CAPE TOWN – Chad’s new military council has on Monday named Albert Pahimi Padacke as prime minister of a transitional government, according to international news broadcaster Al Jazeera.
Opposition politicians have slammed the move of Padacke’s nomination, saying the army had no right to install a head of government, according to news agency AFP.
“It is not up to the transitional military council to designate a prime minister in this isolated manner,” Yacine Abderamane, president of the opposition Reformist Party, said.
“We want there to be talks between political parties, civil society and other actors in order to reach a consensus,” he said.
Padacke, who was runner-up in the country’s presidential election, served as prime minister from 2016 to 2018, and was considered one of Deby’s allies. He came second with 10.3 percent of the vote held on April 11.
This comes a week after President Idriss Déby was killed on the battlefield last week. The 68-year-old Déby, who had been in power for three decades, died of injuries sustained on the front line while fighting rebels in the north of the Sahel, according to army spokesperson General Azem Bermandoa Agouna.
His death was announced a day after he was declared the winner of the country’s presidential election with 79.3 percent, according to results released on Monday last week. He came to power in a rebellion in 1990 and was looking to extend his three-decade rule despite mounting calls for political change.
A military council seized power after Déby was killed, a move that the opposition politicians have called “coup”.
Following the announcement of Déby’s death on Tuesday, a charter was released by the presidency on Wednesday stating that his son General Mahamat Idriss Déby will take over as president of the country in place of his father.
The 37-year-old was swiftly named transitional leader of a military council and will occupy the functions of the president of the republic while also serving as head of the armed forces.
The transition and the wrangling around it are being closely watched in a country that is a key power in Central Africa and a longtime Western ally against armed groups across the Sahel, Al Jazeera reported.
The military council has said it will oversee an 18-month transition to elections.
But it is coming under international pressure to hand over power to civilians as soon as possible. The African Union has expressed “grave concern” about the military takeover, while France and regional powers are pushing for a civilian-military solution.
The AU’s Peace and Security Council said power should be restored to civilian authorities “expeditiously”.
The military council has also refused negotiations with Libya-based Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) rebels who are accused of killing President Déby.
“The time is not for mediation, nor for negotiation with outlaws,” Azem Bermandoa Agouna, spokesperson of the military council said on Sunday after the rebels said they were prepared to observe a ceasefire, according to Al Jazeera.
“They are rebels, which is why we are bombing them. We are waging war, that’s all,” Agouna said.
The military council claimed that Mahamat Mahadi Ali, the leader of the rebels had fled into Niger and appealed to help from its neighbour to track him down.
The military council also vowed to root out FACT leader, accusing him of “war crimes” and seeking help from neighbouring Niger to track him down along with his fighters.
President Déby was buried on Friday.