected by opposition parties in the country.
Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist passionate about the communication of the Catholic Church. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude is a journalist for ACI Africa.