Square One

Now that all of his opposition is safely tucked away in Mozambique, Andry Rajoelina is starting to show the world his new, heavily faulted plan… same as  the old heavily faulted plan, try to rule Madagascar by himself insisting that he does not require any assistance from the international community.

As recent as yesterday, he was quoted as saying:

“We ask (the international community) to no longer involve yourselves in our problem. The solution to the crisis will only come from the people through this election”

It has been a little while since we have heard his “the people” line, but rest assure that when he says “the people” he means “Andry Rajoelina” so feel free to substitute. Here is another quote from the same article:

“The international community’s way out of the crisis was enforced cohabitation. But we have all seen that this won’t work,”

Why won’t it work Andry Rajoelina? It is quite simply because he  cannot allow anyone to have even be close to the same level of power as he has, because he is the “High Authority of the Transition”, a post he made up and would like to keep… he doesn’t know how to share.

So in this latest turn of events, Rajoelina is returning to his old strategy of trying to ignore any negotiations and forget that he wanted to obtain the donor money that has been missing since he took power. Instead, he is going to dust off that old party line that “The crisis only involves the people of Madagascar, and only the people of Madagascar can resolve it”.

Tentative parliamentary elections are scheduled for March 20th of next year where there will no doubt be a lack of transparency since he doesn’t want any international observers to meddle with the voice of the people. I am pretty sure that March 20th will mark the return of Monja Roindefo if he doesn’t return any sooner.

And here we are, back at square one… the exact same place we were right after they had taken control of the country… rejecting all international demands and once again preparing to setup his own government.

About the only thing that will change the country now would be if the army were to end their support of Rajoelina… but then… would that be any better? I don’t think you can ever expect that the SADC will be sending troops in to rescue Madagascar and you certainly can’t expect that there will ever be any sort of unity government any time soon. So all we can expect is that this stalemate will continue well into next year.

High Treason

After 5 long days of talks “without” Rajoelina, the 3 remaining political parties have determined a way to divvy up the governmental ministries among the 4 political movements. According to the associated press, the ministries have been split as follows:

Ravalomanana:

    • Commerce
    • Foreign

Ratsiraka:

    • Finance
    • Energy

Zafy:

    • Environment
    • Mines

Rajoelina:

    • Justice
    • Armed Forces
    • Economy
    • Industry

Despite an agreement being reached and signed between the 3 movements which in all appearances seems to be a reasonable way of dispersing the governmental ministries, Rajoelina fired back at his opposing leaders stating that the deal was an “attack on national sovereignty” and was tantamount to “high treason” as it violated previously agreed power-sharing principles and demoted Rajoelina to the same level as other faction leaders in the proposed interim government. Rajoelina even went so far as to strand all of the opposition leaders in Mozambique, forbidding any air exchanges between Madagascar and Mozambique, according to this associated press article.

So with all the opposition parties stuck in Mozambique, what can we expect next for the crisis in Madagascar? Most likely you can expect a great deal of banter back and forth between opposition parties, SADC and Rajoelina initially. But almost inevitably you can expect that Rajoelina will be coming back to the opposition/SADC with specific demands that will ensure that he not only maintains the ministries he wishes to control, but also ensure that he has supreme power over all other parties. These tactics are far from new and have been proven time and time again to be  a very effective negotiating tactic. So at some point in the next month or so, there will be a meeting amongst all parties to try once again to distribute the governmental ministries amongst all political parties… this is, of course, after concessions are made by the opposition party for one or more of Rajoelina’s demands.

I am finding that this whole political situation is a lot like a game of Monopoly. Initially, it looks like there is a lot of progress and that some amazing things happen. But after a while, particularly near the end, you just end up going around the board endlessly hoping not to land on any property containing hotels. The game continues endlessly until the people with the least amount of property give in and finally concede to the person that has the most money/property and hotels. Inevitably I think that all the opposition parties are of course going to have to give in to a lot of demands that are being made by Rajoelina in order to inch closer to some sort of deal that will actually stick. As long as they do not define at the time of negotiations every little detail of the transitional government, talks will break off, the transitional government will fall apart and we will again be forced back the the negotiating table.

The one thing that is absolutely clear about the negotiations is that the opposition parties cannot negotiate amongst themselves without the assistance of mediator. If they are left on their own to negotiate, we can expect that this type of situation will repeat itself, ad nausium. I think it is time to either arrange an immediate election (within 6 months) or threaten to topple the coup by force and then have the election. If Rajoelina is left alone to wield supreme power over Madagascar these types of negotiating stunts are going to continue, perhaps endlessly. What Rajoelina is doing to the citizens of Madagascar is criminal and something needs to be done sooner rather than later.

The never ending story

It has been a long time since I have made a post, partly because I was on vacation for 6 weeks, but also because quite frankly I am getting bored and angry with the failures in negociations.

I seriously didn’t expect there to be any progress made while on vacation, and from the looks of things it was a reasonable expectation. Perhaps you can tell how hopeful I am of this situation ever being resolved?

At any rate, as I usually do, here is the rundown of all the things that had occurred during my vacation:

The sad part is that they will never change diplomatically because Rajoelina is where he wants to be, in his position of power. The AU/SADC and international community can throw all the negotiators they want at this problem, but all they are ever going to get from it is failure.  After all, you are negotiating with a person that came to power via a coup d’etat, does anyone expect him to share or cooperate with anyone? The only thing that he will ever do is try to legitimize himself so he can restore the donor money to Madagascar so he can really have his way. About the only time you will ever see him ‘negotiate’ is if his government is about to fail or there is some risk to him personally (a la uprising).

So while we hear about the poor Malagasy to the south wishing for a cyclone to give them temporary relief from a nasty drought, while the Malagasy economy is capsizing, and while just about everything else could go wrong with the country, we have all the political buffoons sitting around each trying to figure out how they can obtain more power. I am tired of all of it and the suffering that these negotiating failures are bringing to the country as a whole. We need to stop this nonsense of flying all these politicians from country to country where they enjoy the local hotels and hospitality and implement a solution immediately.

About the only thing that I can think of as a solution is one that the Malagasy choose for themselves, which logistically would be very difficult… but would be the only acceptable way since negotiations with all former presidents is nothing but a power struggle. Since the government in Madagascar is more or less non-existent, we should just ramp up elections to happen in less than 6 months if possible. We cannot trust the army, the politicians or any transitional government… so this I think would be the only acceptable way out of this mess. Give all interested political parties a short time to communicate what they would do for the country and then put it to a heavily monitored vote… at least this way the Malagasy could choose the mess they are in rather than it being thrust upon them such as it was by Rajoelina.

If we continue on the path we are on, nothing will ever be achieved. And the longer we continue to ‘negotiate’ the worse it becomes for all Malagasy.

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