State Building and Democratization in Africa: Faith, Hope, and Realities

By Kidane Mengisteab; Cyril Daddieh | Go to book overview

would support Deby only if moved to free democratic elections, while the Ministry of Cooperation under Mitterrand's presidency leaned toward Deby and would have liked to provide further financial assistance to see that the voter registration effort would be carried out by the National Electoral Commission (CENI) without flaws. 67

In early 1996, among the potential presidential candidates, Deby was generally thought to have had the support of France, Gabon, Congo, and Sudan. Maurice Adoum el Bongo, who headed the National Conference, notwithstanding his age (he is 68 years old), was apparently the most popular (independent) candidate and reportedly had the support of Jacques Chirac and the Central African Republic's (CAR) president, Ange-Felix Patasse. 68 However, just before 2 June 1996, he (as well as Fidele Moungar) was disqualified from running due to alleged residence irregularities. Kassire Koumakoye, from Tandjile, was extremely popular in Mayo-Kebbi, the most populous prefecture, and had Kadhafi's support. The Kanembou people supported Lol Mahamat Chowa, although his friend, Abdoulaye Lamana, not very popular in his own prefecture -- ChariBaguirmi -- was expected to run for the presidency. While Jean Alingue, a wellknown politician who led the URD, was expected to be a formidable candidate, Colonel Abdelkerim Kamougue was quite popular in Moyen-Chari and the two Logones, and his chances to be a serious contender were expected to be good. Then there were familiar names whose supporters, some in France and some elsewhere, were attempting to put them on the ballot: Hisseine Habre and Gukuni Wedei. These two, however, did not run.

Eventually, fifteen candidates ran against Deby, allowing the president to garner 43.8 percent of the popular vote (with a 77 percent turnout) against the 12.39 percent that went to Kamougue, the strongest of the challengers. This forced a second round or runoff election, which pitted Deby against Kamougue on 10 July 1996. As expected, it resulted in a landslide victory for the president, who captured 69.09 percent of the vote. As expected, both times the opposition refused to accept the results, but the CENI declared the elections fair. 69 With the attendance of only seven African presidents, Deby took office on 8 August 1996. Just as in many other parts of Africa, therefore, the political fragmentation of the opposition resulted in the incumbent's victory. Legislative elections were planned for sometime before the end of the year.


NOTES
1
Ghia Nodia, "Nationalism and Democracy," Journal of Democracy 3, no. 4 ( 1992):7.
2
Francis Fukuyama, "Comments on Nationalism and Democracy," in Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner, eds., Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict and Democracy ( Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), 23-28.
3
Marie Eliou, La formation de la conscience nationale en République Populaire du Congo ( Paris: Edition Anthropos, 1977), 19-20.

-180-

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