As I suspected TGV made full use of women and children today on it’s march on the ministries, and it would appear that their gamble has paid off. At the end of the day on February 19th, 2009 TGV has taken control of the following ministries:
- The ministry of Interior
- The ministry of Education
- The ministry of Security
- The ministry of Planning
TGV has changed the locks on all ministries and has it’s people guarding the buildings, so it has effectively taken control of… “buildings”. It is still not clear to me (and I doubt it is to anyone else) what it is exactly that they gain by having these buildings other than the ability to finally show TGV followers that they accomplished something. Does anyone think that they can just plop their ministers in and in the days/weeks ahead they would work just fine with the rest of the country? People have to remember that the people that are being “installed” are not elected, they were chosen by Mr. TGV and you can be assured that it wasn’t in the people’s best interest that he chose them. Does the rest of the country get a say in what happens in Madagascar or is it only the fluctuating 10 – 25,000 people that follow TGV that do?
This whole crisis is unfair to a country who has already had to suffer through a crisis in 2002 and try to recover economically since then. The difference between then and now is that the crisis revolved around the results of an election, not the government shutting down a TV station because of security reasons. If this crisis were spawned over the same reasons, it would be understandable, but we have yet to hear a good reason why this crisis started in the first place. TGV also has to provide a good explanation as to how they plan to improve Madagascar. If people really did look at what TGV is doing they would see that instead of improving Madagascar TGV has been devastating its tourism industry and local businesses.
And where this whole crisis is heading? Who knows? Will it end in a military crack down? The arrest of the TGV “transitional” government? The collapse of the existing government? On so many occasions I thought for certain that TGV had outlived it’s usefulness and the people would have either stopped showing up or turn against the TGV. I thought for sure that the financial implications of not working for so long or the devastating effects of the looting would have been enough end this crisis, but it appears that it doesn’t make any difference. I was almost convinced enough to say that stopping TGV from installing its ministers at every turn would have been enough to upset its followers into turning or not following, but their breakthrough today ruined that thought.
One thing is for certain though, this crisis is not going to be ended via dialog even though that is the only way that makes sense. TGV has already stated that it is not going to negotiate unless Ravalomanana is no longer president. The funny thing about the dialog is that we now have 6 mediators involved with the most recent President Abdoulaye Wade who is accepting a request to mediate the crisis. How many mediators do we need to broker a deal? Will it even/ever work? Since TGV clearly doesn’t want to negotiate is there even a point? The only good thing about the announcement is that President Abdoulaye Wade helped to resolve the crisis in 2002, so hopefully it could at least mean a little bit of progress.
I still think this is an all or nothing deal though, I don’t think any amount of mediating is going to change the direction of TGV. No one really knows who is behind the movement, but it has been said on several occasions that people believe this crisis stems from the old politicians that were with Ratsiraka. I found this article today on IRIN news that has this quote:
“Rajoelina is only the tip of the iceberg,” an analyst who wished to remain nameless told IRIN. “He is just a spokesman and everyone with a grievance against the president has got behind him, but this is really the politics of manipulation and revenge.”
Maybe it is all about revenge? Maybe the old politicians want to put Ravalomanana through what their government went through in 2002? Whatever the case, there is no justification for it… the longer this goes on, the longer everyone in the country hurts.
I think today “could” have been much worse than it was and thankfully the people were let through so they could occupy the empty buildings. The problem now is though, because they have actually captured these buildings it will now be viewed as a “success” and no doubt all the TGV propaganda machines are hard at work trying to tell everyone how amazing this is. They are also probably trying to tell everyone that the reason they were let through today was because they control of the army. The real reason that they were let through is so that we would not have a bloody weekday to add to the list. Hopefully this does not cause their support base to grow, because again I am starting to wonder what the government can do to counter this blatant disregard for law. I hope that they just get down to work arresting everyone involved because I am sure that it is not legal to take a government building as your own and change the locks. Actually… part of me was hoping that there were police inside waiting to arrest the ministers that broke in… that would have been a great surprise! What a let down.
I can’t wait to see what the government and the international community will have to say on the events that transpired today. But until then, above is an interesting video that I found from Reuters on the crisis (had trouble embedding for some reason). Also, here is the link to the 2nd part of the Deconstruction of the crisis.