Losing faith in the SADC

So it would almost appear as though the news stories over the past few weeks have been manipulated by the HAT, or at least the ones where it was stated that Ravalomanana was perfectly fine with accepting the SADC agreement allowing Rajoelina to control and hand pick the prime minister of Madagascar.

The notion that any of the opposing parties in Madagascar would accept this sort of agreement was suspicious to say the least, but the fact that it was the SADC that had proposed it and put forward this proposal is very concerning. The SADC along with the AU were relied upon heavily as groups that would be instrumental in the resolution to the illegal. government in Madagascar, and their most recently proposed solution was to keep Rajoelina in power? Clearly Rajoelina has been very busy lobbying the SADC, or has a connection within the organization that made this obscene suggestion possible. So if we cannot trust the SADC, who can the Malagasy turn to for resolution to the coup? How long will the coup exist?

The most recent news has finally gotten out of Madagascar indicating that all opposition parities were against the SADC proposal, contrary to some of the information released earlier. And it really comes as no surprise in recent news that all opposition party leaders are about to be arrested for 13 months on the arbitrary charge of taking part in a ‘banned demonstration’. The article Rajoelina charges opposition leaders describes the arrest and actually states that many of the opposition leaders were in jail since November, which I don’t recall as to whether or not it is being reported previously.

The arrests seem to be a knee jerk reaction to the most recent opposition to Rajoelina, but who knows what purpose they serve. But what is highlighted by this, particularily regarding the SADC, is that this problem is far from being resolved and that the Malagasy can no longer rely on the SADC (and most likely the AU) in hopes of resolution. In my opinion this crisis is rapidly becoming a problem that the Malagasy themselves will have to sollve because the sad fact is that they have no one else they can trust.

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Never ending cycle of failure

As expected, at least by me, the political meetings spurred by the sudden military ultimatum are a complete failure and it appears  that they were failed before they had even started according to Andry Rajoelina’s senior advisor Rolly Mercia:

Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina expects that talks aimed at resolving a political crisis on the Indian Ocean Island probably will fail, said one of his senior advisers, Rolly Mercia.

“There is very little chance that this meeting will succeed,” Mercia said in a phone interview today from Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, which is hosting the negotiations. “As it stands now, there won’t be anything to sign.”

You probably know by now that I don’t buy into Andry Rajoelina’s notions of a unity government or anything that he has done up to this point for “the people”. What I do believe, and pardon me for repeating myself, is that there is only ever one goal for him and that is to be the legitimate president of Madagascar, recognized by all. So it is no surprise to me and probably to anyone that follows this travesty of a government that these talks have failed.

I did my own analysis on previous events that led up to the failed Pretoria meeting before I became wrapped up in the following events and back tracked a little bit. Now with the information from the most recent events, I think I am now squarely back to my previous thought that all of this was just a ruse, the goal of which was to rush into negotiations hoping that the other parties would sign, without thought, an agreement drafted up no doubt by himself and a representative of France.

From my perspective, all the signs are there:

  • Rumours circulate that there is a coup a foot to overthrow the HAT : April 10th, Originally the rumours were that General Noel Rakotonandrasana was going to try and overthrow the government, someone loyal and instrumental in putting Andry Rajoelina where he is today. It doesn’t add up, he of all people must be enjoying the spoils of this coup, so why would he want to be the face of the coup?
  • Military Ultimatum : April 12th, we are to believe that the army has “had enough” of the HAT government, whose #1 priority to keep the army paid? Why the change of heart all of the sudden? Neither the HAT or the army has cared for the Malagasy public since this coup happened. And the unidentified “army bosses” asked Rajoelina to come up with a plan in 48 hours, but with no repercussions if he does not. There isn’t even any idea of what is going to happen with their end of April deadline, it is just basically do this “or else”. I fully believe that the “or else” part of the ultimatum is entirely up to Andry Rajoelina and that this was only a tool used to spark new talks.
  • New Road Map : April 14th, 48 hours after the ultimatum a new road map appears, sponsored mostly by France and the ICG (Brussels based). Big suprise, the proposal suggest that the Addis Ababas and Maputo agreements (all AU involment) be dumped and instead the focus should be on writing a constitution, and early elections. These are all things that Andry Rajoelina has been trying to trick people into doing and what he himself has tried to do unilaterally. So appears the EU is taking sides with Andry Rajoelina and wants to get a deal signed between Ravalomanana and Rajoelina, excluding the other presidents.
  • Coup Attemp was foiled : April 19th, Not to long after the rumours had started, there was this miraculous series of arrests relating to the coup rumours. They arrested some ex-military personnel, reservists and soldiers. There were never any links to Noel Rakotonandrasana and the people the arrested don’t even look like they would succeed in a bank robbery, let alone going against an entire coup government who has the majority of the nation’s army on it’s side. Seriously… if they had gotten to a building or even taken some HAT ministers hostage, does anyone think that the army would just accept them as the new leaders of Madagascar? Of course not, the HAT and the army are in it together… this would have never succeeded despite what Alain Ramaroson might say. This is just tying up a loose end to the “military dissatisfaction” that lead to the ultimatum and new talks.
  • Talks scheduled : April 20th, supposedly on pressure from the army, Rajoelina defines a “new path” with a meeting with himself and Ravalomanana on April 24th to “overcome” the settlements of Maputo and Addis Ababa. Clearly Andry Rajoelina wants to erase any consession he had ever signed at Maputo or Addis Ababa and wants to start over again to gain an advantage. He also wants to deal with only Marc Ravalomanana stating that the International community realized its mistake by adding Ratsiraka and Zafy in hopes that this will speed up the process of Ravalomanana signing his (and France/ICG’s) agreement.
  • Preparation for meeting : April 27th, Ravalomanana releases a framework for discussion, agreeing in principle to meet to resolve the crisis, but only if all 4 political parties should be present and no unilateral action is taken by any party.
  • Pre-Meeting Optimism : April 28th, Rajoelina is quoted as being optimistic regarding the new meetings.
  • Post-Meeting Pessimism :  April 29th, Rajoelina’s senior advisor Rolly Mercia states that there is little to no chance that this meeting would succeed. Based solely on the fact that 75% of participants wish to stick to the Maputo and Addis Ababa agreements, the 25% being Rajoelina. It is very apparent at this point that Rajoelina never did have any intention of negotiating, he was actually just hoping people would sign the “road map” as it was drafted.
  • Negotiation Failure : May 1st, In news articles everywhere the stumbling block to an agreement was the formation of a unity government (as usual), most likely because Rajoelina does not want to give up key ministries. They were also divided on election timelines with Rajoelina wanting to have legislative elections (to stack the deck) followed by presidential elections and Ravalomanana wanting the reverse.
  • Return to Madagascar and the “neutral government” : May 3rd, On his return to Madagascar Rajoelina announces that he will form a “neutral” government. Of course neutral is subjective, based solely on what Andry Rajoelina deems to be neutral. Interestingly there has been no comment from the military on their previous ultimatum as yet.

So to me, it appears that we have just been put through another one of Andry Rajoelina’s tricks. Now that it has failed, he has ran home sulking that:

“I showed patriotism and humility. But it was the last chance. There won’t be any more,” Rajoelina told reporters. “The time for negotiations is over.”

“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.

And will now create, yet again, another unilateral government that he will no doubt try to convince the world is legitimate and ultimately neutral based on his own definition of the term. He will also continue on his quest to push toward the 4th republic of Madagascar so that he can legally be elected as president at 35 if and when those “transparent” presidential elections happen.

“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.

And if there ever should be a situation where negotiating with the other former presidents would show some promise in getting what he wants, or if he is threatened sufficiently you can bank on the fact that he will be back there at the negotiating table for as long as it suits him.

Also, in more confusing news… the on April 30th the EU Rejects Madagascar Sanctions to which I was not too surprised.  I thought this shows how much support Rajoelina enjoys in the EU. However… in breaking news on May 4th, the EU Commission proposes Madagascar be suspended from the Contonou Agreement which would take away 600 million euros in assistance from 2008 to 2013. Not sure if they can’t make up their minds… or have changed them.

HAT attempt at controlling military division

So over the weekend we have seen various reports in the news of a miraculous break up of a coup attempt on the coup government:

“It was serious. Some officers had prepared a coup d’etat, to kill Malagasies … fortunately, we were able to prevent the attempt,” he said. “Their goal was to kill, and divide the military.”

On April 12, the army gave the president until the end of April to offer an acceptable way out of the political crisis and end the uncertainty that has hit foreign investment and left the economy struggling.

Also:

The military reportedly developed signs of division since Prime Minister Camille Vital dismissed former minister of armed forces Noel Rakotonandrasana On April 7.

Vital said Rakotonandrasana had held suspicious meetings with senior officers without informing him, accusing him of causing confusion in the military ranks.

HAT President Andry Rajoelina made no comments on Ravalomanana’s dismissal, but soon promoted colonel Vital to the rank of brigadier general, indicating the logic that colonel Vital could not overpower general Rakotonandrasana over the control of military officers, without the necessary promotion.

I find this to be a very interesting development because I think this could potentially prove me wrong on my thoughts from my previous post.

I was trying to figure out where this recent development would fit into everything that I had said… thinking to myself, what purpose would this serve if the HAT had orchestrated this, especially since this coup attempt was clearly orchestrated by the HAT.

They say that they have arrested 19 people, which I feel would be a pretty low number of people required to over throw a government. On top of that, they don’t look like they would be a threat to anyone:

Coup Organizers

So, the only thing that I could come up with as to why they would manufacture a coup is that there are actually divisions in the army and they had staged this coup for the following reasons:

  1. To show that the HAT has control of the military and that there are no problems with the military being united.
  2. To quickly promote Camille Vital to the rank of brigadier general so that he has more authority than Noel Rakotonandrasana.

They seem to be trying harder in recent days to convince the press and the Malagasy people that they have everything under control and that there is most certainly no divisions or problems within the military. It is clear now that this couldn’t be further from the truth, especially in light of the recent firing/arrests of:

Two of the most well known military personnel that had been instrumental in helping the HAT with their coup d’etat. Now they are being fired and arrested? How can this make any sense?

Well, if there are in fact true divisions in the military or if it is just that the military is starting withdraw it support of the HAT government then all this makes perfect sense. So I guess the clock is really running and perhaps the ultimatum is real, and maybe there really will be some repercussions at the end of April.

All of the effort that they have put foward thus far seems to be around trying to contain the threat that the military has put on his government:

  • Removing high ranking officers that would pose a threat.
  • Elevating Camille Vital to outrank Noel Rakotonandrasana to try and have authority over the military.

I wonder who will be next on the hit list for the HAT? Andre Andriarijaona?

I have my doubts as to how successful this will be since Camille Vital appears to be more of a tool for the HAT to try and bridge the gap between the politicians and military rather than the military controlling the HAT as I had previously thought.

I can’t imagine that any of this will work though, I think of the military as a group of people that are loyal to one another so I doubt that it would make an ounce of difference if the HAT said that Vital controlled the military. I guess we will now have to wait and see what comes of the ultimatum and if there will actually be talks between Ravalomanana and Rajoelina.