Update: OK… just read AndryDago’s post about the crisis in Madagascar and it appears the High constitutional court has declared itself incompetent to handle such matters as the impeachment of the president… Who does if they don’t? It doesn’t appear as if there is a body that can do this. Now I wonder what is going to be happening Saturday? Does this mean anything at all? Things might not end up being as cut and dry as I thought… If you haven’t read the post yet, have a look: http://andrydago.wordpress.com/ there is also a french article here: http://www.lematin.ch/flash-info/monde/madagascar-maire-destitue-capitale-peine-mobiliser
It would appear from most news sources that the supporters would take the sacking of their mayor/political hero exactly the way that I thought they would. Today in the capital hundereds gathered (hundreds? not thousands?) outside of city hall in Antanarivo protesting the firing of Andry and the appointment of his replacement.
I thought that the loss of Andry’s position as mayor would surely infuriate supporters and bring some renewed numbers back to his cause… but it looks as though his movement is really losing steam, so that at least is good news.
I have found some interesting quotes in the news regarding Andry and how well he was performing on the job:
From Barry Bearak of the NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/04/world/africa/04madagascar.html?partner=rss&emc=rss):
“For the past two months, the mayor has not spent much time fulfilling his real duties; he only went into the streets to excite the crowds and create trouble,” said Andry Ralijaona, an official within the presidency, explaining the decision to remove the mayor.“The roads are not fixed; the rubbish is not cleared; and there are strange decisions, like the way he uses the symbols of his political party to decorate Antananarivo without consulting the people,” Mr. Ralijaona said. “He uses orange and blue, when the real colors of the city are yellow and a different shade of blue. We are not going to waste any more time trying to understand his psychology.”
Or this one from BBC UK (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7867512.stm):
Senior interior ministry official, Edmond Rakotomavo, told AFP news agency: “There was a decree issued by the interior ministry replacing the capital’s leadership with a special delegation.”We wanted to notify the mayor but he was not there.”
It doesn’t appear as though the mayor was taking care of the city since he had his aspirations to become president, so can anyone really blame them for firing him? Even right after the riots when everything went wrong, there was no apology, no stepping back to assess if things had gone too far, and no comforting those that had lost their family members or jobs. He seems to just continue on his way, stepping on his supporters to try and get the job he wants seemingly without a care in the world. I hope that the dwindling number of supporters represent a realisation by the Malagasy people that they are being used.
As for the crisis, I am starting to get the feeling that this is going to be the type of thing people are going to be embarassed about. I have this hunch that he is going to continue to come out and make progressively weaker and weaker threats until he is laughed out of Tana. It appears as though it has already begun. Maybe I will to list out the things that he says so that we can all be embarrased together:
1. Declaring himself president (more or less) on 01/31/2009:
“Since the president and the government have not taken their responsibilities, I therefore proclaim that I will run all national affairs as of today,” he said.”A request for the immediate resignation of the president will soon be filed with parliament in order to comply with the legal procedure.”
2. Declaring that all public and private institutions shut down and everyone obey his orders on 02/02/2009:
“Speaking at an anti-government rally Saturday in the capital, Antananarivo, Andry Rajoelina said he was now giving orders and called on the central bank not to deliver funds to the government and for ministries to close as of Monday.”
Did this happen? Not quite, hardly anyone showed up and nearly 100% of businesses/institutions were open for business.
3. Going from being president to being mayor again, but providing the president with a strict ultimatum on 02/03/2009:
“We will wait until Saturday. If there is no reply or peaceful solution from the president, then we will put in place a transitional government.”
Wait… what? Now with a failed shutdown you are going to put in a transitional government? What exactly is it that you are going to govern if everyone failed to accept your command of the nation? Getting a little embarassing…
4. The transition of his mayoral duties to Michele Ratsivalaka on 02/04/2009:
“From today, it is Michele Ratsivalaka who will run the Antananarivo commune,” Rajoelina said and handed his mayoral scarf to his new appointee.
It is almost like he is having an imaginary tea party with all these imaginary posts that he is making up. Andry you were fired, are you trying to put it back into their face by saying you quit? This is hilarious, is she going to show up in the mayors office tomorrow working alongside the appointed mayor? At the end of it all we might have a pretend government with a pretend municipal government governing Antananarivo in TGVland.
There is only so far that Andry can take this before people will stop following. He clearly is not in control of the country, that was proven on February 2nd. He is no longer mayor and his numbers are getting ever lower, so what is there left for him to do? I think you can bank on the impeachment papers not going anywhere (I don’t know if I ever got a clear understanding of why Ravalomana was being impeached). There will be no peaceful solution come Saturday, why would Ravalomana want to even talk anymore considering everything that has happened? I think we might just be seeing the initial death throes of the TGV movement.
I hope it is time for things to fade away, I am really hoping that this whole mess is over.