#Madagascar’s Infinite Loop

So picking up where we had left off, after the Pretoria meeting, I have decided this whole “coup/ultimatum” thing was a total farce.

After Pretoria, Rajoelina came skulking home stating he had showed some sort of patriotism and humility by going to the meeting that he, France and the army manufactured.

He declares that there will be no further talks with any of the former presidents of the county and that he will solve crisis in Madagascar by forming a “neutral” government, but unilaterally of course.

“We have decided… when politicians can’t get on with one another, directing government affairs and the main political institutions must be left to neutral personalities,” he told reporters in the capital Antananarivo.

Hours after laying out his road map to ending the more than 14-month crisis on the Indian Ocean island before the military top-brass, Rajoelina said: “I believe we are on the same wavelength as the armed forces.”

“We have to move forward, we must build the Fourth Republic. The transition must end this year,” Rajoelina said. A final decision on how to take the former French colony forward would be made within 48 hours, he said.

I wonder if the HAT are running out of ideas, or are just plain stupid:

  1. We know from his government’s history that unilateral governments never pan out. You can throw as many adjectives as you want at the government… it can be open, fair, transparent or neutral. It still doesn’t work.
  2. If you are looking to legitimize a government in the eyes of the international community, how can you do this unilaterally? A unilateral “neutral” government is an oxymoron.
  3. Who is going to decide the make up of a neutral government? Rajoelina of course! It’s not like the people will have any say in what the neutral government is composed of.

Needless to say, this is the new solution is more of the same from Andry Rajoelina which essentially puts Madagascar back on a 1 – 3 month holding pattern. Anyone who believed that this ultimatum was real at this point must have been wondering (or hoping) when the consequences of the most recent failure and this ridiculous proposal by Andry Rajoelina would be felt, expecting an imminent military take over.

But after some supposed “talks” between Andry Rajoelina and the army,  the tough army stance has now turned into passive support for the government:

“It is not our job to define whether this road map is clear … and if it will allow the country to exit the crisis. We are only observers,” Ndriarijoana told reporters late on Thursday.

The army refused to comment on whether its reversal was an endorsement of Rajoelina’s proposal but it appeared to rule out the threat of a military takeover.

Andre Ndriarijoana helped get Rajoelina where he is… so it shouldn’t surprise you that the army doesn’t want to “define whether the road map is clear”. If the army can’t or doesn’t want to define whether any of Rajoelina’s proposals are clear, then we  never could have had an ultimatum could we? There has to be a definition as to what is acceptable in order to have an ultimatum.

Perhaps now realizing that no one is buying into what he is selling, in more recent news Andry Rajoelina states that he will not run in the upcoming presidential elections. This was met quickly (perhaps too quickly) with statements from Dakar and France hailing him as a courageous hero that is willing to give up power for the best interests of the country.

“I declare in the name of the superior interest of the nation and of the people, my decision not to stand as candidate in the presidential elections for a fourth republic,” he said in a televised statement on Wednesday.

As much as I would like to be happy that Andry Rajoelina is not going to be calling the shots in any subsequent government, I don’t buy this for a second. This idea just smells wrong (don’t know if there is a better way to say it)  especially with France and Dakar trying to frame Rajoelina as a hero.

His statement in the following quote almost seems to be trying to return to an old UN proposal (I have probably written about but have forgotten) where he is not involved in the presidential elections neither can the former presidents.

“Past presidents have led the country to poverty. I do not think it is a good solution that former presidents present themselves for the presidential elections “, he said

In a speech Wednesday night on national television, the president announced a timetable for the transition and said they “made the decision not to run” for the poll, to find a solution to the political crisis. Regarding in particular the former head ofstate Marc Ravalomanana, ousted in March 2009 by Rajoelina with the support of the army, “the law does not permit him to stand for presidential elections” because “it was considered and condemned “, says former mayor of Antananarivo.

Rajoelina, who turns 36 on May 30, also said he did not rule to stand for president next five years. “Why not, if God wills it (…). I still the future before me “, he replied. Andre said Rajoelina wish the participation of international observers to verify the proper conduct of the presidential he wants to convene Nov. 26. He finally believes that with the announcement of its withdrawal from the forthcoming presidential election, “all obstacles have been spared” for his participation in the next Franco-African summit planned in Nice on 31 May and 1st June, and he “believes that ‘(it will) may be invited “.

I don’t know about you, but the only president (president of an imaginary status I mean) that I can think of that has led Madagascar to poverty is Andry Rajoelina, no one has devastated the country faster than he has. And if he is stepping down, why do we even need a 4th republic if not to lower the age limitation for a president?

The problem with the above quote of course is that he has clearly indicated that he has not finished being president, and has aspirations to continue being president. So he is not proposing stepping aside for the good of the country, as he would like you to believe, but only to try and convince the international community that he is serious to free up the donor money that is being held back as a result of his illegitimacy.

Here are some excerpts from an another article that pretty much sums up everything I had said previously. The funny part is that Monja Roindefo (Andry Rajoelina’s first PM) is the one calling him out for not keeping his word:

“What is the point if it is him organising it? We are fed up of manipulation,” said former Rajoelina ally Monja Roindefo. “He thinks Madagascans have a short memory. Who believes that this time he will keep his word?”

The secretary general of the Francophonie group of French-speaking nations, Abdou Diouf of Senegal, on Thursday welcomed Rajoelina’s “courageous decision” and urged other Madagascan leaders to end the crisis.

“I would like to salute the courageous decision of the president of the High Transitional Authority not to stand in the forthcoming presidential elections announced for November 2010,” Diouf said in a statement issued in Paris.

“This commitment proves his high sense of responsibility and his sincere determination to get his country out of the long and painful crisis it is enduring,” the former Senegalese president added.

He called on “all Malagasy political players to commit themselves resolutely and without second thoughts in a constructive dialogue that should lead to the holding, in 2010, within the announced timetable, of free, reliable and transparent elections.”

So now the people of Madagascar must wait 1 – 3 months while Andry Rajoelina waits for a fish to bite his “non-Rajoelina neutral” government lure. Inevitably, this will not happen and we all know the routine… in up to 3 months you will see Rajoelina, Ratsiraka, Zafy and Ravalomanana at some other African city having more negotiations, these negotiations will also fail, Rajoelina will act unilaterally when he doesn’t get what he wants. Repeat cycle. Infinite loop.

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