Christians in Chad are worried about the confessional oath imposed by the country’s new constitution, that obliges new members of the government and high-ranking government officials to swear “in the name of Allah the Almighty”.
The 4th Republic was established on May 4, 2018 and stipulates in article 105 that before entering into office, new members of the government and high-ranking State officials will henceforth have to take an oath written by the Muslim ulamas of the “Superior Council of Muslim Affairs”. They are obliged to swear to be “loyal in their work to the name of Allah the Almighty”.
These new institutional dispositions have Christians worried. According to the correspondent for cath.ch in Africa, they “are living in worry and frustration” and denounce the oath that “goes against the secular nature of the State of Chad” – above all, it goes against the First Commandment and the true Faith, that is to say, the God who revealed Himself through His only Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, it excludes all those who refuse to swear “in the name of Allah the Almighty”. Some members of the government and high-ranking officials have already been forced to resign or not enter into office even though they had just been nominated. This refusal to take a Mahometan oath is to their credit.
Taking advantage of the celebration of “Independence Day” on August 11, 2018, President Idriss Déby, who has been in office for 28 years, claimed he does not exclude anyone from the public life: “I did not invent a thing, it is the will of the people,” he declared clumsily in a press conference; He mentioned the fight against corruption – “the two social plagues that corrupt the public function” – to justify these new confessional dispositions.
Christians, Protestants and Catholics combined, represent nearly one third of the population. There is also a small Orthodox community. Muslim Chadians scarcely make up more than half of the population (55%). The large majority of them belong to a Sufi brotherhood, which is considered to be an “esoteric and mystical” tendency of Sunnite Islam. Estimates say the fundamentalists represent between 5 and 10%.