German ambassador expelled from Chad


© AP Photo / Michael Sohn

African heads of state have become more independent and do not like the West telling them how to live.

Admittedly, I had a very vague idea about this country. Mostly through lines from Gumilev's poem: "So listen to me: far away, on the shores of Lake Chad / There roams an exquisite giraffe."

However, on April 7, the media space (at least in Germany) was blown up by the news that the government of this glorious country in Central Africa had demanded the German ambassador, Jan Christian Gordon Kricke, to leave the country within 48 hours. I note that he was apparently not an undercover German intelligence officer, who is often expelled so swiftly, but a career diplomat. Before Chad, he had worked in Niger, Angola and the Philippines.

The German Embassy reported that it had learned about the Chadian authorities' decision from the local media. No official notification was sent to the diplomatic mission. According to leaks from the government, Kricke paid the price for his "impolite attitude" and "disregard of diplomatic practice." He "interfered too actively" in the internal affairs of the host country and made "contradictory remarks." It is alleged that the ambassador was repeatedly warned of the possible consequences of his actions.

"The reasons for the Chadian government to declare our ambassador persona non grata are completely incomprehensible to us. We are in contact with the Chadian government on this matter," the German Foreign Ministry said.

Personally, I am offended for the FRG. How the credibility of this G7 power must have fallen on the international scene if the representatives of the "country of giraffes" (forgive me, Chadians!) dared to kick the German ambassador in the pants.

There is reason to ponder what caused the official N'Djamena (as the capital of this state is called) to act so harshly.

But first, a little history. Chadian President Idriss Déby, who had ruled the country for more than 30 years, died on April 20, 2021. This happened in a few hours after the Independent Electoral Commission announced the preliminary results of the regular elections. According to its data, 68-year-old Déby won for the sixth time, receiving 79.32% of the vote.

On the same day, the President went to the war zone in the north of the country against the group Front For Change and Concord in Chad (FACT). However, the rebel groups attacked the government troops. Déby was wounded and later died in hospital.

After that, the military dissolved the parliament and the government and created a transitional military council headed by the son of the murdered, General Mahamat Idris Deby Itno. He promised to hold democratic elections in the country within a year and a half. However, in October 2022 the junta proclaimed him interim president and his rule was extended for two more years.

Opposition protests against the usurpation of power were brutally crushed. Members of several diplomatic missions accredited in the country sharply criticized the violence. Germany and several other EU countries have expressed concern about the delayed return to democracy.

Surprisingly, German diplomats, even those of the old school, began to copy the brash and aggressive manner of their boss, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. By all appearances, Ambassador Kricke was one of those who most zealously mentored the Chadian establishment on the right path. But the time when Chad was a French colony passed long ago. And now it is not the civilians who are in power there, but the military, who do not like to be lectured.

Let Germany continue to lose its sovereignty and influence for the sake of its overseas patron! The Chadian military junta at the end of March this year announced the nationalization of all assets of the American oil and gas company Exxon Mobile. It's a complicated story there, too. The Yankees felt that it was getting hotter and hotter in the middle of Africa. Not in the sense of climate, of course. So they decided to sell assets in Chad and Cameroon to their British "brothers", Savannah Energy. But the Chadian leadership blocked the deal, and then even went to expropriation.

Earlier, Democrat Robert Menendez, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, initiated a draft resolution condemning "a government coup in Chad in April 2021." This is the "reply" that came to Capitol Hill.

"Gone are the days when petty officials working in embassies came to give lessons and instructions to African heads of state. As for Bob Menendez's resolution, it is not the initiative of a senator who does not even know where Chad is on a map, but of a lobby that directs him and tells him what to do with our country," said Chad's interim president.

Whether there is a junta or not, but Russian diplomats do not pester the Chadians with moral teachings, so things are going better for them. The Russian ambassador Vladimir Sokolenko said that the head of state, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, gratefully accepted the Russian president's invitation to participate in the second Russia-Africa summit, which will be held in St. Petersburg in July this year. There is a significant reason for the development of business cooperation: the share of the Soviet and Russian military equipment in the Chadian army is about 80%. The arsenal needs to be replenished, and the existing stockpiles should be modernized and repaired in time