Military Junta

It has been 6 days since my last post and so much has occurred since then that this will most likely end up being an enourmous read. But what has been happening since the HAT has banned public protests has been outrageous and incomprehensible. I have been shaking my head wondering how it is possible such a beautiful country to decline so rapidly for a reason I have yet to find. How could the closure of one radio station lead to such a travesty?

And what bugs me most about everything that has happened up to this point is the hypocracy of the HAT government. A government that forced itself into power standing for their freedom of speech, freedom of expression and to rally. Promising the people that if they placed him in power he would solve all of their financial problems and make sure that the government does not waste money on such things as an government jet.

Since the roles have been reversed and he is calling the shots, he has done the exact opposite of what he had promised and is not listening to people at all, behaving no differently than a dictator. Banning all rallies that oppose his government, using force consistently to disperse protesters, using false accusations to gain access to buildings, mines and to arrest people, and actually reversing their opinion on one of the key issues that had easily given them their popularity, the DAEWOO land deal:

“The project by itself wasn’t bad and such a project is welcome,” Andrianainarivelo said in an interview in the capital Antananarivo yesterday. “The approach was wrong,” he added, citing protests by local communities.

Everything they had stood for when they were rallying against Ravalomanana was a lie, and I hope the supporters of Andry TGV now understand what kind of a mistake they made by supporting him.

But the support from the people that TGV had was just window dressing, it was the army support that tipped everything over the top and you really have to wonder what kind of deal was made to make this terrorist government happen.  That is an issue that we need to get to the bottom of because it is the only thing that is keeping the HAT in office.

Clearly there is some form of monetary incentive for them to go against their superiors and rebel, as well as do things that an army typically would not do. The army it seems, at least lately, is a bigger problem than the HAT itself! In recent days the military has been seen dispersing crowds by force, hunting down and arresting protestors (and on occasion killing), senators, and soldiers or anyone that remains loyal to Marc Ravalomanana.  My family tells me that it is not really that safe to be outside in Madagascar anymore no matter who you are siding with as apparently they stop people on a whim. What kind of country do you have if the military is behaving in this manner? I think which I haven’t read today, but only glanced at the front page has it right, Madagascar is being run by a military junta.

It is truly pathetic, and now along with the HAT, the going theme for the month is to arrest people as a matter of “national securitiy”. As if anyone in Madagascar now has any security with his government! There is no such thing as “national security”, there is only “HAT security” as he is only doing these things to try and prolong his stay as the High Authority of Transition… god… I still laugh out loud when I write that because of how absurd that title is. You have to laugh about the fact that the title itself is proof of the illegality of Andry Rajoelina’s postition… he thinks that just re-naming the presidency somehow makes it constitutional to do what he is doing.

But I digress… ever since they have been trying to clamp down on TIKO by raiding their trucks and re-opening foreign contracts they have been sending the military everywhere under the guise of protecting the national interest so they can search for supposed weapons and mercenaries. I don’t think anyone ever believed for a second that they were actually doing that, we all know that they have alterior motives to almost everything that they do. But recently because of the HCCs decision to reverse it’s endorsement to the legality of the HAT, they almost made it comical as to how bogus their excuses are for arresting people. When I read this article or this one,  I almost laughed. Right after they reverse the decision, the army heads over to the HCC. They first disperse the crowd and reporters by gunshot (in the air) and then continue on their merry way, you know, making the point that people and reporters are not welcome on the scene.  Then minutes later, after all the army has had a chance to go inside they suddenly have a change of heart and welcome everyone to the scene… and what do you know… there are weapons hidden in the HCC… how did they ever get there??? (sarcasm). Why do they even bother to make excuses anymore, seriously!

It is too little too late for the HCC though, I saw the story and was excited to see that they have finally decided to cross back over to the legal side of things. But what difference does it really make now? It would have made every bit of difference on 03/17 or 03/18 whenever the date was because there would have been no doubt about the illegality of the HAT. But now how would a decision from anyone change the government of Madagacar? Now the HAT and military are trying to cover up their oppression by using a Ravalomanana loyalist as a scape goat. Planting weapons and stating that Andrianandraina Ralitera was somehow behind Black Monday and is trying to destablize the country and “To discredit the transition regime”. Well, I don’t think the HAT needs any help discrediting themselves, they are doing a great job on their own.

Where do we go from here then? They can’t trust the military. They can’t trust the government. They can’t count on the government for help because the government can’t help itself. They can’t protest. They can’t speak out against the government. Their freedom is essentially gone and there is no international body that is helping them.

Mialy Andriamananjara wrote a great article on how the transitional government is trampling on freedom of speech and just how bad it is in Madagascar right now. You can read it here.

But in terms of help, it almots appears as though the international communities are softening their stance on Madagascar, and that is very concerning. There have been rumours and news articles stating that Andry Rajoelina has been invited to a UN conference in Brussels. Most people thought that it was a lie and it is just more grand standing being done by the HAT to try and alter perception. I hope it’s true, I really do not want to see him accepted by the international community because that would make all us members accomplices to what is going on over there. What is worse than this though is the SADC, the group that all legalists were pinning their hopes of salvation on. They have had 2 delegations visit Madagascar in the past week trying to “assess” the situation. But from some of the articles I am reading it sounds is if they along with the AU are softening their positions as well. Check out these alarming paragraphs from this article. The key to the paragraphs is that they are based on a press release issued by Andry Rajoelina… so it is most likely a lie. But if there are no results release to the international press by the SADC, what are we to think?

“The Madagascan transitional government said that the SADC, which left the country Tuesday afternoon, was satisfied with the efforts of the High Transitional Authority (HTA) to establish peace and democracy over the country.”

A press release issued by the HTA said that the SADC delegation, led by John Kunene, a political analyst under Defense ministry of Swaziland, held closed-door consultations with HTA cabinet director, Zazah Ramandimbiarison and foreign minister Ny Hasina Andriamanjato.”
The press release said that the SADC delegation was satisfied with the HTA efforts to seek consensus in the country, saying that SADC was willing to lend a helping hand to restore constitutional order in the island country.

As he told the transitional foreign minister Ny Hasina Andriamanjato last Saturday, Kunene reiterated that SADC had no intention to send armed troops to Madagascar, nor to help the outgoing president Marc Ravalomanana return home.

It took the media here by surprise that the SADC delegation, arrived here last Thursday, has not met the press during their 5-day stay in the country, though Kunene, the head of delegation, had promised to informed the media of the results of its visit.

The regional community seemed to soften its position on Rajoelina and his transitional government together with the African Union, which also suspended the membership of Madagascar.

The only good paragraph is :

All representatives of international and regional organizations based in Madagascar and partners of the country had been invited for the contact group meeting, main tasks of which were to prepare for an earlier national election.

So at least we will have early elections hopefully… but it doesn’t seem like we will have much else. And all the while we wait for political negotiations to occur and this conflict to come to an end, the rest of Madagascar suffers. There are 150,000 people that are suffering from malnutrition and drought in the south and on the coast there are 60,000 people that were affected by hurricane Jade. There are some articles here and here that discuss how the rest of Madagascar suffers. And because of the new HAT government donors are slow to help:

“Donors are waiting for the HAT [Higher Transitional Authority] to show that it is [honest], said Guy Ratrimoarivony, a retired General and Director of Strategic Seminars at the Centre for Diplomatic and Strategic Studies in the capital, Antananarivo. Donor re-engagement would be easier if HAT showed a genuine commitment to holding fresh elections, “and as soon as possible”, he told IRIN.

I guess we all have to wait for a miracle, don’t we?

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