Cracks in the regime

I have been watching with great interest what appears to be cracks in the HAT regime that has had a strangle hold on Madagascar ever since March of 2009. Here are the headlines of yesterday and today:

  • Marc Ravalomanana is rumoured to have sent 500 million Ariary to military at Fort-Duchesne
  • Ny Hasina Andriamanjato has resigned from his vice Prime Minister post in the HAT citing that it is to help them get on the right track and follow the Maputo agreement.

Marc Ravalomanana Rumours

It started yesterday while I was going through all the online Malagasy news papers when I stumbled across this article on www.tananews.com where it was reported that the military at Fort-Duchesne in Madagascar are on the verge of mutiny against their leaders (not sure if this means other military or the HAT).  Perhaps the most interesting part of the article is that it suggests that 500 million Ariary was paid by Marc Ravalomanana to the military and it sounds like it was supposed to be divided among the military there. It really is unclear what the situation is on this story, suffice to say that it is causing difficulties within the various forms of military in Madagascar.

There are various stories across the internet on this:

  • Midi-Madagasikara: Where General Zafera Viennot states contrary to what General Bruno Razafindrakoto says,  that the money is not a rumour and that there are witnesses that can prove it and that members of the FIGN have a right to divide the money. Lieutenant-colonel Raymond Randrianjafy states that there was an intermediary which was in direct contact with Marc Ravalomanana that is confirmed to have received 250 million FMG (10% of the disputed money). General Zafera then goes on to explain that they do not intend to remove Andry Rajoelina from his post as they had for Marc Ravalomanana and that there is no “Fort Duchesne mutiny”.
  • Madagascar-Tribune: Essentially describes the above article, but also describes how heavily guarded Fort Duchesne was on February 10th.
  • Madagascar-Tribune: This explains that Bruno Razafindrakoto met with the press on February 10th to refute the corruption accusations against him by the Gendarmerie (General Zafera Viennot). Also states that there will be an investigation as to whether this money exists and who had reeceived it.
  • Les-Nouvelles: States information similar to the Mid-Madagasikara article at the top, that General Zafera Viennot states information contrary to General Bruno Razafindrakoto. That the FIGN consideres it an “evil” that is corroding its ranks and that many of the FIGN really believe that the sum exists are are angry that its existence was being denied and that it was not going to be divided.

This information, though it was hard to make sense of and put together speaks to many things but mainly that the military is starting to become divided and untrustful of each other.

The fact that these stories have been reported shows that the army is either greedy, because they are already being paid well by Rajoelina, that perhaps not everyone in the army feels that they are benefiting from this coup as the should be or that of course Andry Rajoelina’s government is starting to run out of money. Either way, we have 2 members of the army speaking out against each other and there is unexplained activity with the heightened security around Fort Duschesne.

If it turns out to be true that Marc Ravalomanana had sent the money to the FIGN, I think that would be brilliant! There is no better way to get your revenge on Andry Rajoelina than to turn the same army that transferred power to Rajoelina to then turn against him?

But of course, we do not know whether all of the trouble that seems to be brewing in the army will amount to anything let alone overthrowing Andry Rajoelina. These are all rumours for now, but within all these rumours there must be some elements of truth or else there would not be the heightened security or this intense interest on supposed money.

Ny Hasina Andriamanjato Resigns

This was my big surprise when I had look at the news this morning and is another good indication of things to come. Ny Hasina Andriamanjato, the deputy vice president of the HAT steps down. Here are the related articles:

  • Midi-Madagasikara (link only good Feb12): Reports that Ny Hasina Andriamanjato resigned to make the government reconsider it’s position on Maputo. States that if Rajoelina had listened to him since the beginning, the matter would have been settled in September of 2009 and that no one “dare” speak to Andry Rajoelina about Maputo or his unilateralism.
  • Reuters: Reports that Ny Hasina Andriamanjato told Rajoelina that there would be no international recognition or a resolution to the crisis without the establishment of a unity government. When he resigned on Feb 10th, he had noted that he feels the government is heading in a different direction.
  • Madagascar-Tribune: Reports that Ny Hasina Andriamanjato
  • Les-Nouvelles: Reports that after a meeting of the HAT ministers at Iavoloha he decided that he would resign. Indicates that Andry Rajoelina is that certain members of the HAT are pressuring Rajoelina to move unilaterally to form his own government.

This is a pretty big deal that such a high ranking, staunch support of the HAT has decided to step away from his post because the party is going down a path that he disagrees with. I have mentioned Ny Hasina Andriamanjato from time to time on my blog:

  • When he was threatening to replace many of the Malagasy senators around the world in March 2009.
  • When he was talking tough against the SADC upon rumours that they were going to invade Madagascar in April 2009
  • When he had accompanied Rajoelina to Paris in September 2009 after the UN had embarrassed Andry Rajoelina by not allowing him to speak.

He has always vehemently defended the HAT as much as possible as the foreign minister and seemed to be Andry Rajoelina’s second right hand man, after Monja Roindefo. It is so amazing that this is happening because this could mean that the HAT is falling apart and that there is some descension among its ministers. What else would make such a highly positioned HAT minister resign and come out in public and say the approach Andry Rajoelina is taking is wrong?

Cracks in the Regime

Both of these stories fit so well together because how the government and the military are performing this delicate balancing act that is gradually coming apart, other wise we wouldn’t see this news. If the military are starting to have money problems, or are just too greedy then the HAT will have problems. If the ministers of the HAT do not agree with Andry Rajoelina, or if they see that the HAT ship is sinking I am sure that this will not be the last minister that will be leaving it.

In the coming weeks I don’t think we are going to see much coming from the military, but we probably will see some action from the HAT. I am betting that there may be at least one more resignation and then you will see a complete about face by Andry Rajoelina and he will be once again eager to jump back into Maputo talks to form an actual inclusive government, not a unilateral one.

I know it isn’t good when I am hopeful, it has never ever panned out in the past. But I am truly hopeful that there is not much life left in the HAT and that there is only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down, the Malagasy citizens suffering must come to an end.

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Rajoelina touring while economy crumbles

International news outlets have been very quiet as of late, most of which seem to be waiting for something to occur in the talks between the AU and Malagasy politicians. But there was one just today that was interesting and made me think again regarding whether or not things could get worse for Madagascar, and most certainly, they will.

Here is a run-down of various interesting things that I have plucked out of the news (57% of which are from Madagascar Tribune):

Anniversary of “Red Saturday”

It is hard to believe that only a year ago things were very heated in Madagascar and there was still a fairly big movement for change and Sunday February 7, 2010 marked the 1 year anniversary of an event that took the lives of 50 people. The Madagascar-Tribune has a pretty good summary on what had transpired that day based on the testimony of many witnesses, and indicated something that I had never heard before, that perhaps the shootings were not all coming from the palace guards.

I think there are 2 things to remember on this day:

  1. Andry Rajoelina was not present when the shootings began.
  2. There was a distinct hand signal that everyone has witnessed that had led an emotionally charged crowd into danger.

I think the Andry Rajoelina and his party used the crowd as martyrs to make Marc Ravalomanana look like a tyrant they wanted him to be and to make themselves look like the only alternative to the oppression they were facing. It is too bad that people had to die for Andry Rajoelina, he has done nothing but hurt Madagascar and turned the clocks back on its progress.

Andry Rajoelina buys a new Mercedes, Sugar is becoming scarce

I chose to put these two together just to show just how much Andry Rajoelina is looking out for the poor, the people he used to obtain the power he enjoys today.

Apparently, while US duties are imposed on Malagasy exports, EU and SADC are on the verge of sanctions and the Malagasy Ariary is losing value on world markets… Andry Rajoelina deals with all of this by buying a new Mercedes 600 armored vehicle for the small price of 2 billion Malagasy Francs or 4 million Malagasy Ariary (I think). I am not sure if we should take this as a sign of things to come, but why would a president need to purchase a brand new armored vehicle unless he feels as though he is going to be in danger in the near future? I guess he is just securing his escape.

Meanwhile, for the average Malagasy, it would appear that there are going to be no more sweets. It has become somewhat of a luxury item as of late because of its scarcity, but now it appears that you can’t even find it in the markets of Androvoahangy! (I thought you could find anything there). And of course with anything becoming scarce, it becomes a very big money maker for those who have access and it is said to be selling it for about 3,000 Ariary/kilogram now if you can find it.

Madagascar’s economy reels as EU mulls sanctions

And if the purchase of a new car when all the rest of Madagascar suffers doesn’t blow your mind, then take a look at what is going to potentially happen to Madagascar in the near future (as summarized from the business week article):

  • Madagascar loses access to the world’s biggest trading bloc (as per Contou agreement).
  • Madagascar loses assistance amounting to 600 million euros (though I thought they had lost that already).

Now, the sanction plans would have to be something that is agreed on by all members of the EU and since France is one of them one would wonder how far the EU will get imposing sanctions. According to the article 44% of Madagascar’s exports are going to France… and with all the history the two countries have, France is bound to put up a fight to either soften sanctions or prevent them all together.

Rajoelina files his trip to France as “personal” and offers up no real reason to meet with French diplomats

Which then brings us to Andry Rajoelina’s “personal” trip to France, lying to media before leaving that he was heading to Paris for personal reasons. While in France he was photographed with French diplomats and was on a French news program smiling away on an interview. There is even text of an interview with French media here at L’express.fr where he is apparently still trying to flout the “freedom” card, trying to convince the world he is doing good when his regime is doing anything but in Madagascar.

It would seem that Andry Rajoelina is trying once again to campaign on his freedom for the Malagasy and their right to choose, blaming all the failures that are occuring on the international communities failure to understand his purpose and the AU’s negotiations. I don’t think there is a person in the world now who believes any of the drivel that is coming from his mouth, so it would appear that all these trips back and forth the Paris and Africa are doing nothing but wasting (presumably) tax payer money. All of this will come to an end once the EU/SADC sanctions are imposed on the country, then it would seem that Rajoelina will become land locked.

Teargassing Malagasy schools

And just to end on the note that Rajoelina really isn’t doing any good for the Malagasy I thought I would mention (and it needs to be mentioned) that they have shot tear gas at a school in Antanimbarinandriana to prevent the “destablization” of the current government. Apparently they were afraid that people might start to rally there against the HAT so they put an early stop to it. The children that attend the school are between the ages of 5 – 10.

Here is a picture of some of the poor children leaving the school after they were gassed.

Rajoelina tear gases children

Rajoelina tear gases children

It would seem that the only way to get rid of Rajoelina at this point is to cut off all his sources of money so that he cannot pay the military, and apparently with the sanctions, that won’t be too long from now.