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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SADC/COMESA to oust Andry Rajoelina?

Sorry guys, have been very busy the last week and haven’t had time to post anything at all until now. It is suprising though, because over the span of a typical 10 days you wouldn’t expect much to happen other than the regular cycle of negotiations and demands. The past 10 days have been different as we have had:

  • Manandafy Rakotonirina cut off from all forms of communications.
  • A completely made up sentence for Marc Ravalomanana by a HAT judge to keep him out of Madagascar.
  • Legalists stating that they expect Marc Ravalomanana’s return by June 26th
  • 19 countries in COMESA supporting the return of Marc Ravalomanana by force if necessary.
  • 10 billion Ariary recovered from the sale of TIKO stocks??? (hardly makes sense to me)
  • HAT making up reasons not to allow either Marc Ravalomanana or Didier Ratsiraka back into Madagascar.

But before we get into all of that, I thought it would be interesting to post some links related to Andry Rajoelina’s fabulous birthday trip (which included the hijacking to make a pit stop in Dakar).

Here is an article from MyDago on the ‘fabulous life of a putschist: http://mydago.com/2009/05/pilier-nord-langoustes-et-crustaces/

It is a french article that basically runs through how nicely Andry Rajoelina took advantage of his current status to fly off to Paris to celebrate his 35th birthday (as I am writing, just found out that mydago.com is down until 06/13/09… here is a cached link)

So one of the reasons why he turned the Air Madagascar flight on 28 May, is one of the reasons for which he has taken hostage the passengers of the plane, is one of the reasons that these passengers were forced to suffer for twelve hours waiting and flying over on Thursday 28 May 2009: to pay for a royal birthday dinner at the Eiffel Tower!

The other is a link to the actual response of the captain of the Air Madagascar flight that was diverted to Dakar at the whim of Andry Rajoelina via l’express Mada (also french): http://www.lexpressmada.com/display.php?p=display&id=26853. Apparently, the pilot is a staunch supporter of Andry Rajoelina and will not have anyone speaking badly of his president:

The commander who has 20 000 hours of flights to his credit and 23-year career with Air Madagascar, does not hesitate to put  to explain his decision. “We are working with the HAT and give him our support. We even have a social project that we will submit to the Government to advance the country, “he says.

With patriotic support he warranted a call to order to a foreign passenger who had dared to “insult” the president of the HAT when descending  the aircraft to Dakar. “I have never allowed and will never allow a foreigner to speak ill of my president and my country,” says Toto Alphonse.

Just thought I would share those little tidbits as I thought it was interesting that the new self imposed leader of Madagascar would choose to celebrate his birthday in France rather than his own country, knowing how that might look to the people of Madagascar. Rajoelina and the HAT government raked Marc Ravalomanana over the coals for buying a private jet to do presidential business but Rajoelina thinks it is more appropriate to take control of a passenger aircraft to do his government business before continuing to Paris for his birthday dinner.  That’s what the private jet was for! The only thing that could have made this story more funny is if he had taken Force One to do his little visit and then go onto Paris… apparently they still have it and are trying to sell it (according to Sobika on 05/30/09):

In 0100 still the minister of transport, the sale of Force One is currently underway.  The price is set at more than $ 60 million

Anyway… now onto the news:

Manandafy Rakotonirina cut off from communicating:

There wasn’t much press on this, but I would suppose it would be difficult to confirm as he would be hard to get a hold of. But this seems to be part of a growing trend (I don’t know if you would call it that as they have done this all along) of the HAT trying to suppress the voices and figures of their opposition.

There have been odd occurances as of late as well, primarily with TopMada.com. They were a very good source of news up until about the 3rd of June when any sign of an update disappeared. It is very suspicious and I doubt that they decided to take a vacation from news and do something else. Even before this, they previously had a timeline of the days events (a good one) and then for some reason they just went to a few stories per day. If you ask me, it smells of oppression and I bet that Andry Rajoelina’s “people” found  TopMada and detained everyone involved.

I think the HAT propaganda machine is firing up once again to try and convince people that Ravalomanana is bad for Madagascar. It would make sense for them I guess because in order for them to maintain their illegitimate power, they will have to demonize and criminalize Ravalomanana as much as possible so that the people will see that there is no one else but the HAT. This is why they had this bogus charge for spending money on Force One.  The HAT is systematically trying to dismantle everything that Ravalomanana had done for the country and would erase him from history if it was something that they could do.

Bogus charge against Ravalomanana

On June 3rd, 2009,  a Madagascar court found Marc Ravalomanana guilty of buying a private jet.

Justice Minister Christine Razanamahasoa told reporters it was for buying a presidential jet. The court also fined Mr Ravalomanana $70m (£42m).

Really? For buying a private jet? Most countries have ‘official’ methods of travel for their high ranking politicians, so I would think that it should not be out of the question for Marc Ravalomanana to have a private jet of some kind to travel all around Madagascar and to whatever foreign meetings that a president may have to attend. It just makes sense… would anyone want the representatives of their country to represent them arriving on a bus or via regular commercial flights? How would that make the country look? Andry Rajoelina already showed the world how it would look to take a commercial flight and essentially underlines why it is necessary for a president or government official to have his own method of transportation. And it’s not like former presidents haven’t spent money on worse things either, I am sure there are many examples of that.

Essentially, this ruling is a tool. It is a tool that will do a few things for the HAT:

  1. Allow them to demonize and criminalize Marc Ravalomanana. They are continually trying to portray Ravalomanana as a criminal to the eyes of the public, and making him a fugitive from the law (law of the HAT) helps.
  2. Refresh all of those negative feelings around the purchase of the jet. They are trying to anger the people upset about the purchase of the jet again and are trying to make it appear as if they are doing something about it.
  3. Makes it illegal for Marc Ravalomanana to enter Madagascar. The only thing that was stopping Ravalomanana from returning to Madagascar was fear for his life, there was no legitimate reason that the HAT could go after him. Since they have this bogus charge, they can now arrest him on sight, and lock him away for absolutely no reason.
  4. Flout the law. They can also use this as a way to try and portray Ravalomanana as a criminal to the international community, in the same way that the HAT flouted the decision of the HCC. Basically… that a ‘Malagasy’ authority has found Ravalomanana to be guilty, so it doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say on the subject… the decision is legitimate.
  5. Remove Ravalomanana from negotiations. In addition to flouting the law, they will most likely try to use it as a tool to refuse to negotiate with Marc Ravalomanana. They most likely will also refuse to provide amnesty to the exiled polititions of 2002 as they are stating that this is a matter for the courts, and the courts only work as well as the HAT wishes them to.

Here are a few more articles on the subject:

Madagascar court sentences ex-leader in absentia (Reuters)

Jail term over jet scandal means nothing: Madagascar ex-leader (AFP)

Justice expéditive contre Marc Ravalomanana (Courrier International – FR)

It won’t be too long before the HAT tries to hold Ravalomanana responsible for everything that happened from January 26th to March 18th, 2009 I suspect.

19 countries in COMESA supporting the return of Marc Ravalomanana by force if necessary & Legalist expect return before June 26th.

This is the biggest story of the the past few months as it involves possible military action to remove Andry Rajoelina from power. COMESA a collection of 19 countries for a Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa stated that they should not condone unconstitutional change of governments and were mulling the possibility of military action:

“We welcome and agreed, as pronounced by the AU (African Union), to support SADC (Southern African Development Community) as they take a lead in efforts to restore constitutional order in Madagascar by examining all options, including the possibility of military intervention,” COMESA said.

“We can no longer be observers and protesters,”  Mugabe said.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Sunday called on members to act against the “cancer” of conflict on the continent.“We can no longer be observers and protesters,” he said.

Does anyone else see the irony in Robert Mugabe calling on African members to remove the ‘cancer’ of conflict from the continent? Anyway, it looks like the AU will continue to make an example of Madagascar (and not of Zimbabwe) by authorizing the use of force to return Marc Ravalomanana to his post as president. And because they have been using Madagascar as an example of how the AU/SADC/COMESA will deal with illegal coups, I suspect that whatever they do, they will be throwing all of their weight behind it because they will want to create a standard response to the illegal governments that seem to plague Africa.

I am on the fence with this proposed solution simply because of the ramifications of a foreign force invading Madagascar to put the HAT out of it’s misery. Knowing the HAT, they will tear everything down with them on their way down and certainly, the HAT and CAPSAT are already preparing for the possible invasion. But the end result of all of this most certainly will be war, between the forces loyal to the HAT and the invading African forces. And when there is war you can never tell how long it will drag on, and you certainly don’t know what kind of casualties it will cause.

I don’t agree and never will agree with what the HAT does, and I would love nothing more than to see them removed from all their illegal posts and punished, but I am not so confident about this restoration of democracy by force.  The reason behind that is mostly fear… fear for my family in Madagascar and fear for the casualties and fear for the length of time it would take to force everything back the way it was before the HAT had come into being. But looking at the long list of failed negotiations, you could almost say that nothing would happen if you pursued peaceful means as well. So you can see why I would be on the fence about this decision… as there is no apparent ‘easy’ way out of the crisis… the only thing we do know for sure is that there would be less casualties if they were to continue discussions… but that would allow the HAT to ravage the Madagascar economy more and set itself up to continue governing the country.

Here are some more links related to the COMESA decision:

19 COMESA states to intervene militarily in Madagascar?

The defenders of legality expect Marc Ravalomanana’s return before June 26th

Comesa mulls military action

Comesa mulls miltary action (news 24)

Madagascar action ‘not advisable’

Mugabe orders invasion of Madagascar

10 billion Ariary recovered from the sale of TIKO stocks

I just have to mention this one because it makes absolutely no sense to me.

If TIKO was owned by Ravalomanana and was basically being forced out forced out of business by the HAT wouldn’t the stocks for the company would be worthless?

I don’t know what kind of market they are trading in, but I would think by this time TIKO would be a penny stock.  How they got 10 billion Ariary from selling TIKO stocks is beyond me. If I believed that it was true, then I would have to think that there is some sort of miraculous TIKO recovery coming if people are buying up the stock and generating 10 billion Ariary. But since I don’t believe a thing they say, I have a couple of questions:

  1. Where did they get the authority to sell stock of a non-government company?
  2. How did they convince anyone to buy stock in a crippled and practically dismantled company? Have the somehow convinced an investor that this is a good thing to do?

Actually I guess those are rheotorical questions since we all know that they are lying and are just trying to make up excuses to declare to the public that they have money and that they don’t need those international donors.

HAT making up reasons not to allow either Marc Ravalomanana or Didier Ratsiraka back into Madagascar

So, the last thing I wanted to touch on was the way in which the HAT has been behaving. Does it not look like the HAT is trying to lock all other political figures out of Madagascar? Its easy enough to see with the bogus charges laid against Marc Ravalomanana to make him a criminal to give them a reason to arrest him and keep Marc from returning. But the relationship that the HAT has had with AREMA seems to be straining.

In his inauguration speech he gave thanks to the exiled political prisoners and says that there will be amnesty for them. A little later, he releases some political prisoners and grants the prisoners and exiles a presidential pardon… but not amnesty. And for a few months after that, the political exiles have been practically begging the HAT to grant them amnesty so that they can operate the way that they once did, but it always seems to be delayed.

The amnesty is something that is within Andry Rajoelina’s power to grant (at least while he has power), but he insists that it is something that must be brought into negotiations and something that cannot be decided upon until June.  This doesn’t make sense, especially since they will be negotiating amnesty when they have already condemned Marc Ravalomanana who is also part of the negotiations (for how long who knows). So how long until the next delay?

I think the truth is starting to come out, and the HAT is trying to convince all of Madagascar that they are the only solution and that any other political figure is basically a criminal. And since the HAT’s opponents are not ‘legally’ allowed to return to Madagascar, there is no one strong enough that could stand against the HAT. Didier and Marc are big political figures that everyone can identify with… can anyone take their place? Not likely, the HAT would quash any opposition before they had a chance to say a word.

The HAT are going to have free and transparent elections… but only when all of their strongest opponents have been removed from the country.

I am not sure what is in store for the country… but I am sure that there will be action some time soon.  And as soon as you see reporting increase and foreign reporters arriving in Madagascar, you can be sure something will be happening.

Raw deal

I just finished going through some of the updates for the day and found an article from TopMada indicating just how much power Ravalomanana and any other person that is part of this agreement will have. Of course, the information is coming from just one source, but at the same time, I would think that getting the information about the agreement would be very difficult so there could be some validity to this. Here are the details:

While representatives of the movement mouvance Ravalomanana and Ratsiraka have not reappeared on the table meeting of the International Contact Group and the charter proposed by the – has not yet been the subject of discussion, propose its HAT own charter. A charter that supports the existing transition, with some changes in the government and parliament. And the HAT will according to its charter the majority in all institutions. Andry Rajoelina remains President, Monja Roindefo remains Prime Minister, the number of ministers will be raised to 29, the 22 ministers for the HAT and the remaining 7 to distinguish between the movement Ravalomanana, Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy. The lower house will be replaced by a congress made up of 128 representatives of the HAT, 30 representatives from each of the three movements mentioned above and 7 seats for civil society. The Senate is replaced by members of the HAT (other than the government), a body that will consist of 44 members present with 10 former senators.The charter proposed by the HAT proposes the cancellation of all the facts and decisions of administrative and judicial for political affairs between 2002 and 2008 and thus give an amnesty to former President Ratsiraka and his supporters. As this deadline is not the year 2009, supporters of Ravalomanana imprisoned during the crisis, Ravalomanana and will not benefit from the amnesty if the charter is adopted.

If it turns out to be true, which I believe it to be, then we have mislead again into thinking that there would be some sort of valid and peaceful resolution to this problem. There is no doubt that if this information is true, then talks are as good as off and Andry Rajoelina’s hopes of legitimizing his government dashed.

It would also prove again to everyone how good the HAT is at misinforming everyone. We have been misinformed on the peace talks, hoping that there would be some peaceful resolution. We have also been misled in recent days on how is talks with Senagalese president Abdoulaye Wade had gone. He had come back to Madagascar of course touting that he had ‘personally explained’ his situation to Wade and that Wade had accepted the HAT as a legitimate government:

Rajoelina explained to Wade the situation prevailing in Madagascar, which was contradicted what had been reported on the media and that had been said by Ravalomanana.”Senegal has always been a friend and brother of Madagascar, it has always been there when Madagascar had problems like what happened in 2002,” Rajoelina said in Dakar.

This of course must have been information leaked out by the HAT from Tana some time after the meeting as it seems to have only been picked up by Xinhuanet. But now we are seeing growing reports that Abdoulaye Wade did not say anything close to what has been reported initially. Wade agrees with the AU and states that he should stick to whatever resolution is being pushed by the AU:

According to the document,”President Abdoulaye Wade told him he wanted a facilitator and not a judge and by definition could take sides in a conflict. He advised him to pursue his action in the process initiated by the international community to the establishment of the transitional charter which should lead to transparent elections, free and democratic.””The President Wade has especially recommended never to depart from the position of the African Union and the international community to express its desire for a happy ending the current crisis solely on the profile of the Malagasy people ‘ ‘, says the press release.

This is pretty far from being accepted I would say, and accepted or not, it did not justify the hijacking of a plane for his own reasons so that he could have this meeting whether it proved to be fruitful or not. There were a lot of angry people who had to waste an extra 8 hours just waiting for Andry Rajoelina to do his business, pretty self-righteous I would say:

The passengers arrived around 6:00 pm at Ivato airport to check-in to Paris and Marseille. The flight was supposed to take-off at 10:30 pm but Andry Rajoelina arrived at the airport and forced the Air Madagascar ground operator of to reroute the fight to Dakar.It took three hours for Dakar airport to give authorization. The flight took off about 1:00 AM (next day) in the morning and headed to Dakar with 200 passengers.

As the flight was originally expected to arrive in Marseille on Thursday morning at 10:00 AM, family and friends had to wait for more than 8 extra hours.

So it looks like we are once again back where we had started with no negociations or an end to the crisis in the near future. The only thing that seems to be picking up some steam is the legalist movement in Madagascar, with reports from TopMada that today will be a deciding day on things to come:

Saturday’s decision will certainly relate to the conduct to be followed for the remainder of the event legalists. A major decision that will severely after the speeches of President Ravalomanana and the withdrawal of its representatives at the table meeting with the International Contact Group.

It remains to be seen what is going to happen regarding Marc Ravalomanana’s return to Madagascar. But with all the recent events, it seems that this time there may be a possibility of him doing it. Especially considering the recent raid on the Ivato airport by the army when they had thought he was on a plane. The HAT are definitely scared and are increasingly getting stuck between a rock and a hard place. Hopefully this will lead to their end, but who knows.

It also appears that the big Saudi agreement could have just been lip service and was something manufactured by the HAT to ease tension on them about their finances:

The High Authority of transition (NDT), led by Andry Rajoelina, who took power in Madagascar in March 2009, gave a lot of sparkle to the visit of Saudi investors. This failed to silence the many questions about “real godsend.” Madagascar is suspended from the African Union, which were ultimately not held its next summit of Heads of State and Government. new regime is not recognized by any government. The signature of this Convention would be a great victory for the new regime.Enough for many people to handling, staged. The group is not well known. The representative of the International Monetary Fund on the island, Pierre van den Boogaerd, questioned about it, says: “Personally, I do not know.”

There was also surprised with a delegation of three persons only, traveling by scheduled flight from Kenya Airways, without bodyguard.

Maybe they are up to their misleading tricks again? Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we will see more of the truth coming to light and an end to the crisis.

A return by force?

There has been a very interesting series of events in the last few days that may lead to some very interesting weeks ahead if true. I wrote yesterday about the paranoia of the HAT and perhaps the army as they had rushed the Ivato international airport looking for Marc Ravalomanana or anyone associated with him. As it turns out, what I had mentioned at the tail end of my post regarding forces waiting for Ravalomanana might not be as far fetched as I thought.

At some point yesterday had stated to his supporters that he will be coming back essentially by force with some sort of international body that is going to be cleaning up the corruption in Madagascar. Here is an exerpt from a MadaOnline article:

Marc Ravalomanana said in a statement issued on 28 May that the military “pacification” under the aegis of the international community are preparing to perform a mission to Madagascar. He called the military malgaches to “lay down their arms” when the “peacemakers” will perform their mission.

“The soldiers, gendarmes and police who continue to support Rajoelina Andry and his band will be prosecuted” hammered Marc Ravalomanana. The president in exile called on the victims of abuses of the team Rajoelina not to succumb to the temptation of mob justice when the law will be reinstated in the national territory.

Here is another from Mada24.info:

President Ravalomanana raised the possibility of intervention by international forces. “The soldiers, gendarmes and police to help further Andry Rajoelina and” his gang “(sic) will be considered when the international community will decide that the time has come to restore order and security on the territory of the Republic of Madagascar “he says.

“The soldiers, gendarmes and police peace-loving and who do their work will be required to surrender their weapons when the time comes to do so. Marc Ravalomanana to prevent those who refuse will be subject to heavy penalties. “What citizens victims of abuse do not hinder the actions of the peacemakers, they will help restore the rule of law, we must let them accomplish their mission, help them if need be! “He added.

So it would stand to reason that the HAT had some information on this well before it was announced. Why else would they send so many military to an airport just for Marc Ravalomanana and his associates? That was definitely a knee-jerk reaction to the possible risk of foriegn personnel and/or Marc Ravalomanana. But what is definitely worse than this knee-jerk reaction is to hijack a plane (essentially) and fly to a destination of his choice and force all the passengers of the plane to wait until his little political meeting is done.  That’s right, Andry Rajoelina used his authority to divert a plane to Senegal to meet with Abdoulaye Wade who  apparently recognizes the HAT of Madagascar, article from Xinhuanet:

The agreement was made between Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and Rajoelina, president of the Madagascan High Transitional Authority (HTA) who concluded a one-day visit to the Senegalese capital of Dakar on Friday.

During the talks between the two presidents on Thursday, Wade agreed with HTA position of being against the return of former Madagascan president Marc Ravalomanana to his home country, the communiqué said.

What agreement…. was this just a verbal agreement or something else? The only thing that seems to be agreed upon is that they are both against the return of Marc Ravalomanana to Madagascar. So the fact that this was a very imprompt to flight and meeting, it has to make you wonder just how worried the HAT is, and what kind of pressure they are under. It has to be bad since according to flight schedules, the Air Madagascar flight was expected in Paris on Thursday morning at 10:20am, which technically invalidates anything to company might say later regarding the delay:

A group of Caennais who had spent three weeks in Madagascar has experienced a hectic return to Paris. Wednesday evening, while the Boeing 767 of Air Madagascar was preparing to take off in the direction of France, the aircraft suddenly been requisitioned by the Malagasy authorities.

Andry Rajoelina, the new strong man of Madagascar, had decided to go to … Dakar, for a tour of seduction with President Wade. The visit was imminent, according to sources malgaches. Obviously, everyone was aware. Except Air Madagascar? The company, whose aircraft was expected in Paris, Thursday morning at 10 h 20, has preferred to forget radio silence and to prevent passengers they were going to do a check to West Africa. Confirmed by a staff member: “This flight was scheduled to pass through Dakar for three days. The problem is that passengers were not warned. “

So something is afoot here, especially since there has been increased military activity around the capital:

In recent days, military camps in the capital were visibly alert. Armored vehicles are stationed near the Ministry of the Armed Forces. It is a fact quite rare. Once the first false alarm on the return of Marc Ravalomanana, May 27, a hundred soldiers were deployed at the international airport Ivato. In vain.

So will the return of Marc Ravalomanana actually happen? I had written it off at the time simply because it did not make sense when there were negotiations occurring, and because of Ravalomanana’s outburst accusing France. But all of this panic must have a purpose, someone must know something and I suspect we will find out very soon what that something is. I just hope for the sake of everyone in Madagascar that it does not start some sort of civil war. Guaranteed I will be waiting and watching in anticipation… I will update the blog as soon as I see something.

Paranoid

Not much news flowing out regarding Madagascar since Ravalomanana’s finger pointing at France or the stalled negotiations between the group of ex-presidents. The only notable thing that happened was that the army was busy this morning storming the Ivato airport, checking passengers and their luggage for information on Marc Ravalomanana. They were also apparently searching for anyone that could be associated with the former president, for whatever reason. Very peculiar… is it the HAT that is paranoid about his return? Or is it the army? Very wierd. Why are they responding so quickly to a rumour? Is there something that he could do if he were there? Or are they just anxious to make an example of him and then lock him away for good?

Here is the just of the TopMada article:

“Heavily armed soldiers have been combing the end Ivato International Airport in Antananarivo in search of the exiled President of Madagascar Marc Ravalomanana. The alert was launched Wednesday after the disappearance of the list of passengers on a flight from Mauritius. Ravalomanana apparently fearing that might be tempted to return, two months after being ousted by the opposition with the support of the army, a hundred soldiers awaited the arrival of the aircraft at the airport Ivato and adjacent to the runway. The soldiers searched the passengers and their luggage in search of weapons and possible accomplices of Marc Ravalomanana. The excavations have yielded no results. “

Actually, the first place that I read about this was an IOL article. The article notes that the HAT has been increasingly jittery from the pressure from the international community regarding the policitical instability:

The administration of embattled interim president Andry Rajoelina is appearing increasingly jittery as pressure grows on the 34-year-old leader to end months of instability by holding inclusive elections.

With a jittery HAT and the imprompt to search of the airport, it has to make you wonder why they are so worried? There couldn’t really be anything to this could there? A reason why Rajoelina is so vehemently behind his decision not to sign any deal that would allow for the return of Marc Ravalomanana to Madagascar?

“The High Transitional Authority blocks the return of the former president, Marc Ravalomanana, to the country,” Rajoelina told reporters at the opening day of separate talks intended to heal deep divisions within the army.”We will not sign any agreement allowing for his return.”

The only thing I could come up with is that perhaps there is a section of the army, not with CAPSAT, that is waiting for the return of Ravalomanana to take action against their  corrupt counterparts…. But that is pretty far fetched, why would they wait if they could take action now? And even if they were waiting, why would anyone want to start a civil war?

Not sure, but thought the whole thing was worth mentioning because it does seem like a jumpy/reactive thing to do. There is definitely paranoia here.

Opening a can of worms

I can’t say that I expected Marc Ravalomanana to announce what he did on the radio yesterday, basically stating that France is behind the coup and that they are trying to enslave and recolonise the Malagasy:

“(The French) objective is to recolonise Madagascar and enslave the Malagasy people. Their goal is to provoke a tribal war,” Ravalomanana said from exile in South Africa.

“France does not want Madagascar to develop. It is only concerned with its own interests.”

or

“France is now lobbying within the Francophone countries over the world to recognize the putschist regime of Andry Rajoelina,” Ravalomanana said, in reference to the former Antananarivo mayor, “Frenchmen do not want the development of our country, they always want to colonize us, they want to monopolize our independence, our wealth, which is the reason why they helped these thugs and these putchists to take power,” a local website, madatimes.com, quoted Ravalomanana as saying.

Marc Ravalomanana must be extremely frustrated, or tired or at the very least not at his best to have said something like this over a Radio station. This kind of statement will  instigate the decline of his credibility, this isn’t something to be said lightly without evidence pointing  the exact reasons why France is behind it. Now everyone along with France will comment on these bold statements which I suspect will put some distance between them and Marc Ravalomanana. It’s too bad because the statement, though bold, is not entirely false. There have been a great deal of oddities seen from the French as this whole situation was unfolding. In fact, I wrote a great deal of blog posts that insinuated or mentions that France had some involvement  with the current political situation:

I believe that France may have an indirect or direct hand in this whole crisis, after all, they would only stand to benefit from the removal of Ravalomanana however it was accomplished. But I am afraid that the international community is now going to at best be wary of how close they are to Ravalomanana and a worst start to distance themselves from him. After all it does sound a bit like crazy talk when you ramble on about invoking tribal wars and enslaving Malagasy, especially for those who are not from Madagascar and could not possibly understand the context of the statement.

So… I sit here, anxiously waiting for the statement from France or others… checking the news, twitter… etc… hoping that this kind of just goes away and flies under the radar. While I was poking around and doing some reading I found this article on Midi Madigasikara stating that both Ratsiraka and Ravalomanana will be at the negotiations starting tomorrow…. I wonder if that is true? I wonder if it is because they realize there is no other way (Midi Madigasikara FR):

“Theoretically, the Ratsiraka movement will be there tomorrow (today) at the Carlton. “Says Professor Ange Andrianarisoa.” In principle, we should be there tomorrow (today), “said for his part RAHARINAIVO Andrianantoandro of Ravalomanana movement.

And because there seems to be no other way, it would appear that Andry Rajoelina will continue to govern Madagascar until the next election is held, according to the document so far. Scary isn’t it? How did we go from international condemnation of the HAT to serious negotiations with them AND having them continue to be the transitional government when the agreement is signed? What/Who is behind this agreement anyway?

It is crystal clear to me now that this agreement was created to legitimize the HAT and open the pockets of the international donors under the guise of moving towards democracy. I am not against a transitional government that will lead towards democracy, and I am also not against negotiations between the parties involved in the crisis or international assistance. Why is this agreement so beneficial to the HAT?

This is how I see it:

  • This problem is between Ravalomanana and Rajoelina. There should be no negotiations with any other party.
  • My Opinion: Ravalomanana was re-elected as president, so we should be working on restoring his status and then having elections/referendum within 9-14 months. The HAT should have no authority as it had never provided the people with a choice. Let the people decide who they want, not the HAT telling people what they want.
  • My Politically Correct Opinion: Neither the HAT or Ravalomanana should have power, a new interum government should be put in place while elections are organized ASAP. Why should any one side have control when the people haven’t chosen? This will not legitimize the HAT, but will allow for international donations to begin flowing again.
  • International observers should be present and ready to allow for a fair election.
  • President should be chosen by vote and people live with the results.

Something really doesn’t smell right about the current agreement… so I hope that somehow the negotiations alter the agreement so that it makes more sense.

I would be scared to have 14 months of  “legitimate” HAT rule, and would also be afraid that when the time comes for an election, something might come up (manufactured, of course)  that will cause them to postpone or delay them. The international community is less likely to take a hard line against the postponement of an election than they are against a coup d’etat. It would probably take some time for them to put pressure on the government to hold that election, and it is certainly something that would make much  international news (unless of course there is major civil unrest because of it). I hope I am wrong.

    Not hungry for power?

    Not thirsty for power? You can almost get a giggle out of the blog title if you imagine Andry Rajoelina saying this seriously to someone. The quote is this:

    “I am not thirsty for power, I do not want to cling to power. I just want to bring democracy to Madagascar,” Rajoelina said Wednesday, May 13.

    He says speaking to reporters about the special agreement that was somehow concocted between him and the UN. Or maybe just him? I don’t think there was ever a resolution on the UN mediator bias, that could be the only reason Ican think of that the HAT and all former presidents are not able to participate in elections in this agreement, while the so called ‘transitional authority’ is entrusted with organizing fair and transparent elections? What does the HAT know of fair? How could anyone ever believe that they could organize anything fair when they have been replacing people left and right from fokotany to mayors?

    And how did the process of resolving the crisis depend on the decision of most its recent ex-presidents? I know I have said this before, but isn’t this crisis between Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina? How did we ever get Albert Zafy and Didier Ratsiraka involved in the negotiations? Perhaps it is wool to be pulled over our eyes? Perhaps it is a reason to delay a legitimate political ruler? I can’t think of any reasons… and it bothers me that they are participating. They are distracting everyone from the real issues and slowing all the negotiations down to a crawl, and you know they are only there to benefit from something. Who has heard from Albert Zafy until the crisis? How can you trust he is out to help Madagascar when he only speaks out when there is political instability and a chance for him to return as president. And Ratsiraka and AREMA? Pierrot stated a couple of days the coup that he had a ‘deal’ with Andry Rajoelina. Now Ratsiraka confirming he had a deal too by saying:

    “I rejected the coup and the self-proclamation of Mr. Marc Ravalomanana in 2002. In the same way, I condemn the self-proclamation, the coup and the policy of Mr. Andry Rajoelina (president of the high transitional authority), whom I helped at the beginning of the current political crisis,” Ratsiraka said in an open letter.

    There is far too much political posturing to think this is simply just ‘resolving’ the crisis in Madagascar. And with posturing comes the demands… Now Ratsiraka refuses to participate in negotiations until all the exiles and crimes against him and his government are forgotten:

    “Before any real negotiations to quell this crisis, (I demand) that all inquiries, decisions and judicial findings linked to the events of 2002 are purely and simply annulled and, in particular, those that were political,” Ratisraka wrote.

    Who cares if he wants something, he has nothing to do with the current crisis aside from a possible helping hand. Ravalomanana also refuses to participate until he is allowed to return to Madagascar:

    “If the conditions for Ravalomanana’s return are not discussed, or there is no agreement, then we will quit the negotiating table,” Raharianivo Andrianantoandro, spokesman for Ravalomanana’s political party, told Reuters.

    What’s next? Will Albert Zafy demand something tomorrow? Will we have to wait for his demands to be fulfilled to before we continue to negotiate?

    Are we all hoping that Andry Rajoelina, Albert Zafy, Didier Ratsiraka and Marc Ravalomanana will all agree on something and move ahead? Yeah right! Maybe in some sort of alternate dimension. Since when does negotiation between people hungry for the office of the president go well? I think this agreement is dead in the water, they are just wasting precious time in these negotiations when we could use that time to help all the Malagasy that are suffering.

    But does it matter at all if the negotiations go well? If this agreement goes anywhere or not, it appears that the UN is more than happy to have the HAT leading the transitional government over the next 14 months. It also appears that everyone but Marc Ravalomanana has something gain from this. Ratsiraka and his gang are constantly pursuing their precious amnesty from all their crimes, and will probably get it or at the very least they have been pardoned. Albert Zafy has gotten attention and possibly another shot at being president. Andry Rajoelina gets to rule the country until the next government is elected (if that even happens, or if it happens fairly).

    But Marc Ravalomanana cannot, and probably will not be able to go back to Madagascar for the forseeable future. Underneath all of the talk and news it really just comes down to Marc Ravalomanana being pushed aside. Despite all the promises of coming home (the video with Al Jazeera where he states that he will come back by force if he has to), there is no chance that he is going to be able to come back. If you think about it really… what are the chances that these talks will ever go anywhere? With so many people to negotiate, there is no chance that they are going to to agree on anything, so perhaps no ones requests will be granted… hence, no return to Madagascar for Ravalomanana. What about going back to Madagascar by force? What African force would stand behind Ravalomanana and possibly provoke a civil war? Who would want to go against the UN and AU’s peaceful approach to resolution? It would have to be a miracle, or some specially built up of forces local to Madagascar to defend Ravalomanana’s return. And even if THAT happened, it would be viewed negatively by the AU/UN as it would have very high potential for civil war and he would be instigating. See… there is just a very low probability of this happening.

    It is going to take some miracle to get Marc Ravalomanana back into Madagascar without reprocussions. But I hope that some how, some way, we can trim the fat that has grown on this crisis, so to speak. Get rid of Albert Zafy, Didier Ratsiraka and Pierrot Rajaonarivelo because they have no reason or right to even be there. Let’s start negotiating the only two people involved in the crisis, Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina. Let’s focus on the crisis and those involved, not the people that helped the crisis to flourish and have their own agendas.