Reaching the inevitable conclusion

I am sure that it was no big surprise that the negotiations in Maputo for the second part of the Maputo accord would end in failure, especially since you are asking 4 people that have been and would like to be president again. Though all the involved parties agreed that they would decide who would lead the transition by September 4th, I don’t think there is anyone that can be truly hopeful that anything will be resolved by September 4th, especially since they all have their own ideas as to how this transition should be run.

Les Nouvelles had a nice list of the proposals from each of the 4 parties:

Rajoelina: “The Presidency and the Prime Minister’s Office of Transition we must return,”said Andry Rajoelina had when he left the International Conference Center Joaquim Chissano at the end of the day Wednesday, around midnight.

Ravalomanana: “The movement Ravalomanana will never accept the legitimacy of the author of an unconstitutional change in the presidency. We would not be either complicit or responsible for such a bad example for the region and the continent, even for the world. It would be an international validation of the breach of an international convention which is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights “, the movement had stressed in a statement in Wednesday night.

It remains to be seen whether his position will change if the movement Rajoelina losing ground.

Ratsiraka: After suggesting to appoint a woman as prime minister, he would have proposed the idea to appoint a general officer as chairman of the Transition. Marc Ravalomanana would have joined.

Zafy: The movement has proposed to increase Andry Rajoelina to preside over the transition.

The odd thing that I have noticed about the negotiations is that it would seem that Ratsiraka and Ravalomanana are almost allies, despite the fallout of the political issue occurring in 2002. In the Les Nouvelles article above, it would seem that Ravalomanana would not have a problem accepting Ratsiraka’s proposal. Also in the La Verite article below, they are both in agreement that if Rajoelina were to lead the transition, it would be nothing more than legitimizing Rajoelina’s coup d’etat:

A “package” that was not the taste of Didier Ratsiraka, who reportedly said, who wants to hear in the boardroom, that “a coup is not being appointed Head of State”. What led him to propose that the position of a number of Transition will return to the mainstream Zafy. The Red Admiral was not alone in his assault against Andry Rajoelina, insofar Marc Ravalomanana, who found an “ally” at his side, also put his family in the crossfire to indicate that ” there is no question of granting the leadership of the Nation to a coup. “ And he, in turn, suggest that Didier Ratsiraka was “inducted” Chairman of the Transition.

It almost appears as though it is Ravalomanana/Ratsiraka vs. Rajoelina/Zafy doesn’t it? I am not quite sure why Zafy is siding with Rajoelina for him to lead the transition, but then, nobody really knows why Zafy was involved and what he and his party stood for… and apparently that is to see the TGV succeed in their coup d’etat. At least all the lines are drawn in the sand and we can almost say that we know the stance of each of the 4 parties.

But does it matter? No. It is going to take some sort of disaster to force Rajoelina to agree to having someone else other than himself to head the transition. And from the sounds of it, that point has not been reached and he will continue to go to all negotiations (only to delay sanctions/problems for his government) thinking that only he can lead the transition… which is the heart of the problem.

All negotiations will continue to fail so long as Rajoelina is thinking that he is the man to lead Madagascar out of its current crisis. Does it make sense that the cause of the crisis should be leading and shaping the resolution to the crisis? Not really. I, and many others have said before, there should be a neutral party heading the transition until legitimate elections can be held to let the people decide who should be leading their country.  But so long as Rajoelina continues to run the country, and negotiations call for a person to lead the transitional government… this crisis will never end, unless of course the previously mentioned disaster happens.

That disaster may be the effect of the sactions that (rumour has it) are going to be discussed by the SADC on September 6th and 7th. But even if sanctions are discussed at the SADC meeting, it’s not like we would see instantaneous results… after all, we are talking about a group of politicians in a country other than Madagascar deciding what to do. I don’t think you would see any santions (if they even happen) for at least 1 to 2 months.

And on top of it all… EVEN if Rajoelina was to cave into the demands of the negotiators demands, there is every indication (via various articles/posts) that the military would not respect any agreement reached that does not benefit them. Recently Crazy Commander Charles has stormed the Ivato airport looking for Ravalomanana’s prime minister Manandafy Rakotonirina for saying (and I am not completely sure) something to the effect of “The soldiers of the SADC cannot/should not contain malagasy soldiers”. You can find the article here courtesy of the Madagascar Tribune. In the same article he also threatens the negotiator president Joachim Chissano that he will do something if he sets foot in Madagascar, and that Manandafy should be taken to court for disgracing the Malagasy army.

So it is almost as if Rajoelina doesn’t have any choice… perhaps, as speculated the Malagasy army is really in control of things. So I wouldn’t be holding my breath on seeing any results on September 4th, you will most likely see some grand standing, but not much else. So long as Rajoelina wants to head the transition, Ravalomanana will oppose it, and this will most likely end or stall on negotiations now and going forward.


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Rajoelina as transitional leader for the win…

Boy it has been a while since I have posted anything, sorry about that, but it is difficult to blog when you are on vacation.

So not even a week goes by and the charter that was signed in Maputo is in jeopardy from both Andry Rajoelina and the Malagasy Army. Should we be surprised?

I was watching the news roll by while on vacation and got to thinking that we have all been putting too much blind hope into the Maputo accord. We have been waiting patiently for almost 9 long months now to have the political issues  resolved so that Madagascar can return to normal and perhaps lost sight on who we are dealing with… Andry Rajoelina.

If you look at everything that has been happening over the past little while, keep in mind that you are dealing with Andry Rajoelina… then lose some hope, you would have clearly seen the Maputo Accord negotiations are really just Andry Rajoelina’s plan of legitimizing his claims to power and/or stalling talks. It was right there in front of our eyes for the longest time and I am surprised that we didn’t pick up on this sooner.

If you put everything together it makes perfect sense:

So while we were all hopeful that the Maputo accord was the nail in the coffin of this crisis, Andry Rajoelina says this when returning to Madagascar after the initial talks (before they work out who will be leading the transitional government):

“It is unimaginable that anyone else should lead the transition. Even if others have tried all they can to see that I don’t lead the process,” Rajoelina said in an interview on television late on Friday.

“The position of vice-president, prime-minister and ministers should all be consensually chosen. But nothing in the charter says the president must be appointed by common accord,” Rajoelina said.

“The armed forces are one and indivisible. All we wish is the development of the country,” Rajoelina said.

And this is all just from a single interview! It is very clear from the above 3 quotes that the HAT has absolutely no intention of allowing anyone else to lead the transitional government. On top of this, we found out a day or so before Andry Rajoelina’s interview that the Malagasy army has no intentions of allowing this either by rejecting the stipulation of the accord that states the army should be ‘depoliticized’:

According to the charter signed in Maputo by the “political movements” Malagasy, the CRDSN must be “composed of two members nominated by political movements, with two representatives from each movement.” This method of designation is to “the provisions (…) advocating the depoliticization of the armed forces” promised by the transitional regime led by Andry Rajoelina Justice press release. “All the objections likely to cause dissension in armed forces are no longer tolerated (…). Therefore, appropriate measures will be taken, “adds the text without further explanation. (FR)

or

Madagascar’s armed forces, which played a key role in the eviction in March of president Marc Ravalomanana, on Friday “categorically rejected” one clause in a peace deal negotiated in Mozambique.

In a statement signed by the armed forces minister, Colonel Noel Rakotonandrasana, and by the chiefs of staff of the army and the paramilitary gendarmerie force, the soldiers “categorically rejected (a provision) for the creation of a think tank on defence and national security (CRDSN).”

So it appears that we are heading directly for another failed negotiation, unless of course the mediators somehow come to an agreement that Andry Rajoelina should lead the transition. Hopefully they are not in a hurry to write the Malagasy crisis of 2009 off and do something crazy like that, but if they do, they would be handing Andry Rajeolina everything he wants. I would almost guarantee that if this were to happen that the transition would either be postponed or rigged so that Andry Rajeolina could continue his illegal rule of the country.

If you ask me, what needs to happen is that none of the 4 leaders are to lead the transitional government of the country and we need to balance the power among those involved in the crisis until an election can happen. There are just too many people that have their own agenda and interests that will not serve Madagascar well.

But what will end up happening, and what almost everyone is hinting at now is that there are doubts that a continuation on the Maputo accord talks will even occur:

Mistrust and manoeuvring have dominated the run-up to the next meeting after Andry Rajoelina, who toppled Ravalomanana with military backing in March, said last Friday only he could lead the transition.

“It is next week’s meeting that will determine who is President,” Fetison Andrianirina, head of Ravalomanana’s delegation, said by telephone. “If the first Maputo agreement is not respected then Maputo II has little chance of succeeding.”

So the second round of talks will be the all or nothing deal that Andry Rajoelina wants. I am sure that he will attend, but upon the instant that he is not nominated to be the leader of the transition, the HAT walks from the table. The case for this has been made perfectly clear in quotes from the 3 articles above. As much as I would have liked to say that the end is near for the crisis, I don’t think we are even close to having this crisis resolved at all.

Now that I have had some time to reflect on the accord, I am starting to think that Marc Ravalomanana does not stand a chance at returning to Madagascar or participating in the upcoming elections. The feeling that I am getting from the blogosphere is that Marc Ravalomanana (because he is the former president) would be the biggest risk to the HAT government and therefore would be blocked by the HAT  by any means necessary.

In almost every report of the agreement to the Maputo accord you see this quote (or something similar):

Earlier, Mr Ravalomanana said that under the terms of the agreement, he would not take part in the transitional period, although his party would.

“In the interests of the nation, and following consultations, it seems reasonable to me to not participate personally,” he said.

But he added that he would return to Madagascar, where he would be granted an amnesty from a conviction for abuse of power handed down in June. He was also fined $70m by the court in Antananarivo.

In addition to this, I remember seeing in an article (that I cannot find at the moment) that Marc Ravalomanana was only going to return to Madagascar when it is deemed ‘safe’ to do so. So when exactly would it be ‘safe’ to do so?

Certainly that is not going to be until the elections are held in 15 months, and even then depending on the results of the election it still may not be safe (if either Rajoelina or Ratsiraka wins). The first thing that will happen when he even sets foot in the country will be a brand new charge that will come out of nowhere inevitably leading to a indefinite sentence.

If this was before the election, there would be no doubt that Marc Ravalomanana would not be able to participate being a criminal from all these new charges. If he chooses to run for president, he would be dependent on his party members in Madagascar to run his campaign as he could not be physically there to participate. So… the campaign would rely mostly on people loyal to him, since there would be no ‘face time’, it would present some difficulties in campaigning.

The HAT will be pulling out all of the stops if we actually make it past Maputo II (the second round of talks to determine the president… etc) to ensure that Marc Ravalomanana is not a part of the upcoming elections. If we don’t make it past Maputo II, then just look for the next news article stating who the next negotiator will be… and chalk Maputo up to be another failure.

An agreement is reached.

The 4 presidents (TopMada)

As much as I thought that the crisis would last forever, it seems that a mediator has finally brought in an agreement that all parties could agree on. There isn’t a lot of information on this really, but here are the main points of most of the articles:

  • A transitional period of 15 months
  • Legislative and presidential elections will be held during the transition, monitored by international observers
  • Marc Ravalomanana does not participate in the transitional government (though his party will)
  • Amnesty will be granted for both Ravalomanana and Ratsiraka allowing them both to return to Madagascar

There hasn’t really been any other details of the accord revealed, but I am sure that they will bring them forward soon enough.

Here are the 3 stories that I have found so far regarding the accord:

BBC

Xinhua

AFP

WA Today

Reuters

It would be interesting to know if any of the fines that were levied against either Ravalomanana or Ratsiraka will be applied, or if the accord is just wiping the slate completely clean.

What is more interesting though is that all these ex-leaders get to return to Madagascar and participate in elections (I didn’t see anything stating that they couldn’t), so in the next 15 months Madagascar is going to have one hell of an election. Can you imagine if you had to choose between Ravalomanana, Ratsiraka or Rajoelina? That would be insane.

I guess we don’t know for certain if any or all of them will run, but just based on history, it seems to be a position that people would want to fight for. Now it is just a question as to whether or not there will be a great deal of rigging being done by any of the involved parties over the 15 months that have been designated for elections. We already know that Rajoelina has been replacing people everywhere and has been trying to win over the minds of the youth of Madagascar.

But regardless of what new problem might occur in the future with any of the 4 individuals involved, it is just good to know that the illegal government is now on its way to the end and once again we “should” be looking at another democratic government, whomever that might be. I am just glad that something has been signed, and it appears that the crisis will be over soon enough (barring of course any other dispute that might happen over the course of the 15 months).