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Chad’s transition in jeopardy as deadline looms

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With an electoral process dominated by the interim president and former ruling party, Chad’s transition is in jeopardy. With an electoral process dominated by the interim president and former ruling party, Chad’s transition is in jeopardy.

After an unconstitutional takeover in 2021, Chad’s transition to democracy is entering its final phase, with the adoption of the new constitution last December. In preparation for presidential elections before October 2024, a National Election Management Agency and Constitutional Council have been set up – but how free and fair will these polls be?

Having returned from exile, Succès Masra, leader of the strongest opposition party Les Transformateurs (The Transformers), was appointed prime minister on 1 January. His decision to join the government means the opposition’s ability to criticise the administration will be diminished.

The electoral process is dominated by the transitional president, Mahamat Déby, who was selected by the former ruling party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS), as its candidate for the presidential elections.

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The law on the election agency’s powers, organisation and functioning was adopted by the National Transitional Council on 26 January. It enshrines the agency’s independence and its members’ immutability during their seven-year mandate – two principles aimed at guaranteeing impartiality.

However, the way its members are appointed is problematic. Of the 15 members, eight are chosen by the transitional president, four by the Senate president, and three by the National Transitional Council president. In the absence of a Senate, it’s up to the council president, who is the former MPS secretary-general, to appoint these four members.

The election agency chairman, Ahmed Bartchiret, is a magistrate and former president of the Supreme Court, but also a member of the former ruling party and close to Déby. He chaired the National Dialogue’s ad hoc commission, which recommended delaying the transition for two years. Most other officers and members of the election agency are also from the former MPS.

The Constitutional Council, which will be responsible for adjudicating electoral disputes, is headed by Jean-Bernard Padaré, a former minister, deputy secretary-general and spokesperson for the MPS. Seven out of the council’s nine members are affiliated with the former ruling party or allied parties.

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Civil society and the opposition believe that with an electoral body controlled by the transitional president, who will likely contest the election, the dice are loaded against them from the start.

Neither of the opposition political party coalitions – the Consultation Group of Political Actors and the Republican Platform – recognise the National Transitional Council, Supreme Court, Constitutional Council, or election agency. Civil society and opposition parties – including Les Transformateurs, which now heads the government – are not represented in the election agency and Constitutional Council. To ensure total control over the upcoming polls, the MPS-transitional president team has taken the lion’s share of positions.

Government Minister and Secretary-General Ramatou Houtouin described the election agency as ‘a permanent institution, with no political nuances, whose members are formally prohibited from serving as leaders of political parties, thus reinforcing its neutrality.’

But in practice, the agency’s composition contradicts this vision and the country’s constitution. Article 238 says that ‘in carrying out its mission, the National Agency for the Management of Elections shall act with complete independence, impartiality, integrity, transparency and professionalism.’

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This is reminiscent of how the national commission responsible for organising the constitutional referendum in 2023 was set up. Despite the Transition Charter guaranteeing this institution’s neutrality, it too was dominated by stakeholders close to the transitional president. Even though they were not strongly contested, the referendum results left many perplexed by both the turnout and the outcome.

Meanwhile, political dialogue between the MPS, government and opposition parties appears to be at a standstill. The Kinshasa Convention, an agreement between the transitional government and Les Transformateurs, was presented as fostering reconciliation but has been criticised by other opposition parties and civil society. They say it’s only binding on the two signatories and is a political agreement that undermines a broader discussion and consensus in Chad.

The election agency and Constitutional Council play a vital role in organising and managing voting and arbitrating any disputes that may arise. Their ability to do so independently and impartially is crucial to their success and credibility – and Chad’s peace and stability.

The current election preparations are far from ideal. Dialogue is essential for Chad to move forward. Masra, an opposition member and current prime minister, could be the perfect link between the presidency and the rest of the political class. And although the appointment of a mediator provides leverage for discussion, time is running out.

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Chad’s partners who have supported the transition from the start should offer their services to bring stakeholders together, ease tensions and obtain a minimum consensus around the forthcoming elections. These include the Economic Community of Central African States, the African Union, the United Nations through the fund to support Chad’s political transition, France and the European Union. The ECCAS facilitator remains central to coordinating actions and achieving better results.

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He Was Never Fit To Run, Serve – Trump Mocks Biden

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Former US President, Donald Trump has reacted to the news that President Joe Biden has stepped down from his re-election campaign.

Trump said all those around Biden, including his Doctor and the Media, knew that he wasn’t capable of being President.

In a statement on his Truth Social handle, Trump said that Biden was not fit to run for President, and also certainly not fit to serve.

The former president also claimed that Biden attained the position of President by lies and fake news.

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He said: “Crooked Joe Biden was not fit to run for President, and is certainly not fit to serve – And never was! He only attained the position of President by lies, Fake News, and not leaving his Basement.

“All those around him, including his Doctor and the Media, knew that he wasn’t capable of being President, and he wasn’t – And now, look what he’s done to our Country, with millions of people coming across our Border, totally unchecked and unvetted, many from prisons, mental institutions, and record numbers of terrorists.

“We will suffer greatly because of his presidency, but we will remedy the damage he has done very quickly. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

NNH reported that Biden announced his withdrawal from the 2024 presidential election on Sunday.

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He said it was in the interest of his party and Americans.

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LONGEVITY: Twin sisters mark 100th birthday together (Photos)

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Loris Pryor and Doris Ward, an American pair of twin sisters, who are from Michigan, have celebrated their 100th birthday together in very good health.

The sisters, Loris Pryor and Doris Ward were born during in 1924.

On Wednesday, July 17, they marked a century of life together.

“We are always together with everything. She ain’t go without me. I ain’t go without her. Always together,” Pryor said.

The twins celebrated over the weekend with a birthday party that brought out all their family and friends.

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In total, they have nine children and have witnessed several generations of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“All I can say is that it’s a blessing to be here at 100 years old,” Ward said. “The good Lord blessed us to still see our family.”

Even after a full century, the twins still do everything together, including trips to the casino. But they say their favorite memories are of dancing.

“We did a lot of dancing,” Ward said.

“To live this long, I never thought it would happen or not happen. I never thought about it,” Pryor said.

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The sisters say that living as long as they have is a gift.

“Life is very precious, or I wouldn’t be here. It’s just precious to live this long,” Pryor said.

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Couple Found Dead After Trying To Sail Across Atlantic Ocean

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The couple had embarked on a transatlantic sailing trip and were last seen on June 18, when they departed Nova Scotia in their 13-meter eco-friendly yacht, Theros.

The remains of Sarah Packwood, a British national, and her Canadian husband, Brett Clibbery, have been recovered on a life raft that washed ashore on Sable Island, near Nova Scotia, Canada, on July 12.

The couple had embarked on a transatlantic sailing trip and were last seen on June 18, when they departed Nova Scotia in their 13-meter eco-friendly yacht, Theros.

After being reported missing, an extensive search effort was launched. Unfortunately, it is believed that the couple abandoned their vessel and tragically lost their lives before being discovered on the life raft almost six weeks later, BBC reports.

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They were on the way to the Azores – about 3,228 km away – with the trip planned to take 21 days.

In a post on Facebook, Mr Clibbery’s son James confirmed the pair had died.

He said, “The past few days have been very hard. My father James Brett Clibbery, and his wife, Sarah Justine Packwood have regrettably passed away.

“There is still an investigation, as well as a DNA test to confirm, but with all the news, it is hard to remain hopeful.

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“So far this has made it to several news outlets around the country, and I have only just spoken to the coroner today. I am so very sorry to the people who were friends of them. They were amazing people, and there isn’t anything that will fill the hole that has been left by their, so far unexplained passing.

“Living will not be the same without your wisdom, and your wife was quickly becoming a beacon of knowledge, and kindness. I miss your smiles. I miss your voices. You will be forever missed.”

An investigation is still under way, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told the BBC on Sunday.

According to Saltwire, a Canadian news outlet, investigators are considering the possibility that the yacht may have been involved in a collision with a cargo ship that went unnoticed by the larger vessel.

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This is one of several theories being explored as part of the ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding the couple’s disappearance and the subsequent discovery of their remains on a life raft.

On their YouTube channel, Theros Adventures, Sarah Packwood and Brett Clibbery shared details about their sailing trip, known as the Green Odyssey.

In a video, they explained their plan to utilize a combination of sustainable power sources, including sails, solar panels, batteries, and a repurposed electric car engine, to propel their 13-meter yacht, Theros, across the Atlantic Ocean.

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