Chad: Catholic Bishops withdraw from national dialogue.

Two weeks after suspending their participation in the national and sovereign dialogue, the Chadian Bishops announced this week their definitive withdrawal.

Christian Kombe, SJ and Françoise Niamien – Vatican City

The Episcopal Conference of Chad has withdrawn from the transitional authorities’ sovereign national dialogue. In an interview with Vatican News, Bishop Martin Waingue Bani of the Diocese of Doba explained the reasons for the Chadian episcopate’s decision.

The Bishops believe that inclusiveness and mutual listening conditions were not present in the national dialogue. Faced with persistent dysfunctions, the Chadian Bishops’ Conference said it could not “continue to make up the numbers,” affirmed Bishop Bani, a member of the official delegation of the Chadian Bishops Conference to the national dialogue.

A process compromised from the start

The objective of the inclusive national dialogue, convened on 20 August, was to re-establish the constitutional order that was broken after the death of the former head of state, and to reconcile the sons and daughters of Chad, the Bishop of Doba recalled. For the Bishop, the national dialogue was compromised from the start, notably by the lack of inclusiveness, adopted rules, and the praesidium members designated. “All this was adopted in a very confused, undemocratic way,” he explained. Moreover, the interventions during discussions were highly restricted and selective. Despite the objections and frustrations of some, the process fell victim to the control of one group, the prelate denounced.

The Church, always ready to help

Bishop Bani explained that the Bishops unsuccessfully tried to have obstacles restricting dialogue removed already from the very beginning.

Having noted the absence of a “framework for mutual listening,” the Bishops met with various religious and elders who are actors in the mediation group and put together proposals that would have guaranteed the participation of all and the achievement of consensus. Unfortunately, the process continued without taking these recommendations into account,” said Bishop of Doba.

However, Bishop Bani clarified that withdrawing the official delegation of Catholic Bishops from the national dialogue was not a call for other Christians to do likewise. In fact, the Chadian Episcopate assured that it would continue praying for participants involved in the conference to work to achieve the forum’s objectives.