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.

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