IVLP alumnus Armand Dobsoumouna Doumngoul (FY 15 AF/RP “Young African Leaders: Grassroots Democracy and Mid-term Elections in the U.S.”) gave a presentation on “Separation of Powers in the U.S.” and answered questions from the audience of 26 including IVLP and YALI alumni, journalists and human rights and youth association leaders over an hour at the Embassy. The presentation focused on the delineation of the legislative, executive and judicial powers as provided by the U.S. Constitution. In her introductory remarks, PAO Julie Nickles noted that both U.S. and Chadian constitutions provide for the separation of powers, before encouraging the participants to engage in a frank and fruitful debate.
Taking the floor, Mr. Doumngoul talked about his U.S. visit which coincided with the last November mid-term elections. He said that the separation of powers is a reality in the U.S., before adding that “this clear delineation of powers is what makes the U.S. democracy the strongest in the world.” He added that the fact that the U.S. population is highly educated helps ensure this separation of powers. Comparing the situations in Chad and the U.S., he deplored the fact that, in Chad, the majority of the members of parliament are illiterate and only a handful of highly educated parliamentarians make decisions on important issues and the rest must support them. “In such a situation there is no way the legislative branch can control the government’s actions as they are supposed to do,” the speaker lamented. The lively debate that followed Mr. Doumngoul’s presentation mostly focused on the issue of governance in Chad and what can be done to ensure that the separation of powers provided in the Chadian Constitution becomes a reality. The participants came to the conclusion that education in general – and especially the education of youth — could be the solution.