Chad's Deby Pledges to Fight Graft at Launch of `New Republic'

(Bloomberg) -- Chad President Idriss Deby said he’ll rebuild the cash-strapped central African nation by focusing on fighting corruption and making his administration more efficient, following the approval of a new constitution that’s strengthened his 28-year rule.

State workers must be permanently monitored and a judicial unit to tackle economic and financial crimes will be established in order to stop “this machine of illicit and immoral enrichment” that has made numerous people very wealthy, Deby said in speech late Friday as he launched Chad’s so-called Fourth Republic. The current 37-hour working week is a “luxury” that the country can’t afford, he added.

Chad’s new constitution was approved on April 30 by a parliamentary majority even as opposition supporters shunned the vote. The law reinstates a limit of two presidential terms, but enables Deby to run again because it won’t be applied retroactively, and scrapped the position of prime minister. The government handed in its resignation last week.

The opposition boycotted a two-week national forum last month with hundreds of politicians, business leaders and religious chiefs to discuss the amendments. The changes have been criticized by opposition supporters and civil-society groups, which helped organize a seven-week general strike earlier this year to protest austerity measures.

The new constitution “ruptures the balance of power and plunges the country into an autocratic regime,’’ said Max Loalngar, who heads the Parti Un Nouveau Jour opposition party. “We shouldn’t leave the country in the hands of one man.’’

Deby, a former army commander who won a fifth term in 2016, also urged international donors to contribute to the preparations for November legislative elections. The International Monetary Fund approved a $312 million extended credit facility for Chad in June as the country is struggling to pay back more than $1 billion in loans from Glencore Plc that it contracted at the height of the oil boom between 2013 and 2014.

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