Two letters from Madagascar: to be analysed

I have here two interesting letters from Andry Nirina Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana that I found posted on internet. They both reflect the stand from each side.

Andry Rajoelina, president of the HAT (High Authority of the Transition: an entity which does not legally exist but which 100% rules Madagascar) argues that the International community has to respect the choice of Malagasy people (which means the will to organize legislative / parliamentary elections on March 2010). Yesterday, Andry Nirina Rajoelina has declared during a press conference that the legislative / parliamentary elections will be postponed. He did not specify the date but it is almost sure that it would not go beyond November 2010 which is deemed by Jean Ping, the president of the AU commission as the deadline for the Malagasy transition.

Marc Ravalomanana, former president, condemns the unilateral conduct of the transition, and urges for a strict respect and compliance of the Maputo and Addis-Ababa agreements. These agreements set up the basis of a consensual and inclusive transition.


Andry Rajoelina’s letter

Published on Wall Street Journal on January 21st, 2010

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE FRIENDS OF MADAGASCAR: International meddling is obstructing the restoration of the constitutional order

Madagascar, my country, is sinking into a political crisis of extreme gravity, and there is no exit in sight. This situation is the result of the following series of events:

Last March, my predecessor, Marc Ravalomanana, at last became conscious of the limits of his autocratic exercise of power, having been awakened by an unprecedented popular movement. He took the initiative to leave the country, entrusted a military directory with power, then felt it was right to transfer power to me, as the constitution allowed him to do. The Malagasy High Constitutional Court, which was composed at the time only of members designated by Mr. Ravalomanana, validated these actions and ruled that they were in accordance with the Constitution.

The international community, however, railed against what it deemed a “putsch” or a “coup d’état“—terms that I vigorously oppose, considering not only the Constitutional Court’s approval, but also that the will of the large majority of the Malagasy people is to see me lead the Transitional Government.

As soon as I took office, I clearly said this period of transition should end as quickly as possible. I called for a return to the constitutional order through a rapid referendum, and through transparent and democratic elections. I asked the international community to support my country in these efforts.

The answer (from the United Nations, from the African Union, from the International Francophone Organization, from the Southern African Development Community) consisted of imposing a “consensual and inclusive” transition under the threat of sanctions. The sanctions included suspending the economic help without which my country is condemned to durable and inevitable chaos. The principle of a “consensual and inclusive” transition is in itself perfectly praiseworthy. Unfortunately, this principle clashed with the Malagasy reality, the limits of which the international community has apparently not been able to measure or appreciate.

What kind of consensus could have been found with a former president who is hated by his people, who plundered his country for his exclusive benefit, who ordered the shooting of a crowd demonstrating its legitimate will to see regime change?

Why demand, at all costs, that a national reconciliation process include two former heads of state—one who was deposed by the National Assembly and the other who is under severe penal prosecution, and whose political representation in Madagascar is almost nonexistent?

How could one imagine that a “consensual and inclusive” solution could be found with heads of parties and former heads of state, who have been disqualified by the Malagasy people but brought back to the political stage through gamesmanship? Why, when their sole aim is to demand more than what is reasonable, to block compromise, and to serve only the forces of inertia, should I be the only one held responsible for the failure of negotiations?

There are in Madagascar living forces who are much more representative of the people and of their aspirations than those who are responsible for the failures of the past, and who are still today demonstrating their incapacity to overcome mere partisan interests.

I have however accepted, under pressure from international authorities and considering the risk of eventual sanctions for my country, to compromise with heads of parties designated by these authorities. My hope is that if we are guided solely by the interest of the people and of the country, we can find a consensual way to organize quick elections.

Readers should recall that, despite the fact that I have the support of a large majority of the Malagasy people and of the army, I have, during diverse negotiations in Antananarivo, Maputo, and Addis Ababa, agreed to many compromises—probably more than I should have, given my strong base. But this is not enough for my interlocutors. Their revanchist spirit and appetite for power overwhelm the general interest.

But the Malagasy people have been waiting for six months, impatiently, for the end to an illusory and unnatural mediation. Madagascar is being held hostage to a logic that it does not understand. Because there is no exit in sight and because the country is in the midst of a long stagnation, my fellow citizens are made into victims. There is an urgent need to end this situation.

I have therefore taken the decision to stop participating to the so-called Maputo negotiations. It is my responsibility as president of the Transition is to give the Malagasy people a voice. Only a legitimate authority will be able to democratically put an end to this difficult period of trouble.

I have designated a new prime minister in charge of leading the current government, whom I am confirming in his duties and whose only mission, apart from the management of daily affairs, is to organize the next elections. I can announce that the election of the members of the Constituent Assembly of the Sixth Republic will take place on March 20, 2010. On that date, the current government will resign.

A new prime minister will then be appointed from the party which wins a majority in the next elections. That prime minister will be in charge of forming a new government, taking into account the representation of various political forces in the new parliament. This government, the result of legislative elections, will be charged with organizing presidential elections so that the new president of the Republic could take up his post before June 26.

After the Maputo failure, there is no other solution to end this crisis. The Malagasy people must have the liberty to choose their own future. May the international community understand that there is no other alternative, and help us on the path to return to the constitutional order.

Mr. Rajoelina is president of the high transitional authority of Madagascar.


Marc Ravalomanana’s letter

January 24th, 2010

The leader of Madagascar’s illegal coup regime is attempting the impossible: to re-write recent history in an effort to blame the international community, not himself, for Madagascar’s nightmarish woes.
Only a tyrannical dictator would hijack a country at gunpoint; oust democratically-elected leaders; commit grave human rights violations; and bring the nation to the brink of social, economic, and political ruin.
Incredibly and ironically, the coup leader proclaims himself a champion of democracy and the masses, while banning opponents from the political process, reneging on political agreements, and laying the groundwork for sham elections, defying the wishes of the Malagasy people and the world for the return of genuine democracy and constitutional order.
Since the coup in Madagascar last March, the international community – the United Nations, the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, the European Union, and the United States – has consistently branded the coup regime illegal and unacceptable.
Last year, with the support of the international community, Madagascar’s four main political movements, including one representing the coup regime, signed an agreement to form a consensus and inclusive transition government.
The Maputo Agreements provided a framework for exiting the crisis and restoring democracy and constitutional order.
However, the coup regime quickly abandoned the agreement and resumed its oppressive crackdown on the Malagasy people.
Restoring democracy, human rights, and constitutional order in Madagascar is non-negotiable.
As the twice democratically-elected president of Madagascar, I repeat my commitment to finding a consensual and inclusive solution to this crisis.
I urge all fellow Malagasy citizens, with the support and help of the international community, to join hands on the path to righteousness.
By respecting the Maputo Agreements and by forming the agreed-upon transition government, we can restore democracy and constitutional order.
This is the solution sought by the vast majority of the Malagasy people, and this is the solution the international community supports.


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