Edging Towards the election date on 6 May 2024: Citizen motor Parades in N’Djamena, Chad

2024 chad blog3 election eisa transparent democratic governance in africa

The countdown to the Chad elections has begun. The country heads inexorably towards May 6th, the date of the presidential election in Chad. The entire country is gearing up for the launch of electoral campaigns, a period where political aspirations clash, societal projects take shape, and every voter seeks to discern the most promising voice for the nation’s future. “The voter’s choice must be based on the qualities and political program of the candidate, bearing in mind the well-being of the population.”

From April 14th onward, a palpable excitement will permeate the streets of Chad as the ten candidates selected by the Constitutional Council will traverse the country, from provinces to cities, from neighborhoods to hamlets, unfolding their vision, motivated by the ardent desire to lead the Republic. In this democratic dance, every citizen is called upon to engage with presidential hopefuls, evaluate their promises, and weigh their commitments. The electoral campaign promises to be lively, as many candidates have already thrown themselves wholeheartedly into the political arena, openly defying the pre-campaign ban pronounced by the National Election Management Agency.

On the eve of the official campaign kick-off, an exciting initiative was launched. The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) organized two awareness-raising motor parades, a true demonstration of citizen engagement aimed at mobilizing the population around the electoral process for responsible citizen participation. The objective of the parades was to demonstrate the voting process, provide necessary information to prevent conflicts and violence related to elections, and explain citizens’ roles in contributing to peaceful, free, and transparent elections.

2024 chad blog1 election eisa transparent democratic governance in africa

Departing from EISA’s headquarters in the Moursal neighborhood, Kondol Avenue, two convoys set out. The itineraries were carefully planned: the first convoy followed the northern route, passing through the Central City Hall, Farcha, Goudji, before stopping at the N’Djari Neighborhood House; the second convoy took the southern route, passing through several districts before halting at the Walia Neighborhood House.

Each convoy was accompanied by the so called clandomen (mototaxi drivers) and voter educators, who distributed flyers and raised awareness among the population throughout the ride. Specific drop-off points were established to create mobile stands, where passersby could learn more about the upcoming election issues.

Led by charismatic artistic figures, Razolo, a humorist artist, and author of the EISA election spot, and Daison, a singer, and creator of the EISA election song, these parades were not just citizen education processions, but also a true festival of Chadian culture. The streets came alive with music and dance, while the clandomen, as true ambassadors of democracy in motion, raced and performed acrobatics alongside the trucks.

The objective of the parades was to demonstrate the voting process, provide necessary information to prevent conflicts and violence related to elections, and explain citizens' roles in contributing to peaceful, free, and transparent elections.

At each carefully chosen drop-off point, voter educators organized stands inviting citizens to join the discussion, express their concerns, and receive necessary information to make informed choices. With their flyers and eloquence, the animators sowed the seeds of civic responsibility, nurturing the hope of a peaceful election. The event skillfully merged the traditional motorized parades, a cultural manifestation, a mobile awareness stand, thus offering a complete citizen engagement experience.

2024 chad blog election eisa transparent democratic governance in africa
2024 chad blog2 election eisa transparent democratic governance in africa

Under the blazing sun and bright sky of N’Djamena, the two convoys traced their paths, leaving in their wake the hope and promise of a better future. Thanks to the entertainment on the mobile platforms, the distribution of some 3000 flyers, the exhibition of some hundred posters and the interactions with passersby at convoy drop-off points, an estimated large audience of around 10,000 people were reached and informed about the upcoming election issues. This initiative saw collaboration from the National Election Management Agency and the Central City Hall, which authorized the routes. From artists, electoral animators to clandomen, all contributed to making this initiative a resounding success.

By bringing a cultural and entertaining touch to this campaign to mobilize around the electoral process and the importance of voting responsibly, Razolo and Daison, guides of this democratic caravan, proudly flew the flag of citizen participation, reminding everyone of the power of the vote.

Dr Pierre Kadi Sossou is the Country Director for EISA’s Chad office.

This blog post was made possible by the financial support of the European Union under the Grant Agreement No. NDICI AFRICA/2022/435-927. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of EU.