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 the Feb7th, 2009 shootings (Madagascar-Tribune)
- Rajoelina buys a new car (Madagascar-Tribune)
- Sugar is becoming a scarce commodity (Madagascar-Tribune)
- Madagascar’s economy reels as EU mulls sanctions (business week)
- Rajoelina files his trip to France as “personal” and offers up no real reason to meet with French diplomats (L’Express.fr & Madagascar-Tribune)
- Teargassing Malagasy schools (Midi-Madigasikara)
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:
- Andry Rajoelina was not present when the shootings began.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Filed under: 2009 Madagascar Political Crisis | Tagged: 600, AGOA, agreement, armored, children, comesa, contou, coup, crisis, d’etat, eu, export, failed, hat, lie, madagascar, madagascar crisis, mercedes, military intervention, putsch, Rajoelina, ratsiraka, ravalomanana, red saturday, rosewood, sadc, sanctions, sugar, tear gas, tgoose, tgv, tgv party, toiletgoose, transition, zafy |