HAT going bust?

Over the last week there has been some interesting news and for the most part seems to indicate that the HAT is running low on cash. Here are some of the news stories that have occurred since the 8th of July:

  • Saudi Prince Alwaleed visited Madagascar for only 5 hours.
  • Finance minister Benja Razafimahaleo states that he has a 10 million USD loan from OPEC.
  • Michèle Ratsivalaka, TGV installed mayor of Tana was ousted by city council on a vote of 44 to 10.
  • The HAT government has agreed to hold elections by the end of the year.
  • The legalist movement goes on tour.

Saudi Prince visits Madagascar:

So despite what the HAT may say about how good their resources are, and how they are cleaning up the supposed financial mess left for them by Ravalomanana (if you call mess economic growth), all the news on the internet would say that the HAT is steadily moving towards financial difficulty.

There are many articles on Reuters that relate to this, but here is an excerpt from one that provides a quick forecast on just how long the HAT government could last:

However, analysts have questioned how long Rajoelina’s administration can survive without donor aid, which makes up some 70 percent of the country’s budget.

“The government does not have much time given the significant foreign component of the budget. (However) private investment may also be a valuable alternative through FDI flows, and for an injection of foreign exchange,” said Lydie Boka of the risk-consultancy StrategieCo..

Other important donors to have frozen non-emergency assistance include the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United States and Norway. The SADC suspended Madagascar’s membership after the power-grab in March.

Right there you can see that the international community has essentially wiped out 70% of the money that the Malagasy government has to use to operate. Now if they are only operating at 30% capacity and have recently paid quite a bit of money to keep the military happy, what money is left in the government coffers? Probably not much. And with all of the advertising (money and jestures) the HAT has to do to try and convince Malagasy citizens and the international community that they are a “good” government (if that is possible)… the HAT government is probably running on fumes. You can also wager a guess that because the HAT government actually agreed to having elections by the end of 2009 that they are in desparate need of that frozen 70% aid and want to have international recognition.

While we are “reading” into things, you can probably also take something away from Prince Alwaleeds 5 hour visit to Madagascar and the very few visits that have been reported with the Saudi investors. Obviously a 5 hour could not amount to much, and since we have not seen anything come of the 2 billion dollars from the memorandum of understanding for projects that was signed around 05/06/2009:

Even back at this time you can see that the HAT is already spinning the news to make it seem as if there is no problem, that the investment will be BIG and that essentially this will solve all of Madagascar’s problems. One thing I didn’t notice, but just did when posting the link was the fact that the Saudi’s refused to quantify their investment in this memorandum. So since then, all the way up to now we have heard virtually nothing on the money and have only heard rumours of a water export type project.  Given that the two most recent Saudi visits have not yielded any firm investment pledges it would appear that the HAT having a financial saviour has been nothing more but smoke and mirrors from them.

The government has said new investors are ready to fill the void should traditional donors shun Madagascar. But two recent visits by Saudi delegations yielded no firm investment pledges.

Benja Razafimahaleo states that he has a 10 million USD loan from OPEC:

So based on the above information, it should be no surpise that I am calling out the Benja Razafimahaleo statement of the 10 million USD loan complete and utter BS. When was there an announcment that he was going to visit the US to discuss anything? Why would the US allow him to enter the country if they have no business with the illegal government? I highly doubt that Benja had even set foot on US ground, and I would think that if there was any sort of a deal signed with OPEC that it would be in the news, if only for the fact that OPEC would be conflicting directly with the US’ stance on the illegal government of Madagascar. I can not find any other information on this other than the below link:

The minister also commented on his trip to Washington from June 18 to July 3, saying that the Madagascan government had contracted a loan of 10 million U.S. dollars from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development on July 2, 2009.

I hope this means that the HAT government has cried wolf  for too long and that now anything they say becomes completely unbelievable (not that it really was in the first place).

The ouster of TGV Antanananarivo mayor Michèle Ratsivalaka:

I found this to be an interesting story simply because is it is a form of rebellion against the HAT government who has been installing it’s own people in important places across Madagascar. We don’t know how the HAT will deal with this at the moment, but the fact that a municipal government is kicking out a federally installed politician is fantastic and I think it does 2 things:

  1. Breaks the long political silence that has been created by fear of repercussions on opposing the HAT.
  2. Starts to show that people are starting to have enough of the HAT federal government.

It is great that after so long, finally, someone is booting out an unjustly “installed” political figure. You might say that the installation of Guy Rivo Randrianarisoa by Ravalomanana to replace Andry Rajoelina is also unjust… but I think I would have to disagree. In the case of Guy Rivo Randrianarisoa, Andry Rajoelina was so busy pursuing his presidential aspirations that he was neglecting his duties as mayor. Sure it worked to Marc Ravalomanana’s advantage to boot him out to try and discredit him, but still, you had a mayor that was never in office, busy protesting daily instead of working with city council. I am not sure what he was like before the protests, but from what I read it wasn’t much better. This ejection of Michèle Ratsivalaka is basically the same thing… she was installed by the HAT, but apparently was not doing her job according to these links anyway:

If she is voted out by 44 of 54 people, there has to be a reason. Hopefully this will begin a whole spur of HAT rejections… but perhaps I am just being hopeful.

Elections have been moved up to the end of the year:

As I mentioned earlier, this is probably the most significant indicator that the HAT is in trouble. Previous to the news on the HAT accepting the elections you had seen in the news that they liked to show that they were in control and did not want to agree to anything that was proposed. They wanted to convince everyone in Madagascar and internationally that they were going to be setting the rules and setting up a “National Conference” to prepare for elections when they saw fit.

Suddenly, they are accepting international demands for the quickest possible election? That’s a complete about face I would say… it is pretty indicative of problems they are having or may have soon. Here is a Xinhuanet article on the shortened transitional period:

“The high transitional authority agreed to shorten the transitional period and to hold a national election before the end of 2009 due to difficulties to reach a compromise between Madagascan stakeholders,” Rajoelina said in a debate organized by the official Madagascan television channel on Friday.

The announcement was made at a time when the special envoy of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Joachim Chissano, is visiting the island country to seek a peaceful solution to the current political crisis in the country which began last December.

Rajoelina insisted on holding a national referendum on a new constitution in September following a national conference, scheduled to be held soon.

You can see from the very last line that it seems rushed and that it seems as though Rajoelina is desperate to put in a new constitution before the elections that would no doubt allow him to run for president (which would explain the announcement of TGV becoming a political party).

I bet that in the next few weeks/months of negotiations that you are going to start to see concessions from the HAT simply because agreeing to this new transitional schedule smells of desperation. I think that they are facing the need for the missing 70% of funding and finally realize that they cannot possibly go it alone and will have to start cooperating with the international community to get the money that they want.

Perhaps this problem will be solved at the end of this year and we can look forward to a better year in 2010 for Madagascar… or, maybe it is just me being hopeful again.

Legalist movement is going on tour to promote the return of Marc Ravalomanana:

Lastly I wanted to mention this because I have always had the fear that the rallies for those who oppose the HAT were going to somehow die out should there not be any progress. I am glad to know that my fear is unfounded and that there is a growing mass of dissatisfaction with the HAT government in many cities across Madagascar.

So much so that the legalists are basically going on tour from city to city to rally for the return of Marc Ravalomanana and to get rid of the HAT government.

At the end of week, the leaders of the pro-Ravalomanana demonstrations went to the city of Antsirabe, 170 km to the south of Antananarivo. They mobilized the local population to support the call for the exiled president’s return. It’s finally not a too complicated operation in a city massively supporting the exiled president’s cause.

Since some weeks, sensitization rallies have also been organized in the peripheral townships of the capital.

Today, the pro-Ravalomanana intends to regain the other main cities of the Great Isle’s different regions. A rally is already programmed for the next incoming days in Toliara (South) and Antsiranana (North).

Keep up the good work guys!

Hopefully this thing is coming to a head and the people of Madagascar can return to the normal life they knew with a legitimate government.


    2 Responses

    1. I had heard from sources close to Mme Ratsivalaka that she was not particularly popular with the HAT because she was unwilling to blindly follow their lead. Do not ignore the possibility that her removal is more of a question of the HAT making her the scapegoat for its own ineptitude.

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