Rajoelina on tour

In a bid to obtain the support of Africa and the SADC, Andry Rajoelina has been touring Africa meeting with the presidents of Mozambique Armando Guebuza (Apr 20, 2011), South Africa Jacob Zuma (May 17, 2011) and Angola Jose Eduardo dos Santos (May 18,2011) pleading for support on his illegal governments in a bid to be recognized internationally.

The illegal head of Malagasy government has been pleading the case that they are in full compliance with a corrupt or horribly misinterpreted SADC road map and that they are making all the preparations for a ‘free’ and ‘open’ election sometime between May and November 2011.

This road map that calls for ‘inclusive’ dialogue and the formation of a national unity government led by the consensual prime minister and a consensual and inclusive reorganized government. This new transparent, consensual and inclusive is in charge of running the country, cooperating with the international community and setting the conditions for a free, fair and credible election. This does sound good at first blush, but almost immediately after working through the road map, Rajoelina had appointed Camille Vitale as prime minister once again. While this is not ‘technically’ breaking road map rules as Camille Vitale is not officially part of the HAT as a party member, but it definitely breaks the spirit of the road map as Vital is Rajoelina’s right hand man and Rajoelina unilaterally appointed him, there was nothing consensual about his appointment.

The problem with all these negotiations is that there will never be a free, fair, or credible election because it is precisely what Andry Rajoelina doesn’t want. Rajoelina has consistently shown no respect for the spirit of any road map or accord calling for the formation of a consensual, transparent transitional government. Every time an agreement has been reached, he has been quick to appoint members of his own party to the most powerful and influential parts of the Malagasy government, leaving the scraps for the opposition parties. He has also shown no respect for the constitution of Madagascar simply going into the 4th republic of Madagascar by having a referendum that was riddled with problems and irregularities and subsequently by altering the constitution so that he can legitimately be president and adding all sorts of clauses to suit his agenda such as demanding presidential candidates live in Madagascar 6 months before the election while at the same time banning their entry to the country.

So under these conditions, how will it ever be possible to pull Madagascar out of this crisis? Rajoelina can and will continue manipulate the rules of Madagascar, ban demonstrations and arrest dissidents. The SADC road map is flawed and it seems as though the general consensus on the internet by international parties is  that they would be quick to accept any SADC resolution, flawed or not. Madagascar is destined to be stuck in this quagmire of a coup for a while as Rajoelina has nothing to lose, and will not stop his manipulation of his own country until he is internationally recognized as the legitimate president of Madagascar.

Until he is, the country will be stuck in a state of poverty while the de facto president uses whatever money the country has to periodically goes on tours in Africa, France and possibly some parts of Europe to promote himself as the saviour of Madagascar who is unfortunately illegitimate and to try and garner support for his cause. So expect there to be more SADC proposals and talks, stalling and diversion as well as periodic vain tours to try and convince African/French leaders to take up his cause.

SADC to the world: Military coups pay off

No doubt you have seen this headline in various headlines around the internet, but I had to use it because it is completely and utterly true (or at least at the moment since SADC has not reversed their direction). It is not likely that they will actually reverse their decision as the ‘Leonardo Simao’ the chief negotiator for this roadmap continues to support it despite Rajoelina clearly violating its stipulations by re-appointing Camille Vital as the PM. So the SADC is setting the precident and announcing to the world that military coups do pay off, I suppose, if you wait long enough for people to cease caring.

If the SADC is going to stick to this position and not support democracy, then there is virtually no hope for Madagascar. The international community only seems to be interested in commenting on the issue and nothing else, Madagascar does not have much, if any, mind share. Clearly the rest of the world has other priorities… France and the UN seem to favour the Ivory Coast (perhaps because of the violence) and have no problems intervening and bringing Ggabo to justice. In Libya (a supporter of Rajoelina) coalition of the willing, including my country, are intent on removing a dictator they dislike based on an ever changing UN directive (which is anything but setting up a simple ‘no fly zone’)’. And if those two items don’t capture the attention of the world, the remnants of the Arab uprisings or the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan have the remainder of the international community’s attention.

Meanwhile, in Madagascar:

  • Families are having problems keeping their children in school.
  • Families are having a hard time even finding food.
  • Healthcare is rapidly declining with government health spending down to $2/person down from $5 in 2009 and $8 in 2008.
  • The purchasing and distribution of medicine in Madagascar is virtually collapsing, reducing family access to essential drugs.
  • The government continues to oppress freedom of expression and assembly having done the following:
    • Forceably dispersing public demonstrations
    • Shooting peaceful protesters
    • Shutting down virtually all independant radio/television networks
    • Tampering with the independance of the judiciary
    • Harrassing advocates of constitutional democracy
    • Arresting political opposition members
  • Government funding has fallen and has been reduced from $400 million to $200 million causing health, agriculture and economic development to receive much less funding.
  • Basic social services are at risk because of said funding cuts.
  • Nationwide poverty is up to %76.5 from %68.7.
  • Government is burning through money trying to artificially lower the price of staple foods and gas from market costs..

The longer that the coup government is left in place, the deeper Madagascar gets into economic, humanitarian and environmental problems. And worse, if they continue on their path of attempting to legitimize a coup leader it could lead right into another dictatorship where no doubt the Malagasy people will continue to suffer. It will also set a precedent for the rest of Africa that coups do in fact pay off because the SADC is busy trying to save face by speeding through negotiations rather than actually taking the required time to resolve them.

The SADC ‘must’ reverse their support of this absurd roadmap and reconsider their appointment of Leonardo Simao as negotiator. This is the only time we have ever seen the SADC take a path that diverges from the international community and its own previous direction. Also, all negotiations up to this point have been completely in favour of Andry Rajoelina, the roadmap presented by Leonardo Simao allows Rajoelina to concentrate his presidential powers and provides him with a mechanism where he can ‘officially’ run for president whenever the elections are held. There are so many things wrong with this round of negotiations that it can only be related to the individual that is heading them. Leonardo Simao is corrupt, is in the back pocket of Andry Rajoelina and should be removed from all negotiations.

Former presidents not welcome

In interesting news, and what I thought would be seal the fate of Marc Ravalomanana had never come to pass, why? Because Andry Rajoelina has barred him and apparently all other presidents from returning to the country.

In the back of my mind, and probably in a previous post somewhere I had thought that a while ago when Ravalomanana first fled from Madagascar to South Africa escaping near death that the HAT had attempted to get him extradited from South Africa to face all of the crimes that they accuse him of. And for the past couple of years, Ravalomanana has been living safely in South Africa and advocating his and the other former presidents stance to the SADC. So looking at the most recent news, does it make sense now that at a time that Ravalomanana is basically offering himself to the HAT that they refuse his entry to the country? It doesn’t add up.

But perhaps it starts to make more sense if you look at what both the SADC and the HAT are saying…  we have the SADC on one hand stating:

Leonardo Simao, who is heading SADC’s international mediation team, said negotiations over Madagascar would be closed “within the coming days,” with eight of 11 parties signed up to the “road map.”

“Those who have chosen not to participate, for strategic or other reasons, will have the responsibility for explaining to their activists, their supporters, why they are not participating, not the mediation team,” Simao said in an interview in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, today.

And on the other side you have the HAT PM stating why they want to keep Ravalomanana back:

Madagascar’s government will ask South Africa to “keep Ravalomanana there for as long as possible” to avoid any trouble and allow the country to move forward with mediation, Prime Minister Camille Vital said today.

A little bit peculiar isn’t it? The SADC stating that the discussions will close very soon and those who have not chosen to participate for strategic or other reasons facing the outcome of the mediation? And at the same time the HAT PM very stern in his statement to keep Ravalomanana (and most likely Ratsiraka) away from anything to do with mediation or elections?

There is something very wrong with a mediator and the PM of an illegal government meeting in Madagascar, negotiating and not allowing any other party who wants to participate to do so. Don’t forget, they just recently arrested a lot of the representatives of the opposition from a trumped up ‘illegal demonstration’ charge previously, so if they are tied up… who is it that they are negotiating with? It also strikes me as very odd that the negotiator and the PM seem to be of the same mind… we will push through, it’s taking too long… if the opposition doesn’t or can’t participate, that’s too bad. It appears that you have to play along with whatever the proposal is whether you like it or not as a party, which will inevitably see Rajoelina as a legitimate president until elections in November.

Simao met Thursday with Madagascar’s Prime Minister Camille Vital, who said the Southern African Development Community (SADC) process is taking too long for the Rajoelina government.  Rajoelina has said he will hold his own talks with political parties next week and move ahead with the proposal, which recognizes him as president until elections are held later this year.”

I believe that the sudden urgency of Ravalomanana and others returning to Madagascar stems from the realization that after all of this silence and lack of negotiations that somehow Rajoelina has someone or many people taking there side. There is no other reason that the SADC could be taking such a hard line that is almost in perfect agreement with what the ultimate goal of the HAT is, a legitimate Rajoelina presidency. It is really too bad as I remember a while back that it was Rajoelina that was the one stating that the Malagasy have to solve their own problems and sadly, now it is Ravalomanana’s turn to state the same:

Malagasy-Malagasy dialogue; it is so important for the political parties,” said Ravalomanana.  “We need to talk.  They cannot solve it without these talks, reconciliation.”

This emphasizes how important it is to have the mediator on your side and for a time they were siding with the former president. Somehow over time this has changed and now Ravalomanana, Ratsiraka and Zafy will be in trouble if this proposal goes right past them and appoints Rajoelina as the legitimate interim president.

So in the coming week we will see negotiations occurring in Madagascar with the HAT and SADC under the guise of a resolution that in itself bans Marc Ravalomanana from returning to Madagascar (possibly ever) as defined by the very vague and loose term ‘political stability’ and that give Rajoelina everything he wants in the form of a legitimate presidency.

A SADC mediation proposal bans Ravalomanana from returning to Madagascar until political stability is restored, and it names Rajoelina as president of another transitional government until elections are held this year.

This is quite clearly a corrupted set of negotiations, but the question is… will the rest of the world acknowledge it to be legitimate or not? If they do not then the SADC looks as corrupt as the governments it attempts to mediate with and who knows what will happen to them, if anything. If they do, then you will be looking at the new president of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina.

If it ever comes to pass that there is a legitimate Rajoelina presidency then you can guarantee that it will be in place a very long time, especially when the international aid begins flowing back into Madagascar. Any elections that are held will be a complete sham as all the ‘other’ political parties could easily have been setup by the HAT to make Andry Rajoelina look like the only good choice. Or it could simply end up as it always has and we will see another ‘delay’ in elections for whatever Rajoelina decides is good enough to tell the Malagasy.

We are on the very verge of having an illegal coup government legalized and endorsed by an African mediation group, and if this does happen it sets a very bad example for what may be to come for the rest of Africa and certainly does not bode well for all of the Malagasy who are already having a hard time under the thumb of Andry Rajoelina. I for one do not accept the proposal and the way in which the talks are being held and I certainly would not accept the outcome if it was not consensual with all of the other political parties involved in the crisis.

Here is hoping that this agreement never comes to pass… cross your fingers.

It’s been awhile

I was taking a little hiatus from blogging since everything Madagascar was stuck in a perpetual loop of failure, so glad that when I return things have changed (sarcasm).

The problem of course is that things haven’t changed, not even a bit. Since May all that has been occurring basically is a bunch of scientists stating that Madagascar is soon to be a paradise lost:

I completely agree that the world is losing something special with the loss of all the fauna/flora in Madagascar, but you can hardly expect anything less when the illegal government of Madagascar is using the sale of rosewood to prop itself up (and who knows what else).

Aside from the worlds concern over Madagascar’s precious fauna/flora there has been virtually zero interest in the people of Madagascar,  which of course led to the lack of stories and progress in the country.

I am truly starting to believe that the world is becoming complacent and bored of hearing about the endless negotiations between 3 ex-presidents and an illegal government, I know I am, here’s why:

July 22nd, 2010: Chief mediator in fresh Madagascar peace bid

There was hardly any news on this latest attempt at all, let alone the results of the talks.

I have started to lose count as to how many times Joaquim Chissano has gone to Madagascar to try and talk to all the politicians as it happens so often. But you have to ask, how useful will these supposed talks be if Andry Rajoelina has refused to negotiate any longer? If you ask me, he probably went for a brief 4 day vacation in Madagascar to see how everyone is doing. There were no talks, well none that anyone has recorded and published as a news story. Even the article announcing that there were to be new talks sounds too apologetic:

“I do not come with preconceived ideas. I want to know, at this level, given all what has happened, what Madagascans think,” he told AFP.

“We have come to offer our good services. To help find a solution. The process belongs to the people of Madagascar,” Chissano said.

There are and will not be any negotiations for quite some time, there is no need to as nothing is currently driving Rajoelina to require anything outside of Madagascar.

August 06th, 2010: Impasse in Madagascar concerns SADC leaders

Really? The SADC is “concerned”? That’s it after over a year and a half? How is the concern of this seemingly useless African body going to help Madagascar? They are about as useful as Joaquim Chissano has been.

Then there is this:

The body was “satisfied” with the “improved political situation and consequent economic recuperation” in Zimbabwe, Mozambique’s Deputy-Minister of Foreign Affairs Aiuba Cuereneia said at the opening ceremony.

They are “satisfied” with Zimbabwe? Really, there can be this much progress in Zimbabwe to be satisfied? I imagine if that is satisfying enough for them, then I am sure that Madagascar will clear up sometime soon.

August 14th, 2010: Madagascar leader signs deal with minor parties

Despite all the concern and attempts at negotiations Rajoelina forges ahead and signs some sort of a deal with 99 parties (excluding the 3 former presidents) so that they can go ahead with elections crafted by the HAT government? Come on! Seriously? I can’t believe that I can’t find any articles or comments on how this is another unilateral move by Rajoelina! Nobody cares anymore (except those in the linked article).

Madgascar’s President Andry Rajoelina signed a deal late on Friday with dozens of minor parties aimed at ending a protracted political crisis, but the pact was rejected by the country’s main opposition leaders. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Rajoelina said it marked a step towards a new constitution for the country, adding: “Our signatures take us in that direction.” The agreement between the 36-year-old former disc jockey and 99 parties confirmed him as president, giving him the power to appoint ministers on the recommendation of party leaders and members of the interim two-chamber parliament. The deal also changed election dates that were initially agreed earlier this week. A referendum on a new constitution will be held as planned on Nov. 17 this year. A legislative election will take place on March 16 next year and a presidential ballot on May 4. “No one can any longer criticise the path we have taken as unilateralist.

I don’t know what to be concerned more about, the fact that there are 99 political parties or that Rajoelina was able to pull this hoax off with little to no bad press.  And I am not sure how 99 unknown political parties working with Rajoelina makes this move any less unilateral since he is still an illegal president, and the legitimate president is taking no part in this plan. Also… this plan is no different than any other plan he has had other than there being 99 parties (which is totally unrealistic) agreeing with him.

So  May 29th to August and this is all there is to report on the current situation in Madagascar, this is sad. As I have always said, Rajoelina will be just fine as long as he has money to sustain himself and the army. And it would seem with local trade and the illegal rosewood logging that the Rajoelina government is going to be around for some time to come (because election dates can change right?).

Meet the new Ratbag government, same as the old Ratbag government

While I am glad that Antananarivo did not become a war zone, I am disappointed that a stand against the current regime basically amounted to nothing (not that I was expecting it to anyway). Isn’t it funny sometimes how you get so desperately bored of the way that this illegal government behaves that you hope that anyone who dares oppose it have some level of success? Sometimes I am scared that the people of Madagascar are going to become so desperate that they will pick anyone to be president, so long as Rajoelina and his government disappear… I know I am starting to feel that way.

Anyway, despite there being no real “action”, so to speak, in Madagascar, there are still quite a few stories (listed below):

And these are only the ones that I want to touch on briefly, there are some more interesting information if you go to the “news links” tab of my blog. In case you are wondering about the title, I borrowed it from John Moore a radio host in Toronto that frequently uses this phrase to describe the federal government in Canada, thought it would be more applicable to the HAT and all their cabinet shuffling.

So about reshuffling the cabinet, I have become unbelievably bored of hearing how many times TGV are going to replace their ministers. At first I thought to myself that it must be me, surely I just “think” that they are changing government THAT frequently… it makes no sense. But then, thanks to Twitter and all the people following the crisis like myself, I get this link to “50 ministers in 15 months” (French article). Unreal isn’t it? Here I was thinking that it isn’t possible to shuffle a government cabinet this many times and there is an article about that very thought.

The government Monday of Pentecost is still and always composed of a plethora of 32 ministers, who, with 44 members of the transitional authority, are all paid for with scarce taxpayer resources. By comparison, under Ravalomanana, successive governments of Jacques Sylla (2002-2007) and Charles Rabemananjara (from 2006-2009) each had 21 members. Over the past 15 months, 51 people are exactly who participated in the waltz of ministers orchestrated by Andry TGV, ex-disc jockey

So if you read this right, Rajoelina has added 6 additional ministers to his government and by doing that and everything else he is doing wrong, he is burning through taxpayer money like no one else. The only real reasons that I can think of, but doesn’t necessarily justify how many minsters have come and gone is that he likes to treat his friends and supporters too much. It seems he likes to let everyone share power so they can have their piece of the Madagascar taxpayer pie. If you think about it, there can really be no other explanation since he “hand picks” new ministers for the job, despite knowing perfectly well that another unilateral Rajoelina branded “neutral” government means nothing to anyone outside of Madagascar.

Andry Rajoelina argues that the new cabinet is in line with his plan to establish a “neutral” government in the run-up to elections —legislative and presidential — before the end of the year.

“Once again, it is a unilateral initiative, as such, can not get international recognition, “he told Reuters Fetison Andrianirina, leader of the movement loyal to ousted President Marc Ravalomanana.

Back to the mutiny for a second, it appears (as it usually does) that Andry Rajoelina has his man when it comes to the mutiny of May 20th. According to most news Colonel Raymond Andrianjafy is said to held in connection to May 20th and to have spilled the beans as to why the mutiny was called in the first place. The reason of course, is that Marc Ravalomanana caused this because <insert reason here>. Everytime there is every any trouble involving his government Andry Rajoelina is quick to point out in some way that the former president is responsible somehow thinking that this will deflect criticism of his government for possibly being the real reason as to why this had happened.

The police say Colonel Raymond Andrianjafy is being held in custody in connection with Thursday’s battle between security forces and a dissident group of military police.

The mutineers were said to be angry at alleged abuses by their superiors.

The office of President Andry Rajoelina said Friday the former president was trying to create tensions within the armed forces.

President Andry Rajoelina has accused Ravalomanana of backing Thursday’s mutiny by a military police faction, saying he had thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars at military chiefs in an attempt to destabilise Madagascar.

It is really just all a PR stunt that will be used later on down the road as a reason why the HAT will not attend any upcoming negotiations with the former presidents.

Marc Ravalomanana of course denies any involvement with this, which is believable. Even if he did provide money to the military (seems like they can be paid off fairly easily anyway) does anyone think for a second that a mutiny paid for like Marc Ravalomanana would the the miserable failure that this mutiny was? Besides, how is it even possible to resolve the impasse by paying for a mutiny? If it were possible at all, it’s not like Marc Ravalomanana could resume his presidency without having to answer questions about how he returned, he would end up being no better than Rajoelina.

“I … deny any involvement in the clashes in Madagascar,” Ravalomanana told Reuters by telephone from Pretoria in South Africa where he is in exile.

“I have nothing to do with the military leaders that are behind this and it is not in my interest to finance violent action in the army,” he said.

Now comes the interesting part. It would appear from the last 3 listed stories that if you are banking (no pun intended) on the HAT’s illegitimate government to run out of money that you should think again. It seems as though the HAT government has no problems prostituting Madagascar’s resources to the highest bidder in order to stay in power. First up, a good article from Barry Bearack of the NY times about how the criminal element and the current government are taking advantage of the coup to reap profits from Madagascar’s protected rose wood:
Exploiting a political crisis, Malagasy timber barons are robbing this island nation of its sylvan heritage, illegally cutting down scarce species of rosewood trees in poorly protected national parks and exporting most of the valuable logs to China.

This accelerated plunder of the rainforest coincided with a military coup in March 2009. Andry Rajoelina, the mayor of Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital, was installed as president, and he has since led a weakened and tottering government that is unable — and perhaps unwilling — to stop the trafficking.

“The government does nothing because it shares in the money,” said Ndranto Razakamanarina, president of an association of Malagasy environmental groups and a policy officer with the World Wildlife Fund. “Many of the ministers think they’ll be in office only three or six months, so they decide to make money while they can. The timber mafia is corrupt, the ministers are corrupt.”

“The rosewood is piled up near the rivers; no one is trying to hide anything,” said Guy Suzon Ramangason, the director general of the organization that manages many of the parks. “Chinese businessmen pay the exporters and they in turn pay off the controllers like the police and the government.”

With all the AU/EU/US sanctions that have been coming into place to try and strangle the resources of the HAT, the only real recourse and money maker for the government is to turn to criminal activities to fill the void and since the HAT is criminal, this makes perfect sense. I thought that this would be their only source of income, but I was wrong. Not only does China seem to be responsible for the purchase of most of the illegal rosewood logs they are now getting rewarded with the opportunity to open a mine, which brings us to article #2 “China comes to the rescue with $100 million dollars for a mining project”:
Fresh money for state coffers. The Chinese consortium Wuhan Iron and Steel Corporation (WISCO) has to pay the $ 100 million to the state of Madagascar. It is a payment as a right of making available to Soalala iron deposit, located north-west of the Big Island

Soalala is now become the largest mining project ever launched in Madagascar. It represents an estimated investment volume of 8 billion dollars and will generate up to 100,000 jobs.

The project’s outcome is a windfall Soalala important is timely for the regime transition. The organization of elections, among others, or the launch of some priority investments are all projects that become possible through this resource.

It appears that China is perfectly willing to prop up this illegal government so long as it benefits from it. Just look at the total investment volume and possible jobs! They have basically just put the HAT on life support and are directly contributing to the extension of this crisis! Unreal. Besides rescuing his government, it also gives Rajoelina a pretty good excuse to make it look like he is doing something for the people (i.e. exploit them). I am sure this will be a brilliant announcement for job opportunities, and revenue courtesy of the HAT and all the Malagasy people suffering will fill those 100,000 positions and will no doubt be working in sub-optimal conditions.
Finally,  debt forgiveness by Iraq and Russia. I have read somewhere that poor countries that borrow a lot of money, or use many of the programs offered by them stand to pay a lot of money in interest for the money they borrow. As it turns out, the HAT will be saving quite a bit of money in the form of loan forgiveness,  80% of a 234 million dollar loan (187.6 million) and 21 million dollars in interest payments from Russia. So now that this money is not obliged to be given to these countries, the HAT has had 208.6 million dollars freed up, that is, if they even had the intention of making payments.
The impoverished Indian Ocean island saw 187.6 million dollars waived from the 234-million-dollar loan after negotiations earlier this month, said the statement from Madagascar’s finance ministry.

The rest of the debt will be repaid interest free over the next seven years.

Madagascar reached a similar deal with Russia in January, resulting in the cancellation of 21 million dollars in interest accrued from a loan.

There was a funny comment made by Lova Rakotomalala on Twitter that pretty much sums up the Iraq loan forgiviness in under 140 characters:
lrakoto: U know U R not doing well when Iraq feels bad 4 U: RT@Manantsoa@haabanews: Iraq waives 80% of #Madagascar debthttp://bit.ly/bAXnR2

So true.
Looks like the HAT has been given an extension to continue tormenting Madagascar’s people, unfortunately.

Chaos in Tana

It’s unreal, but there was a clash between the FIGN (Forces d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale) and the Emmo-Reg (Malagasy Army) today in the capital.

I haven’t had time and don’t have time to look into things in great detail, but what I have seen so far is this:

  • There a statement late on the 19th where the FIGN announced that there will be a meeting on May 20 at 8am at the Mausoleum. Called on all people to join them and that they would protect them with their strength.
  • There was also a religious gathering also that had gathered to protest against recent acts of violence against various journalists and radio stations so they decided to heed the call.
  • The Madagasikara movement had planed to join the pastors in protest.
  • 4×4 s appeared at the Mausoleum to disrupt the pastors hymns.
  • Eight military trucks and a jeep then arrived at the Mausoleum erecting barracades.
  • A shoot out begins between the FIGN that are holed up with pastors and anyone else that was at the Mausoleum.
  • Reporters were not allowed on site, so the numbers reported for injuries and death cannot be validated (7 civilians wounded 3 dead).
  • 5 people were arrested including a pastor.
  • The clash appears to be the result of there not being a roadmap to resolve the crisis as was promised.

I am not quite sure what the current status is on anything, but needless to say we are reaching a boiling point. If we have come to factions fighting amongst one another with their side clearly chosen, that cannot bode well for the near future. Now everyone in Madagascar is sick of Rajoelina, even some with guns… but army who is more or less endorsing Rajoelina’s lame, same old road map are the only ones sticking up for him.

I am afraid to think of what comes next after this, usually these things are just the beginning of a bigger problem, but who knows. Perhaps what is worse is that there is no prospect of a resolution (since Rajoelina refuses to negotiate further and is unilaterally making decisions again). This can only serve to fuel more discontent with FIGN and supporters, so I can hardly see this dying down. Here are some links related to todays events:

Hopefully, there will be no further violence or deaths… but with the way Rajoelina is, he really isn’t leaving these people much of a choice.

#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.