Chad’s Idriss Deby And The Challenge of Segment-Level Leadership

Chad’s Idriss Deby And The Challenge of Segment-Level Leadership

On Monday, it was announced that he has won re-election to extend his 30-year rule in Chad. On Tuesday, he was killed at battleground, fighting insurgents in his nation. Chadian President Idriss Deby did not even make time to thank his supporters after his victory. Rather, he was in the frontline fighting for his nation. As I write, a coup has happened in Chad as the khaki boys have suspended the constitution, and taken over.

The Chadian military has successfully executed what could be described as a coup following the death of President Idriss Deby on Tuesday.

Mr Deby, 68, died on Tuesday from injuries sustained while leading the military in a battle against insurgents, the army said.

Rather than follow the constitutional provision that mandates the speaker of the parliament to hold office for 40 days in the case of the death of the president, the army said it was dissolving the Chadian parliament, suspending the constitution and naming Mr Idris’ son, Mahamat Kaka, interim president of the country.

The 37-year-old Mr Kaka, a major-general in the Chadian army, will now lead a military council for an 18 months transition period, army spokesperson, Azem Agouna, said.

As I have written here many times, leadership is tough. In our modern world, a President of a nation has no duty to be in a war frontline. Any day he was there fighting and throwing grenades and blasting gunpowder, he was making Chad less safer. 

Yes, a president has to lead at the Strategic level with his ministers serving him or her at the Tactical level. Every other entity or person in the government will work on the Operational Level even though out of the Tactical and Operational levels, sub-leaders can extract sub-strategic missions to execute the Grand Strategic Mission of the President. 

That Deby was fighting at the frontline is not something leaders should emulate. I do not expect bank CEOs to become tellers. I do not expect a state governor to be driving a state bus line. Sure, there could be symbolic commanderie acts but they cannot and must not be in perpetuity. 

To the good people of Chad, our condolences. And to the former leader, rest in peace!


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