Andry Rajoelina finally made his decision: He will not be candidate for the presidential elections scheduled on May 08th, 2013.
Well I bet most of you already knew it. That was the buzz of yesterday evening. He made an official live TV statement yesterday at 08.00pm Mdg time from the presidential palace in Ambotsirohitra. After several months of suspense, he finally showed up his cards…
His decision closed all the political bets that started with the Ravalomanana’s declaration not to run for presidency (the so basic and common talk about: neither Ravalomanana nor Rajoelina, either Ravalomanana or Rajoelina, Ravalomanana and Rajoelina, …).
International community (IC)
It is sure that the IC has played a key role on Rajoelina’s decision. Despite all the theoritical speeches over Malagasy sovereignty, Madagascar, especially on its current situation, can not afford (yet) to get rid off IC. I am not an anti-nationalist but I am sincerely tired of all these so empty political speeches which try to call up for national pride … Remember, this is what Andry Rajoelina did when he wanted to rally all Antananarivo people against Ravalomanana: Daewoo, South African mercenaries, … The IC’s stand has always been clear: they follow SADC’s resolutions which wanted both leaders to sit on the sidelines for 2013.
Can we really trust Andry Rajoelina?
Are we really sure at 100% that he will sit and admire the landscape? Even if he made an official declaration to the nation, to all Malagasy people, what guarantee do we have that he will keep his words? It is not the first time that he denied his own signature and he knows very well that it is easy to do so just by claiming national interest. I don’t really feel confortable when discovering that he(Andry Rajoelina) already agreed not to be candidate for the presidential elections on … January 10th, 2013. Why did he fancy all this suspense though he already gave his words? Maybe he wanted to insist on a … magical last minute support from a powerful country … Will he do a last minute about-face? This is the $ 1,000 question.
It’s now 03.13am Madagascar time and I’m still looking for any piece of information about the “face to face” meeting between Andry RAJOELINA and Marc RAVALOMANANA in DesRoches island ( a private island – 234km away from Mahe, capital of Seychelles) …
Face to face
This is the firt time in the Madagascar crisis negotiating history that the SADC imposed (or succeeded to impose?) a real face to face with just the two main opponents:
- Andry RAJOELINA: the president of a transition which is not yet internationally recognized mainly because they (the transition and him) came from a military backed coup. He and his circle of influence (including the Army) rule the country with an iron fist.
- Marc RAVALOMANANA: the last legal president of Madagascar who was deposed by Andry RAJOELINA and mutineers on March 17th, 2009. He now lives in exile in South Africa and masterminds his opposition movement from there. He is believed to have some private business interests in some African countries (to be confirmed).
What they only have in common is their main goal: to get the power – Both want to win the next presidential elections.
As far as I understand the last SADC’s ultimatum, Andry RAJOELINA and Marc RAVALOMANANA have until July 31st to reach a common agreement. This meet-up is kind of extraordinary because both leaders will be on their owns, SADC has imposed that no delegation, no counsel, no wife, no lawyer, … should be present during the face to face meeting. The time where they have to tell what they really think about each other, has finally come … thank you SADC!
I’m personally interested to see what the former DJ (Andry RAJOELINA -this is not from me, this is from international medias) would be able to deliver without his griots. Does he really have a personnality (or a brain?) without the advices of French ambassadors / Quai d’Orsay special envoys, Norbert Lala RATSIRAHOANANA (Andry RAJOELINA’s political and legal counsellor), Annick RAJAONA (in charge of international liasions) and any other unsavoury individual? Will he do like in Maputo, Mozambic during the Maputo summit which run from August 05th, 2009 to August 09th, 2009, jointly organized by the AU, the UN, the SADC and the OIF? He exasperated everybody by leaving the negotiation room every time when an important decision has to be made … just because he has to ask the opinions of his counsellors. The SADC should not allow that to happen again!
The entire country is now holding its breath until a “consensual and inclusive” (lol) resolution comes up. The undeniable truth is that the life of millions of Malagasy people (including myself) will be affected by their agreement … above all the implementation of such agreement.
There were many agreements which have been signed but none of theme have been fully and duly respected by opponent parties. Why do you think that this “Desroches resolution” will be an exception?
LUANDA, ANGOLA JUNE 01, 2012
Here is the genuine declaration from the Ministerial Committee of organ Troika. As we can see, SADC urges for the enactment of Amnesty law by February 29th, 2012. It has never stated that the return of Marc RAVALOMANANA had to be done by this date. Actually, statements from RAVALOMANANA mouvance, specifically, Mr. Mamy RAKOTOARIVELO, head of RAVALOMANANA delegation and president of Transition Congress, were just the result of logical interpretation of the SADC resolutions. There are at least two things which are 100% sure:
- The amnesty law must pass (the one which has been drafted and proposed to the government by the current Congress of Transition);
- Marc RAVALOMANANA must go back to Madagascar.
After this Troika meeting, the first signs of unwillingness came from Andry RAJOELINA, the HAT (High Authority of the Transition) and Christine RAZANAMAHASOA, the minister of justice. Yesterday during his visit of the Toamasina port, Andry RAJOELINA said that the return of Marc RAVALOAMANANA was not a matter of emergency and not his priority at all. According to him, there are other provisions in the road map which have to be emplemented before the return of the last democratically-elected president: the implementation of the CENI, the implementation of the national reconciliation committee and the amnesty law. Christine RAZANAMAHASOA shared her doubt about the deadline of February 29th, 2012. “This is too important to be considered in just so limited amount of time …” She said. In her point of view: the proposal of amnesty law still has to pass by the council of government and the council of ministers before being returned to the two chambers of the transitional parliament (congress of Transition and High Council of Transition) to be voted.
PRESS STATEMENT OF THE MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE OF THE ORGAN TROIKA
25 JANUARY 2012
1. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) Troika, comprising of South Africa as Chair, the Republic of Zambia and United Republic of Tanzania as well as the SADC Secretariat, convened an urgent meeting in Pretoria to consider the recent political and security developments in Madagascar as they relate to the implementation of the Roadmap. The meeting was attended by the Malagasy political stakeholders among them; the representatives of President of the Transition, Prime Minister of Consensus, the Deputy Prime Minister, the President of the Congress of Transition and Mouvances Ravalomanana and Zafy, respectively.
2. The meeting of the MCO Troika took place within the context of the implementation of the SADC “Roadmap for Ending the Crisis in Madagascar”. The Organ Troika reflected on the political situation in Madagascar including the events of 21st January 2012 in which former President Ravalomanana was denied entry into Madagascar.
3. In this regard, the MCO Troika reiterated the importance of adherence to the letter and spirit of the signed Roadmap as the most viable instrument that could contribute towards ensuring peace, stability and democracy in Madagascar. To this end, the Organ Troika emphasised the need to avoid the selective implementation of the Roadmap. Therefore, the Malagasy stakeholders were urged to expedite the process of implementing all the outstanding articles of the Roadmap especially those relating to confidence building measures such as the enactment of Amnesty laws; release of political prisoners; the unconditional return of political exiles and protection and promotion of human rights as they relate to the freedoms of assembly and expression.
4. The MCO Troika reaffirmed the significance of the Roadmap as the only mechanism for resolving the current political crisis. In addition, it re-emphasized that the Roadmap is aimed at facilitating a process leading to the holding of free, credible and transparent elections. SADC calls on the establishment of a credible and acceptable electoral body (CENI) that will prepare and conduct elections that reflect the popular will of all the Malagasy people. It also noted the recently passed legislation by parliament in this regard as well as the expert support that the UN provided in this process.
5. Considering the events of 21st January 2012, MCO Troika implores upon all the signatory parties and there supporters to desist from engaging in any further decisions and activities that are designed to cause division and which casts aspersions on the current SADC sponsored political process. It furthermore, calls upon all the signatory parties not to withdraw from the Roadmap process but to remain committed to its letter and spirit, the principles of which include integrity,inclusivity and impartiality.
6. The MCO Troika furthermore demands the prioritisation of the enactment of Amnesty laws by 29th February, 2012 to facilitate the unconditional return of exiled political leaders. In this regard, SADC also calls upon the transitional authority to ensure the safety and security of all the exiled returnees, and the further implementation of the RoadMap.
7. In addition the MCO Troika appeals to all the political leaders of the various parties to provide the necessary leadership,political maturity, functional coherence and responsible mannerisms in order to find ways of working together during this critical period. The interests of the Malagasy nation must be placed above narrow party political,emotional,historical and individual interests.
8. In conclusion the SADC MCO Troika will continue to remain seized with the Madagascar political process in order to ensure that she returns to constitutional normalcy and a democratic dispensation.
25 January 2012
Here is an interesting article written by Peter MANN, former South African political journalist and (former or current?) Marc RAVALOMANANA’s communication adviser, and published on Business Day on April 20th, 2011. Despite his rather visible partiality, what he says about Malagasy politic and global local situation do truly depict the current Malagasy context of the ongoing crisis.
MADAGASCAR may be better known as the name of a fantasy Hollywood movie rather than a country, but a recent visit there revealed a sinister horror movie redolent of the worst excesses of apartheid.
First, let me declare my bias. I travelled to Madagascar as an adviser to exiled President Marc Ravalomanana, who just over two years ago was driven from the country at gunpoint in a French-backed coup d’etat that led to the installation as “president” of a “high transitional authority” of Andry Rajoelina, the 34- year-old former disc jockey and elected mayor of the capital city, Antananarivo.
Since then the country has been mired in a struggle over its political future as the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) tried to mediate a “road map” to restore it to constitutional government.
Sadc is being hard pressed to find a solution, and has now called for an extraordinary summit on Madagascar on May 20 in Windhoek. It faces twin, possibly related, problems — full-on, flat-out interference by France in the internal affairs of another country; and the seeming corruption of the Sadc mediation team to the French view.
After the coup in 2009, Sadc and the international community quite correctly declared they would have no truck with a man who had seized power violently and they imposed sanctions on the illegal regime.
Now the “road map” proposals by the Sadc mediator, former Mozambican foreign minister Leonardo Simao, seemingly aided and abetted by former Mozambican president Joachim Chissano, are that the coup leader be appointed president of a transitional government, and the real, democratically elected president is not invited back any time soon — preferably not before the election, if they can brazen that out. (The proposed diplomatic language is that he will be allowed back when and if the security situation allows it.)
This in the midst of a climate of a total absence of human rights. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people in detention without trial. And, according to reports by international agencies and diplomats, torture is rife.
In its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices issued on April 8, the US government says Madagascar is ruled by an “unelected and illegal civilian regime” and that it has “failed to establish a legitimate transitional administration that would oversee free and open elections for the restoration of a legal government”. It says “military leaders continue to assert their autonomy from the current political leadership, despite their tacit support of the de facto government”.
It continues: “The following human rights problems were reported: unlawful killings and other security force abuses; harsh prison conditions, sometimes resulting in deaths; arbitrary arrest and detention; lengthy pre- trial detention; censorship; intimidation and arrest of and violence against journalists; restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, and assembly; curtailment of the right of citizens to choose their government; official corruption and impunity; societal discrimination and violence against women, and trafficking of women and children; and child labour, including forced child labour.”
Two examples quoted in the US report provide some insight into the actions of the regime. On November 23 last year, regime forces arrested a former judge of the International Court of Justice, Raymond Ranjeva, and his pregnant daughter, accusing Ranjeva of being involved in a November 17 coup attempt. Ranjeva was released on bail a few hours later, but his daughter remained in custody for insulting regime forces and was sentenced to a month of probation.
Malagasy sources tell me Ranjeva was arrested to show that no one in the country was “untouchable”, and that the arrest of his daughter was designed to intimidate him.
On May 15 last year, opposition politician Ambroise Ravonison was violently arrested during a radio interview. Two other interviewees and three members of the radio’s staff were injured, and the radio station’s equipment was vandalised. Ravonison, a French citizen, obtained a provisional release and fled the country.
Political gerrymandering in Madagascar by the regime and its French sponsor defies belief — and the world seems to care not a jot, occupied as it is by the uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen and Côte d’Ivoire .
The coup leader and his wife are holed up in their palace. They travel only in a blue-light convoy, which roars through the narrow streets of the capital — presumably to keep them safe from inept bombing attempts.
The French ambassador, Jean-Marc Chataigner, was welcomed with open arms by Rajoelina, who said Madagascar would never separate from France, when he arrived in the immediate aftermath of the coup.
It is widely reported and believed in Madagascar that Chataigner has an office in the presidential palace. It is also widely believed that France is bankrolling the bankrupt regime. His advisers come directly from the Élysée Palace in Paris.
It appears that, at France’s urging, Rajoelina is preparing to turn his back on the Sadc mediation, believing that the seeming rejection by SA, Zambia and Botswana — the Sadc countries overseeing the “road map” mediators — in favour of the extraordinary summit on Madagascar means that his case is running into opposition from Sadc.
Instead, there was a French love fest recently as Mauriti an Foreign Minister Arvin Boolell, along with representatives from La Reunion, Seychelles and France, met Rajoelina, under the aegis of the little-known Indian Ocean Commission.
Rajoelina’s French-inspired strategy seems to be to thumb his nose at Sadc, call his own sham election, reportedly in September, and gain recognition of his government by France and her surrogates.
The question asked in Madagascar is whether Sadc will stand up to the French and what it will do to stop the regime’s unilateral actions, which are in flagrant violation even of Sadc’s as yet unapproved road map.
As a single example: the road map proposes a transitional government of national unity to oversee the free and fair internationally supervised elections. It holds that while Rajoelina can be president of the interim government, he has to appoint as prime minister a candidate from the opposition. He has simply reappointed his own prime minister to the post. One businessman in Madagascar reportedly paid $2m to the regime to be appointed to the cabinet.
While the gerrymandering continues, the Malagasy people are suffering devastating poverty (more than 75% live on less than $10 per month) and total disruption of their civil liberties from what can only be described as political gangsterism.
A peace and conflict impact assessment report prepared for the United Nations Children’s Fund by the Graduate Institute Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding last year says “Madagascar’s very sovereignty may soon be under threat”.
It points to “the cycle of extreme poverty, rising criminality, the paralysis of the armed forces and the concomitant mushrooming of ‘alternative’ security forces (militia)”, which “does not bode well for the future.
“While the political crisis continues, the country’s valuable resources continue to be plundered … and the population continues to starve. With every week those pillaging the island become increasingly ruthless…”.
1. The Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was held at Sandton, Republic of South Africa on 11 and 12 June 2011.
2. The Summit was officially opened by His Excellency Hifikepunye Pohamba, Président of the Republic of Namibia and SADC Chairperson.
3. The Summit was attended by the following Heads of State and Government or their représentatives:
Rt. Hon. Pakalitha Mosisili;
H.E. Ngwazi Prof. Bingu Wa Mutharika;
H.E. Armando Emilio Guebuza ;
H.E. Hifikepunye Pohamba;
H.E. Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma;
H.M. King Mswati III;
H.E. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete;
H.E. Robert Gabriel Mugabe;
H.E. Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe, Vice Président;
H.E Dr Danny Faure, Vice Président.
H.E. George Kunda, Vice Président and Minister of Justice;
Hon. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, Minister of External
Hon. Raymond Tshibanda N’tungamulongo, Minister of
Régional and International Coopération;
Hon. Dr. Arvin Boolell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Régional
Intégration and International Trade.
4. The Summit was also attended by SADC Executive Secretary Dr. Tomaz A. Salomâo.
5. In attendance of the Summit was also H.E. Joaquim A. Chissano, former Président of the Republic of Mozambique, and SADC Mediator on Madagascar.
6. Also in attendance at the Summit was the Right Hon. Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and Hon. Prof. Welshman Ncube, representing MDC-T, MDC-N political parties respectively.
7. Summit considered reports on the prevailing political and security situation ‘in Madagascar and Zimbabwe.
8. On Madagascar, Summit noted the outcome of the meeting that took place on 6 and 7June, 2011 in Gaborone, Republic of Botswana, convened by the SADC Chairperson, H.E Hifikepunye Pohamba, Président of the Republic of Namibia and H.E. Rupiah Bwezani Banda, Président of the Republic of Zambia and Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Coopération, and H.E Joaquim Chissano, former Président of the Republic of Mozambique and the SADC Mediator on the Madagascar crisis, as mandated by the Extraordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government at its meeting held in Windhoek, Republic of Namibia, 20 May, 2011.
9. Summit also noted that the Gaborone meeting was attended by eleven (11) political stakeholders from Madagascar, namely: AREMA; ESCOPOL; Les Autres Sensibilités; HPM; MDM; Mouvance Ratsiraka; Mouvance Ravalomanana; Mouvance Zafy; TGV; UAMAD/MONIMA and UDR-C.
10. Summit commended the SADC Chairperson, the Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Coopération for convening the meeting with the Malagasy stakeholders.
11. Summit also commended the people and Government of the Republic of Botswana for hosting the meeting.
12. Summit noted that the return of that country to constitutional normalcy is a matter of urgency.
13. Summit also noted that eight out of eleven Malagasy Political Stakeholders hâve already initialled the Roadmap that is intended to return the country to constitutional normalcy.
14. Summit endorsed the Roadmap to bring Madagascar into constitutional normalcy presented by the SADC Mediator on Madagascar after effecting necessary amendments.
15. Summit urged the leaders of the Mouvances Ratsiraka, Ravalomanana and Zafy to initial the Roadmap expeditiously as soon as the necessary amendments are effected.
16. Summit also urged the High Transition Authority (HTA) to allow Malagasy people in exile for political reasons, to be allowed to return to the country unconditionally including Mr. Marc Ravalomanana.
17. Summit further urged the HTA to urgently develop and enact ail outstanding Légal Instruments to ensure the political freedom of ail Malagasy in the inclusive process leading to free, fair, and crédible élections.
18. Summit commended the Malagasy Political Stakeholders for their commitment to dialogue and finding an inclusive solution and urged them to remain focused on the implementation of the agreed Roadmap in order to urgently fulfil the aspirations of the Malagasy people for peace, stability and socio-economic development.
19. Summit also commended H.E. Joachim Chissano, former Président of Mozambique for his tireless efforts in bringing together the Malagasy stakeholders in the search of lasting solution for the current crisis in Madagascar.
20. Summit urged the Organ Troika to remain actively seized of the political situation in Madagascar.
Extract of the SADC’s official communique dated May 20th, 2011 (resolutions of the extraordinary summit on the same day)
11. Summit considered the report of the SADC mediator on Madagascar, HE Chissano….noting the development of the roadmap for returning that country to constitutional normalcy.
12. The Summit commended HE Chissano for his efforts in bring together the stakeholders in the process of reconciliation and finding a lasting solution for that country.
13. Summit reiterated the need for an all-inclusive process towards finding a lasting solution of the challenges facing the country. In this regard, Summit mandated the SADC chairperson, chairperson of the SADC organ on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation and SADC mediator on Madagascar to, as soon as possible, convene a meeting with all Malagasy stakeholders to be held at SADC headquarters in Gabarone, Botswana.
Version from Andry Rajoelina during his press conference on May 21st, 2011 in his residency in Ambatobe, Antananarivo:
- The SADC has validated the Dr. Leonardo Simao’s roadmap.
- The current administration of Madagascar is now internationally recognized.
- He and the former Malagasy presidents (Marc Ravalomanana – Zafy Albert – Didier Ratsiraka) are instructed by the SADC to meet on June 06th, 2011 in Gaborone, Botswana, at the SADC’s HQs to sign the Dr. Leonardo Simao’s road map and not to discuss.
The SADC did not reject the Dr. Leonardo Simao’s roadmap nor confirmed it. The SADC just noticed that the process of crisis settlement is not yet inclusive and consensual. According to their understanding of the situation in Madagascar, there is a unilateral conduct of the transition by Andry Rajoelina and the Leonardo Simao’s roadmap has not involved yet the main stakeholders of the crisis.
Andry Rajoelina has shown his willingness to move forward with “his” transition whatever it takes. That’s what makes him very dangerous for Madagascar.
We do not know yet if it is a stupid joke from April’s fool but we have just been informed by Tananews that the SADC’s Troika formed by South Africa, Zambia and Mozambic has just released its resolution: ousted president Marc Ravalomanana has to return to Madagascar within two weeks. We are still awaiting for more confirmation.
If this is true, it then means that the Troika has decided not to confirm the roadmap drafted by SADC’s mediation team led by Dr. Leonardo Simao. This also means that this crisis will worsen because the current transitional leaders (Andry Rajoelina – Camille Vital – heads of Malagasy Army – …) will never allow Marc Ravalomanana to go home. On February 19th, Marc Ravalomanana did try to fly back home but the Malagasy authorities (using the ACM: Civil Aviation of Madagascar) issued a NOTAM (notice for all air transport companies) to avoid Marc Ravalomanana and his family’s boarding.
Wait and see …