Recent weeks have seen significant backlash and protest against the Chadian government’s austerity policies.
One way to understand the backlash would be to go sector by sector: we are seeing strikes and protests by students, clerks, civil servants, magistrates, health care workers, and others. The basic grievance is unpaid salaries and/or loss of bonuses and stipends. The sum of such discontent may be greater than its parts: if enough sectors go on strike, the consequences for the machinery of government, the economy, and daily life could be severe. A sign of severe trouble may be the delays in salary payments to soldiers and even to members of the presidential guard.
Another way to understand the backlash would be to focus on its politics. The government of Chad would like Chadians to understand the austerity measures as a result of external shocks, especially the global drop in oil prices. The opposition (or at least part of it) would like the population to understand the economic crisis as a result of the government’s policies, and especially in terms of the government’s management of oil revenues and its military spending, including military expeditions outside Chad. Amid the struggle to determine perceptions of the crisis and to allocate blame, one key arena is the National Assembly, where roughly twenty opposition deputies have backed a motion to censure Prime Minister Pahimi Padacké Albert over the government’s handling of the economic situation. From what I can tell now, the motion has been held up, and the opposition has involved the Constitutional Council to try to force the transmission of the motion to the government itself. I doubt that the motion will pass, but it is a symbol of some of the discontent in the country.