The young General Mahamat Idriss Deby is learning that being handed the presidency of Chad is more like a poison chalice than winning the lottery of life.
For the time being, the 37 year-old has the backing of former colonial power France.
President Emmanuel Macron went to N’Djamena for Friday’s funeral of Mahamat’s 68-year-old father who died at the hands of rebels a day after winning his sixth term as President of the troubled, largely desert country.
Constitutionally, Chad’s parliamentary speaker should have taken power and moved to elections within 18 months.
But the constitution and parliament have both been scrapped by the military council that put the son at the helm.
The country’s borders have been closed and a night time curfew is being enforced
France’s decision to back this move “for reasons of security following extraordinary events” puts its at odds with the international community.
The African Union, which is bound by its basic law to red card any unconstitutional change in government, has called on Mahamat to restore the country to legality.
Chad’s opposition has called the new power structure a “dynastic coup” and its trade unions are calling for a general strike until the constitution is restored.
There is an uneasy calm in Chad following the move that has played into the hands of the rebel Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT).
Mahamat realises this. He has made frequent appeals over national radio for peace and insisted that he open to dialogue.
The opposition will not take up this offer while he claims to be president.
France’s support comes because of Chad’s pivotal role in the fight against jihadis in the Sahel – that strip of land between the Sahara and the North African coastal states.
Idriss Deby was an inveterate supporter of the group of five Sahel states.
These include Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and Mali.
In N’Djamena on Friday, Macron impressed on their leaders present the need to stand united against militant Islam threatening all their countries.
Will they heed the call from their former colonial power, who provides Chad with intelligence and security?
Or will they fall into line with the African Union that is bound to exclude Chad from the continental body’s deliberations until the constitution is restored?