On Saturday April 10th, the Senior Officers from the Malagasy Army and National Gendarmerie held a meeting at the RTS (Military camp) in Fiadanana. Journalists were not allowed to attend. The “official topics” of such meeting were:
– the unity of the Malagasy Army;
the respect of the hierarchy;
– the discipline;
– the defense of the republican values;
– the protection of the state institutions;
According to other source of information, the meeting mainly focused on the research of a crisis settlement plan. It has been decided that the Malagasy Army offers itself to act as a mediator for future negotiations. It also has been decided that the Malagasy Army will “use any means” to have the politicians back on the negotiations table, especially the two main protagonists: Marc Ravalomanana and his followers – Andry Rajoelina and his HAT. Military pressure will be put on politicians’ head to find as soon as possible a crisis settlement plan which will be accepted and recognized by the International Community.
This follows the same scenario as in 1991: in order to end the the never ending general strike led by Zafy Albert against Didier Ratsiraka, the Malagasy Army has intervened to force all the major politicians to meet in conclave in a hotel-restaurant located in the suburb area of Antananarivo: Panorama Hotel. The politicians have been told that they would have no right to go out of the hotel if they didn’t come up with a convention drafted and agreed by all the protagonists.
Does this mean then that the Malagasy Army is ready to use its force to force the four main political movements to find a solution to the crisis? Are security forces ready to arrest all the main political actors in Madagascar and force them (with a Kalashnikov put against the head) to agree between them?
Yesterday, all the Senior Officers who took part into the meeting of Saturday, met with Andry Rajoelina in Iavoloha presidential palace. The HAT prime minister, the Brigadier General Camille Vital was also there. Andry Rajoelina, as self-proclaimed supreme chief of the Army, gave an official order to the Army: to find a solution to the problems triggered by the sacking of the General Noel Rakotonandrasana.
The Senior Officers, deemed as official representatives of the entirety of the Malagasy Army, required more explanations about the sacking of the Brigadier General Noel Rakotonandrasana, and wanted to know the real nature of the problems between Noel Rakotonandrasana and Andry Rajoelina.
After the meeting, the chief of the Malagasy Army staff, General André Ndrianarijaona, and the commander of the National Gendarmerie, General Bruno Wilfrid Razafindrakoto, held a press conference in which they declared that the Malagasy Army was claiming from the president of the HAT to deliver a clear road map to end the crisis, with performance indicators, the ways to achieve the goals of the government (pays, investments) and the elections. No deadline was specified but according to some indiscretions, Andry Rajoelina has been given 48 hours to have it done.
The two generals said that the population has to remain calm and should not always believe fake information. They declared that any sort of public meetings or demonstrations are no longer permitted.