RIP Michael Jackson

I know that this is completely unrelated to the crisis in Madagascar, but I am going to make a stretch because he was known around the world by everyone and is part of almost everyone’s childhood.

Michael Jackson the king of pop dies today of a heart attack in LA.

Me and my wife both grew up listening to his music and are very sad at the news. There will never be anyone that will make an impact to the music industry quite the way that he did. He now joins the ranks of the other music legends.

No one will ever forget you MJ! Here are some links to the tragic news.


Free pass

So I was looking around the internet today to find out what has happened in the crisis since I have been busy as of late. Big surprise, I found a few articles that spurred me into actually writing a blog post about them.

Most of the articles that I have found revolve around the decision of the SADC and AU along with others to remove their unofficial, but implied support for Marc Ravalomanana and instead ensure that they do not look like they are in support of either Marc Ravalomanana or Andry Rajoelina.

While this is the position that they should have emphasized from the beginning, I guess you could say that it is good to keep all the mediators and international bodies impartial. The obvious problem to this impartiality is that it provides Andry Rajoelina a free pass to continue running the country as he sees fit, without fear of SADC or any foreign forces coming to ouster him from his illegitmate position of power. It also sets a precident (though I am sure the precident was set a long time before this) that the AU/SADC will not interfere or stop any illegitimate government from taking power and will only condemn and attempt to discuss a solution out of any crisis.

I personally think that it is far from effective (it may be right, but not effective) and it has such a human cost to stay diplomatic. You have seen what kind of a toll the long and drawn out diplomatic efforts had in Zimbabwe (many lives lost and ruined economy). Now if you look at the ‘unity’ government that was proposed, it almost looks like Tsvangirai has very limited ability and Mugabe is essentially still in control of the country despite that fact that Tsvangirai could have won an election if it wasn’t rigged or people harrassed and tortured into supporting Mugabe.

It would appear that all you have to do if you want to rule an African country of any kind is to start a coup, take over the government and refuse to co-operate with the AU and SADC. This will in-turn lead to endless so called ‘negotiations’, the leader of the coup can remain in control and have the upper hand at the negotiations bargaining table. Here my version of the SADC/AU/EU/US crisis procedure:

  • Condemnation
  • Removal of country membership from trading groups… etc.
  • Stop the non-humanitarian aid to the country
  • Begin political negociations
  • Wait for the illegitimate government to give in

This is exactly the case for Andry Rajoelina… everyone that knows of this crisis is aware that the government took power in a coup d’etat and therefore is illegal. It’s the same thing time and time again… the key thing, and the only thing that has major impact on the illegal government is the stoppage of non-humanitarian aid. It is key because this is the only ‘real’ pressure that could possibly cause an illegitimate government to agree to any terms outlined in a negotiation or to fall. There is no other reason, especially now, that Andry Rajoelina would need compromise on anything put forth by the AU, actually there is barely a reason to even participate. He can now send delegates to listen to the negotiations, draw out time, and then pull out of them completely again so we repeat the same process only with a different AU negotiator. The absolute only time that Andry Rajoelina would agree with anything put forth by the AU is if money is completely dry or some other threat is posed to their government, only as a cry for help essentially. I am sure that Rajoelina can make deals with people who could care less about the legitimacy of his government and just want access to Madagascar’s vast resources. We have already seen the Saudi’s (if that was even real) talk about investing… there is no reason why any other country or individual could not. There are many ways that Rajoelina can keep his government afloat (perhaps misusing humanitarian aid??), so what does he really have to worry about? Here are some excerpts from articles that almost highlight this fact:

Madagascar’s transitional authority has given a cool response to a call by Southern African leaders to speed up negotiations aimed at ending its three month-old political crisis.

«Dialogue is not a problem,» Monja Roindefo, the man Rajoelina calls his prime minister, told The Associated Press late Sunday. «The problem is when, under the pretext of international mediation, you force one party to accept the unacceptable.
Roindefo did not explicitly rule out further talks. No date has been set for resuming negotiations.

«Whether the negotiations are between heads of state or their deputies is of little importance,» Roindefo said. «What is most important is to see whether the talks reflect the change the people want, whether it reflects the democratic advances toward a new constitutional order.

Of course the transitional authority gives a cool response to SADC call for ending the crisis… all of the incentive to end the crisis are gone! There are no troops coming, there are no additional amounts of money being taken away from them… they can just continue doing what they are doing.

Poor Marc Ravalomanana though, he has lost almost all avenues of returning to Madagascar, short of hiring a mercenary army bigger than the Malagasy army with his own money. It is an interesting contrast to see an article from before:

“I trust Sadc (Southern African Development Community) and the AU (African Union) will help me to return to Madagascar,”

He maintains that he is still the lawful president of Madagascar and that he retains the loyalty of all but a small fraction of the military. “Right now they are split,” he said. “I didn’t want bloodshed in Madagascar, that’s why I didn’t order the military to fight each other.”

Mr. Ravalomanana scoffed when asked if he had spoken to Mr. Rajoelina since the coup. “Why?” he asked. “He’s crazy. He has destroyed Madagascar.”

To now:

“I welcome the Southern African Development Community’s decision to intensify and expedite its efforts to restore constitutional order and democratic rule in Madagascar,” Ravalomanana said.

As if Marc Ravalomanana has any choice now but to welcome the decision. He seemed to have people backing him throughout the crisis, but perhaps that was always an illusion. It is very clear now that there isn’t anyone but the legalist protesting in Madagascar that now back Marc Ravalomanana’s return, which is sad. What choice do legitmiately elected officials have when they are overthrown by a coup? Apparently none according to the AU/SADC, they just have to stay in a foreign country and wait for something dramatic to happen. All the while the illegal government erases and degrades their home country and all they can do is sit and watch helplessly as it happens.

Where does it go from here? Most likely another year’s worth of failed negotiations. Andry Rajoelina has just recently paid the promised raise to the military, so we can’t expect that they will overthrow the HAT. As I mentioned before, we can’t count on the AU/SADC to propose anything but negotiations, and at this point it is solely up to Andry Rajoelina to participate in them or not. There really isn’t any consequence to him or his government if he chooses to ignore them completely, so it looks like the HAT now has full control.

Having said that he has full control now, some of the stuff that he has been doing as of late doesn’t seem to make sense:

Madagascar’s transitional authorities have beefed up security across the crisis-hit island ahead of the national day and following a string of bomb alerts, security officials told AFP Monday.

“The three main branches of the security apparatus have been mobilised — around 30,000 people — and the 22 provincial heads are encouraged to sensitise the population,” Brigadier General Claude Ravalomanana said.

Madagascar’s president said in comments published Tuesday the man he ousted as the country’s leader was planning a coup in a bid to come back to power.

“Today there are people who are thirsty for power,” Rajoelina told French RFI radio in an interview recorded on Friday. RFI released written excerpts of the interview, which is due to be broadcast Thursday.

“There are people who are even ready to come and retake power with mercenaries. Everyone is talking about it. And that is what Mr Ravalomanana is doing,” Rajoelina said.

Ravalomanana is planning to perform a coup on an illegal coup government eh? I am not sure how that works, but so far, it appears that Ravalomanana is out of options and that he is resigning himself to accepting the AU/SADC decision. So how and why would he want to fund a military operation in Madagascar to restore him to power? It’s not like he can hire a special team of commandoes to go into Madagascar and take care of business, his hands are basically tied. Any action on Ravalomanana’s part to attempt to take back power by force would be condemned by the AU/SADC/US/EU, so if he were to do it and start a civil war, he would be no better than Rajoelina in the eyes of the international community. As sad as it is to say, Ravalomanana has hit a brick wall and will not be returning to Madagascar until Andry Rajoelina has been ousted.

I am not sure what kind of an impact this will have on the legalist movement, I suspect that the prospect of him not returning will have little impact. There are more than enough people that are unhappy with the current government, so as long as there is that sentiment, the legalist movement will continue to flourish. The only thing I guess we have to worry about now in Madagascar is for complacency to kick in… what will happen when the legalist decide that it is not worth their while to protest daily? If/when that happens, the HAT stranglehold on the country will be complete as it will imply that people are content with their new president.

All the news in the last few weeks have been nothing but disappointing… now we can only sit back and wish for a change. All the negotiations and talk are only going to prolong the crisis and make all the Malagasy suffer with the rapidly rising cost of living. Yet another sad set of days for Madagascar!

Allowing Madagascar to Crumble

First of, I should just say that this post will be more of a rant than anything else… I, along with most of you, am EXTREMELY tired of all the talks. I am not against diplomacy at all, in fact I would prefer that things get resolved peacefully… I am just frustrated that it is always the same thing.

So… on Saturday the SADC and AU had an “extraordinary” meeting to discuss what they were going to do about the worsening situation in Madagascar. Apparently, they just have “serious concerns” about the break down in talks and believe that peace will be achieved if “all parties” are committed to the process. The SADC also, much like the US and EU, have unilatirally rejected the use of force to return Marc Ravalomanana to Madagascar.

I wouldn’t call the SADC meeting “extraordinary”, the only “extraordinary” thing about the meeting is that people had come together on a Saturday to talk politics. We all could have waited until Monday… or even weeks for this meeting because it just means that there will be more of the same. Is this all there is to the resolution to the crisis in Madagascar? Just saying that everyone should play nice, have more talks and concede a little? Assigning yet another politician to fail to negociate with 4 ex-presidents? This is just more BS… this is just to generate buzz and get the SADC back in the news to make it look like they are doing something to resolve the crisis.

Are they really doing anything? Not really. To me it almost feels as though they are like vulchars circling around a mortally wounded Madagascar. We all know that Rajoelina doesn’t want to talk with Ravalomanana and wants to keep him out. We also know that he no longer wants to offer amnesty to former political exiles and wants to keep them out. We all know that nobody cares about what Albert Zafy does because he most likely will never be re-elected. So… where does that leave the talks exactly? Failed. They are failed currently and they will continue to fail until such a time that Madagascar falls apart to the point where Rajoelina will have no other option but to accept negotiations. Of course this will mean that people will have suffered and any progress that was made will have been virtually erased. And when this eventually happens, the SADC/AU will be there to claim that they have successfully brokered a peace deal in Madagascar when it was really political/economic circumstance that would have driven Rajoelina to agree to anything… like vulchars.

Couldn’t they do more? If they don’t want to use force, couldn’t they use other methods to hasten the demise of the HAT? The SADC/AU just talk tough, but are really taking no steps to assist Madagascar. They could have placed heavy restrictions on the HAT, they could place sanctions on them/Madagascar… something that would make the HAT squirm a little faster. As it is, they seem to be coming into a financial issue with the military so who knows how that will play out… but they really aren’t in a position that is terrible enough that they would have to agree to anything (and what WOULD they agree to if they were running out of options?). So as far as I can see, the HAT will continue plodding along making promises trying to maintain their grip on Madagascar… but their demise will only come once they run out of money or some other dramatic event unfolds.

It just p****es me off that we will have to go through another month or two of talks where each side will be making their demands until the next time that someone decides they have had enough and pulls out of talks. All we have to look forward to now is months of AP articles stating what Ratsiraka wants, what Ravalomanana wants and what Rajoelina is willing to do. All the while people are losing their jobs, the cost of living is increasing and Madagascar continues to spiral downward.

Here are some articles of the day that you can take a look at:

Leaders urge Madagascar solution

President in SA for Extraordinary SADC Summit

South Africa urges Madagascar crisis talks

Mediators for Madagascar

So they’re now openly threatening people with death sentences on radio…

Here is an interesting video from the satirical news network “The Onion” entitled “Ambassador Stages Coup At UN”. It kind of outlines the underlying theme of my post as to how useless these AU/EU/UN/SADC type organizations can sometimes feel:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Allowing Madagascar to Crumble“, posted with vodpod


Have we reached a plateau on the crisis in Madagascar? I am starting to think so. For the past week I have been going through news articles, twitter and most of the resources online and there is basically no news since COMESA stated that they would support military intervention:





See? That’s really all there is to the news for this past little while, it is like there is a silence. Is it the calm before the storm? You might think that with all of the announcements that have been occurring over the last little while with the imminent return of Marc Ravalomanana. But it would seem that the Ravalomanana movement are contradicting themselves by announcing the immanent return of Ravalomanana, while at the same time at a press conference just yesterday, announcing that they intend to return to the negociations table. But how can they possibly return to the negotiations table when the HAT has left the table because they in no way want to negociate if it involves amnesty and/or the return of Marc Ravalomanana. It does not seem to be possible, and it is getting hard to tell who is telling the truth anymore and if Ravalomanana will ever return to Madagascar.

But… that of course doesn’t stop the HAT and the military from being paranoid and on high alert though. As soon as COMESA announces that they are not against the use of military force to restore order to Madagascar, the military in Madagascar have been on high alert. A private jet lands in Arivonimamo and the military pounce on it, in the event that it contains Ravalomanana or their so called ‘mercenaries’. They have also just started this new ‘group’ called ‘Vigi Mada’ which will systematically verify information on international tourists.

So while the news stories start to slow down and negotiations grind to a halt, the impending and serious Malagasy recession is coming hard and fast. With no resolution to the crisis, there is a great deal of uncertainty for anyone who would even entertain the thought of investing in anything Malagasy. Here is a BMI graph that can also be found here:

meadfa5_20090612As you can see, the chart is trending down and you would be mad at this point (as an investor) to put any money into Madagascar unless you were sure that you would have some sort of long term gain that would not be trounced by another change in government. And because no one would want to invest, there is likely a direct impact on businesses in Madagascar not only from people being unsure about anything from Madagascar, but also directly from the various strikes that have been occurring across the country. At this point in time I bet it is very hard, if not impossible, to stay in business in Madagascar if you aren’t a foreign company.

But businesses are just the tip of the iceberg, all of Madagascar is now suffering since Rajoelina has taken power. Because of his illigitimacy the 70% of funding that Madagascar relies upon to operate has basically ceased:

According to wikipedia here are Madagascars sources of economic growth.

Madagascar’s sources of growth are tourism; textile and light manufacturing exports (notably through the EPZs); agricultural products; and mining. Madagascar is the world’s leading producer of vanilla and accounts for about half the world’s export market. Tourism targets the niche eco-tourism market, capitalizing on Madagascar’s unique biodiversity, unspoiled natural habitats, national parks and lemur species. Exports from the EPZs, located around Antananarivo and Antsirabe, comprise the majority of garment manufacture, targeting the US market under AGOA and the European markets under the Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement. Agricultural exports consist of low-volume high-value products like vanilla, litchies and essential oils. A small but growing part of the economy is based on mining of ilmenite, with investments emerging in recent years, particularly near Tulear and Fort Dauphin.[31] Mining corporation Rio Tinto Group expects to begin operations near Fort Dauphin in 2008, following several years of infrastructure preparation. The mining project is highly controversial, with Friends of the Earth and other environmental organizations filing reports to detail their concerns about effects on the local environment and communities.[32]

Autoclave enters Madagascar, 2008, as part of new mining operation

Several major projects are underway in the mining and oil and gas sectors that, if successful, will give a significant boost to the Malagasy economy.

In the mining sector, these include the development of coal at Sakoa and nickel near Tamatave. In oil, Madagascar Oil is developing the massive onshore heavy oil field at Tsimiroro and ultra heavy oil field at Bemolanga.

So I guess that the HAT didn’t have any idea the type of impact defying the international community would have on Madagascar. It is quite clear that the impact is huge and it is starting to have a big impact on the way that Madagascar is run  and worse is having an enormous impact on the cost of living and quality of life for Malagasy with the impact of the droughts and cyclones adding insult to injury. For someone who had rose to popularity on the backs of the poor, claiming that he is going to fight for them… it is funny that he refuses to do what is best for the country (and the poor) and just agree with the international communities demands for a free and fair election.

Actually, all the HAT seems to want to do is destroy any progress made by Marc Ravalomanana and just focus purely on keeping him out of Madagascar or punishing him if he comes back. If this is all the HAT wants to do for the country there can only be a bad ending to this crisis, that is, if it doesn’t drag on for a while first. I can imagine at some point problems will start between the HAT and the military (perhaps wages or something of that nature since they are having problems paying people already) that we will see things begin to break down. Even if they don’t this crisis that is just waiting for an excuse to blow up, as clearly Madagascar cannot continue to operate the way it is currently, the money will just dry up. Here is an interesting article on the current stalemate. Here is another with donors pressing for a resumption of talks.

It may turn out as predicted on IRIN in March that people will return to the streets as the economic downturn increases and may loose control all together of the military turns their back on him.

SADC/COMESA to oust Andry Rajoelina?

Sorry guys, have been very busy the last week and haven’t had time to post anything at all until now. It is suprising though, because over the span of a typical 10 days you wouldn’t expect much to happen other than the regular cycle of negotiations and demands. The past 10 days have been different as we have had:

  • Manandafy Rakotonirina cut off from all forms of communications.
  • A completely made up sentence for Marc Ravalomanana by a HAT judge to keep him out of Madagascar.
  • Legalists stating that they expect Marc Ravalomanana’s return by June 26th
  • 19 countries in COMESA supporting the return of Marc Ravalomanana by force if necessary.
  • 10 billion Ariary recovered from the sale of TIKO stocks??? (hardly makes sense to me)
  • HAT making up reasons not to allow either Marc Ravalomanana or Didier Ratsiraka back into Madagascar.

But before we get into all of that, I thought it would be interesting to post some links related to Andry Rajoelina’s fabulous birthday trip (which included the hijacking to make a pit stop in Dakar).

Here is an article from MyDago on the ‘fabulous life of a putschist:

It is a french article that basically runs through how nicely Andry Rajoelina took advantage of his current status to fly off to Paris to celebrate his 35th birthday (as I am writing, just found out that is down until 06/13/09… here is a cached link)

So one of the reasons why he turned the Air Madagascar flight on 28 May, is one of the reasons for which he has taken hostage the passengers of the plane, is one of the reasons that these passengers were forced to suffer for twelve hours waiting and flying over on Thursday 28 May 2009: to pay for a royal birthday dinner at the Eiffel Tower!

The other is a link to the actual response of the captain of the Air Madagascar flight that was diverted to Dakar at the whim of Andry Rajoelina via l’express Mada (also french): Apparently, the pilot is a staunch supporter of Andry Rajoelina and will not have anyone speaking badly of his president:

The commander who has 20 000 hours of flights to his credit and 23-year career with Air Madagascar, does not hesitate to put  to explain his decision. “We are working with the HAT and give him our support. We even have a social project that we will submit to the Government to advance the country, “he says.

With patriotic support he warranted a call to order to a foreign passenger who had dared to “insult” the president of the HAT when descending  the aircraft to Dakar. “I have never allowed and will never allow a foreigner to speak ill of my president and my country,” says Toto Alphonse.

Just thought I would share those little tidbits as I thought it was interesting that the new self imposed leader of Madagascar would choose to celebrate his birthday in France rather than his own country, knowing how that might look to the people of Madagascar. Rajoelina and the HAT government raked Marc Ravalomanana over the coals for buying a private jet to do presidential business but Rajoelina thinks it is more appropriate to take control of a passenger aircraft to do his government business before continuing to Paris for his birthday dinner.  That’s what the private jet was for! The only thing that could have made this story more funny is if he had taken Force One to do his little visit and then go onto Paris… apparently they still have it and are trying to sell it (according to Sobika on 05/30/09):

In 0100 still the minister of transport, the sale of Force One is currently underway.  The price is set at more than $ 60 million

Anyway… now onto the news:

Manandafy Rakotonirina cut off from communicating:

There wasn’t much press on this, but I would suppose it would be difficult to confirm as he would be hard to get a hold of. But this seems to be part of a growing trend (I don’t know if you would call it that as they have done this all along) of the HAT trying to suppress the voices and figures of their opposition.

There have been odd occurances as of late as well, primarily with They were a very good source of news up until about the 3rd of June when any sign of an update disappeared. It is very suspicious and I doubt that they decided to take a vacation from news and do something else. Even before this, they previously had a timeline of the days events (a good one) and then for some reason they just went to a few stories per day. If you ask me, it smells of oppression and I bet that Andry Rajoelina’s “people” found  TopMada and detained everyone involved.

I think the HAT propaganda machine is firing up once again to try and convince people that Ravalomanana is bad for Madagascar. It would make sense for them I guess because in order for them to maintain their illegitimate power, they will have to demonize and criminalize Ravalomanana as much as possible so that the people will see that there is no one else but the HAT. This is why they had this bogus charge for spending money on Force One.  The HAT is systematically trying to dismantle everything that Ravalomanana had done for the country and would erase him from history if it was something that they could do.

Bogus charge against Ravalomanana

On June 3rd, 2009,  a Madagascar court found Marc Ravalomanana guilty of buying a private jet.

Justice Minister Christine Razanamahasoa told reporters it was for buying a presidential jet. The court also fined Mr Ravalomanana $70m (£42m).

Really? For buying a private jet? Most countries have ‘official’ methods of travel for their high ranking politicians, so I would think that it should not be out of the question for Marc Ravalomanana to have a private jet of some kind to travel all around Madagascar and to whatever foreign meetings that a president may have to attend. It just makes sense… would anyone want the representatives of their country to represent them arriving on a bus or via regular commercial flights? How would that make the country look? Andry Rajoelina already showed the world how it would look to take a commercial flight and essentially underlines why it is necessary for a president or government official to have his own method of transportation. And it’s not like former presidents haven’t spent money on worse things either, I am sure there are many examples of that.

Essentially, this ruling is a tool. It is a tool that will do a few things for the HAT:

  1. Allow them to demonize and criminalize Marc Ravalomanana. They are continually trying to portray Ravalomanana as a criminal to the eyes of the public, and making him a fugitive from the law (law of the HAT) helps.
  2. Refresh all of those negative feelings around the purchase of the jet. They are trying to anger the people upset about the purchase of the jet again and are trying to make it appear as if they are doing something about it.
  3. Makes it illegal for Marc Ravalomanana to enter Madagascar. The only thing that was stopping Ravalomanana from returning to Madagascar was fear for his life, there was no legitimate reason that the HAT could go after him. Since they have this bogus charge, they can now arrest him on sight, and lock him away for absolutely no reason.
  4. Flout the law. They can also use this as a way to try and portray Ravalomanana as a criminal to the international community, in the same way that the HAT flouted the decision of the HCC. Basically… that a ‘Malagasy’ authority has found Ravalomanana to be guilty, so it doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say on the subject… the decision is legitimate.
  5. Remove Ravalomanana from negotiations. In addition to flouting the law, they will most likely try to use it as a tool to refuse to negotiate with Marc Ravalomanana. They most likely will also refuse to provide amnesty to the exiled polititions of 2002 as they are stating that this is a matter for the courts, and the courts only work as well as the HAT wishes them to.

Here are a few more articles on the subject:

Madagascar court sentences ex-leader in absentia (Reuters)

Jail term over jet scandal means nothing: Madagascar ex-leader (AFP)

Justice expéditive contre Marc Ravalomanana (Courrier International – FR)

It won’t be too long before the HAT tries to hold Ravalomanana responsible for everything that happened from January 26th to March 18th, 2009 I suspect.

19 countries in COMESA supporting the return of Marc Ravalomanana by force if necessary & Legalist expect return before June 26th.

This is the biggest story of the the past few months as it involves possible military action to remove Andry Rajoelina from power. COMESA a collection of 19 countries for a Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa stated that they should not condone unconstitutional change of governments and were mulling the possibility of military action:

“We welcome and agreed, as pronounced by the AU (African Union), to support SADC (Southern African Development Community) as they take a lead in efforts to restore constitutional order in Madagascar by examining all options, including the possibility of military intervention,” COMESA said.

“We can no longer be observers and protesters,”  Mugabe said.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Sunday called on members to act against the “cancer” of conflict on the continent.“We can no longer be observers and protesters,” he said.

Does anyone else see the irony in Robert Mugabe calling on African members to remove the ‘cancer’ of conflict from the continent? Anyway, it looks like the AU will continue to make an example of Madagascar (and not of Zimbabwe) by authorizing the use of force to return Marc Ravalomanana to his post as president. And because they have been using Madagascar as an example of how the AU/SADC/COMESA will deal with illegal coups, I suspect that whatever they do, they will be throwing all of their weight behind it because they will want to create a standard response to the illegal governments that seem to plague Africa.

I am on the fence with this proposed solution simply because of the ramifications of a foreign force invading Madagascar to put the HAT out of it’s misery. Knowing the HAT, they will tear everything down with them on their way down and certainly, the HAT and CAPSAT are already preparing for the possible invasion. But the end result of all of this most certainly will be war, between the forces loyal to the HAT and the invading African forces. And when there is war you can never tell how long it will drag on, and you certainly don’t know what kind of casualties it will cause.

I don’t agree and never will agree with what the HAT does, and I would love nothing more than to see them removed from all their illegal posts and punished, but I am not so confident about this restoration of democracy by force.  The reason behind that is mostly fear… fear for my family in Madagascar and fear for the casualties and fear for the length of time it would take to force everything back the way it was before the HAT had come into being. But looking at the long list of failed negotiations, you could almost say that nothing would happen if you pursued peaceful means as well. So you can see why I would be on the fence about this decision… as there is no apparent ‘easy’ way out of the crisis… the only thing we do know for sure is that there would be less casualties if they were to continue discussions… but that would allow the HAT to ravage the Madagascar economy more and set itself up to continue governing the country.

Here are some more links related to the COMESA decision:

19 COMESA states to intervene militarily in Madagascar?

The defenders of legality expect Marc Ravalomanana’s return before June 26th

Comesa mulls military action

Comesa mulls miltary action (news 24)

Madagascar action ‘not advisable’

Mugabe orders invasion of Madagascar

10 billion Ariary recovered from the sale of TIKO stocks

I just have to mention this one because it makes absolutely no sense to me.

If TIKO was owned by Ravalomanana and was basically being forced out forced out of business by the HAT wouldn’t the stocks for the company would be worthless?

I don’t know what kind of market they are trading in, but I would think by this time TIKO would be a penny stock.  How they got 10 billion Ariary from selling TIKO stocks is beyond me. If I believed that it was true, then I would have to think that there is some sort of miraculous TIKO recovery coming if people are buying up the stock and generating 10 billion Ariary. But since I don’t believe a thing they say, I have a couple of questions:

  1. Where did they get the authority to sell stock of a non-government company?
  2. How did they convince anyone to buy stock in a crippled and practically dismantled company? Have the somehow convinced an investor that this is a good thing to do?

Actually I guess those are rheotorical questions since we all know that they are lying and are just trying to make up excuses to declare to the public that they have money and that they don’t need those international donors.

HAT making up reasons not to allow either Marc Ravalomanana or Didier Ratsiraka back into Madagascar

So, the last thing I wanted to touch on was the way in which the HAT has been behaving. Does it not look like the HAT is trying to lock all other political figures out of Madagascar? Its easy enough to see with the bogus charges laid against Marc Ravalomanana to make him a criminal to give them a reason to arrest him and keep Marc from returning. But the relationship that the HAT has had with AREMA seems to be straining.

In his inauguration speech he gave thanks to the exiled political prisoners and says that there will be amnesty for them. A little later, he releases some political prisoners and grants the prisoners and exiles a presidential pardon… but not amnesty. And for a few months after that, the political exiles have been practically begging the HAT to grant them amnesty so that they can operate the way that they once did, but it always seems to be delayed.

The amnesty is something that is within Andry Rajoelina’s power to grant (at least while he has power), but he insists that it is something that must be brought into negotiations and something that cannot be decided upon until June.  This doesn’t make sense, especially since they will be negotiating amnesty when they have already condemned Marc Ravalomanana who is also part of the negotiations (for how long who knows). So how long until the next delay?

I think the truth is starting to come out, and the HAT is trying to convince all of Madagascar that they are the only solution and that any other political figure is basically a criminal. And since the HAT’s opponents are not ‘legally’ allowed to return to Madagascar, there is no one strong enough that could stand against the HAT. Didier and Marc are big political figures that everyone can identify with… can anyone take their place? Not likely, the HAT would quash any opposition before they had a chance to say a word.

The HAT are going to have free and transparent elections… but only when all of their strongest opponents have been removed from the country.

I am not sure what is in store for the country… but I am sure that there will be action some time soon.  And as soon as you see reporting increase and foreign reporters arriving in Madagascar, you can be sure something will be happening.