Election Special

NEWSLETTER from Margaret & Celestin

Margaret & Celestin May 2024

Flag of Chad
Flag of Chad

Dear Friends & Family,

It’s only a few days since we last wrote . . . but we want to update you about the elections in Chad and ask for your prayers and support. Due to the potential for breakdown in security during these presidential elections it seemed best for Margaret to leave the country. We had a short but precious time together – Praise God! It was straightforward and not too expensive to change flights and return to the UK. Margaret is currently staying at Mum’s house, and as it would not be wise to return to Chad until a new government is established, will take this opportunity to work the 450 hours needed to maintain her nursing registration.

It also might not be safe for Celestin to stay in Chad during the elections. We are praying for God’s protection over him and the family, and for a visa application for him to visit the UK.

The situation in Chad is complex and unpredictable. Chad was colonised by France, who still influence the politics of the country, and maintain a small army there to tackle terrorism across the Sahel. Russia has supported the Chadian government with military equipment in recent years and has received a visit from president Mahamat Déby. Almost every president since independance in 1960 has gained power through a military coup. The country has a history of ethnic war from ancient times to the present with each ethnic group fighting other ethnic groups to gain land, resources and power. There is also a distinct Northern – Muslim – pastoralist versus Southern – Christian – agriculturalist divide. In addition, every country surrounding Chad currently has a ‘Do not travelʼ advisory from the UK government.

God knows the situation and the people and he loves each one. We see that God has put potential for good in everyone and for the development of the country. Chad could be the light shining in the darkness!

Arise, shine: for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will rise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Here is a brief outline of the political situation to help us understand how to pray for the elections; for lasting peace and for the development of the country. There are 10 candidates running for election to be president of Chad. The president is head of the government and the country. The first round of voting is on Monday, 6th May, with a second round in June if needed. Every Chadian aged 18 and over who is registered to vote may do so. The security forces vote a day earlier.

The former president, Idriss Déby Itno, in power for over 30 years, was killed during the last elections in 2021, whilst visiting his troops who were fighting rebels in the north of Chad. (British nationals were advised to leave the country then because the rebels were advancing on N’Djamena, the capital). He was from the Zaghowa people group, many of whom held powerful positions in the government and in the country (even though a comparatively small people group). They are known as fierce warriors.

His son, Mahamat Déby (known as ‘Kakaʼ = ‘grandmotherʼ in the local language), took over the country in an ‘institutional coupʼ. Idriss Déby had taken his mother as wife whilst he was still small, so he was brought up by his grandmother, hence the nickname. He is from the Goran people group – another warrior tribe. He didn’t go to school but was sent away to join the army when he was old enough, and quickly rose up the ranks.

He led the transitional military council which was established to lead the government, agreeing to hand over power to an elected civilian government after 18 months. This didn’t happen. Consequently, there were protests in N’Djamena during which over 200 people were killed and 1,000 put in prison in the desert. Déby, apparently thirsty for power, took over as president of the country and is standing for president now (even though this is against the rules, and contrary to what he said when he took his position). He has the power to rig the elections in his favour. The public are generally against him because he has done many bad things. He is Muslim, from the north of Chad.

The Goran people have taken many of the powerful positions from the Zaghowa. The Zaghowa are against Déby and are forming rebel groups.

In February, Yaya Dillo, his cousin and the favourite opposition leader was killed at the opposition party’s headquarters in an attack that appears to have been orchestrated by Déby. There is currently fighting between members of this party and government forces just north of N’Djamena.

Succès Masra is currently the most popular opposition leader – having 60 per cent popularity in the opinion polls. He is drawing large crowds in the electoral campaign in towns in the south of Chad. He was leader of ‘Les transformateurs’, but was made Prime Minister by Déby at the beginning of this year. Some people cannot understand why he accepted this position. He is an economist and worked for the African Development Bank. He is Christian, of the same ethnic group as Celestin, and they know each other – which could be dangerous for Celestin and his family, especially because people in Koundoul know there is relationship between them.

If Masra does win the election, rebel groups would negotiate peace with him, although there still may be fighting, this would be dealt with quickly, helping to stabilise the country quickly. If another leader wins, the country would take longer to stabilise. If Déby wins, war with rebel groups is very likely and many people could turn against him and the government leading to civil war.

Blessed be the name of God from age to age, for wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons, deposes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.

Prayer Points

Map of Chad
  • Praise God for who he is and for the privilege of being part of his work in Chad!
  • Ask the Lord to forgive those in Chad for the sin committed including the blood already shed. Jesus died to take away our sin and restore our relationship with the Father. Pray the Lord will remove the evil from Chad.
  • Invite the Holy Spirit to help us to pray, and to reveal God’s heart for the future of Chad. Follow his guidance!
  • Pray for a fair vote and that everyone who wants to vote can do so without intimidation. Pray for the ballot boxes, voting papers, transport, and count. Pray for openness, accuracy, and security.
  • Pray for the international agencies at work in Chad to support a fair election. Pray for other countries to understand and support Chad during the election process.
  • Pray for an understanding between the different ethnic groups of Chad, that they can work together for the good of people and the country.
  • Pray for each of the candidates to be fair and act justly. Pray the new president can be established in righteousness (Proverbs 25: 5). We hope to see a God-fearing, stable, civilian government in place, able to rule in peace and develop the country.
  • Pray for Celestin and his family. Particularly that they will be safe. Pray for Celestin to get a visitor visa for the UK.



  • Continue to pray for the DTS students and staff on outreach – that they grow in their love for Jesus and ability to share the gospel and teach others to know God. Please continue to pray for the planning and preparation for a new base in N’Djamena. We need a good building and location to run schools and ministry.
  • Pray for La Bergerie school and health centre. Children are preparing for end of year exams and will finish at the end of the month for the summer holidays.

Here are the details to support us through our bank:

Bank name:
Account name:
Margaret M TANNER
Sort Code:
Account no.:

If you pay UK income tax: sign-up for gift aid and donate through Stewardship:
www.stewardship.org.uk/partners/20103447 (Training Development, Chad – Margaret & Celestin | Stewardship
Reclaimed tax makes your gift bigger!

Thank you and Good Bless You!


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