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.

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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.

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.

Cracks in the regime

I have been watching with great interest what appears to be cracks in the HAT regime that has had a strangle hold on Madagascar ever since March of 2009. Here are the headlines of yesterday and today:

  • Marc Ravalomanana is rumoured to have sent 500 million Ariary to military at Fort-Duchesne
  • Ny Hasina Andriamanjato has resigned from his vice Prime Minister post in the HAT citing that it is to help them get on the right track and follow the Maputo agreement.

Marc Ravalomanana Rumours

It started yesterday while I was going through all the online Malagasy news papers when I stumbled across this article on www.tananews.com where it was reported that the military at Fort-Duchesne in Madagascar are on the verge of mutiny against their leaders (not sure if this means other military or the HAT).  Perhaps the most interesting part of the article is that it suggests that 500 million Ariary was paid by Marc Ravalomanana to the military and it sounds like it was supposed to be divided among the military there. It really is unclear what the situation is on this story, suffice to say that it is causing difficulties within the various forms of military in Madagascar.

There are various stories across the internet on this:

  • Midi-Madagasikara: Where General Zafera Viennot states contrary to what General Bruno Razafindrakoto says,  that the money is not a rumour and that there are witnesses that can prove it and that members of the FIGN have a right to divide the money. Lieutenant-colonel Raymond Randrianjafy states that there was an intermediary which was in direct contact with Marc Ravalomanana that is confirmed to have received 250 million FMG (10% of the disputed money). General Zafera then goes on to explain that they do not intend to remove Andry Rajoelina from his post as they had for Marc Ravalomanana and that there is no “Fort Duchesne mutiny”.
  • Madagascar-Tribune: Essentially describes the above article, but also describes how heavily guarded Fort Duchesne was on February 10th.
  • Madagascar-Tribune: This explains that Bruno Razafindrakoto met with the press on February 10th to refute the corruption accusations against him by the Gendarmerie (General Zafera Viennot). Also states that there will be an investigation as to whether this money exists and who had reeceived it.
  • Les-Nouvelles: States information similar to the Mid-Madagasikara article at the top, that General Zafera Viennot states information contrary to General Bruno Razafindrakoto. That the FIGN consideres it an “evil” that is corroding its ranks and that many of the FIGN really believe that the sum exists are are angry that its existence was being denied and that it was not going to be divided.

This information, though it was hard to make sense of and put together speaks to many things but mainly that the military is starting to become divided and untrustful of each other.

The fact that these stories have been reported shows that the army is either greedy, because they are already being paid well by Rajoelina, that perhaps not everyone in the army feels that they are benefiting from this coup as the should be or that of course Andry Rajoelina’s government is starting to run out of money. Either way, we have 2 members of the army speaking out against each other and there is unexplained activity with the heightened security around Fort Duschesne.

If it turns out to be true that Marc Ravalomanana had sent the money to the FIGN, I think that would be brilliant! There is no better way to get your revenge on Andry Rajoelina than to turn the same army that transferred power to Rajoelina to then turn against him?

But of course, we do not know whether all of the trouble that seems to be brewing in the army will amount to anything let alone overthrowing Andry Rajoelina. These are all rumours for now, but within all these rumours there must be some elements of truth or else there would not be the heightened security or this intense interest on supposed money.

Ny Hasina Andriamanjato Resigns

This was my big surprise when I had look at the news this morning and is another good indication of things to come. Ny Hasina Andriamanjato, the deputy vice president of the HAT steps down. Here are the related articles:

  • Midi-Madagasikara (link only good Feb12): Reports that Ny Hasina Andriamanjato resigned to make the government reconsider it’s position on Maputo. States that if Rajoelina had listened to him since the beginning, the matter would have been settled in September of 2009 and that no one “dare” speak to Andry Rajoelina about Maputo or his unilateralism.
  • Reuters: Reports that Ny Hasina Andriamanjato told Rajoelina that there would be no international recognition or a resolution to the crisis without the establishment of a unity government. When he resigned on Feb 10th, he had noted that he feels the government is heading in a different direction.
  • Madagascar-Tribune: Reports that Ny Hasina Andriamanjato
  • Les-Nouvelles: Reports that after a meeting of the HAT ministers at Iavoloha he decided that he would resign. Indicates that Andry Rajoelina is that certain members of the HAT are pressuring Rajoelina to move unilaterally to form his own government.

This is a pretty big deal that such a high ranking, staunch support of the HAT has decided to step away from his post because the party is going down a path that he disagrees with. I have mentioned Ny Hasina Andriamanjato from time to time on my blog:

  • When he was threatening to replace many of the Malagasy senators around the world in March 2009.
  • When he was talking tough against the SADC upon rumours that they were going to invade Madagascar in April 2009
  • When he had accompanied Rajoelina to Paris in September 2009 after the UN had embarrassed Andry Rajoelina by not allowing him to speak.

He has always vehemently defended the HAT as much as possible as the foreign minister and seemed to be Andry Rajoelina’s second right hand man, after Monja Roindefo. It is so amazing that this is happening because this could mean that the HAT is falling apart and that there is some descension among its ministers. What else would make such a highly positioned HAT minister resign and come out in public and say the approach Andry Rajoelina is taking is wrong?

Cracks in the Regime

Both of these stories fit so well together because how the government and the military are performing this delicate balancing act that is gradually coming apart, other wise we wouldn’t see this news. If the military are starting to have money problems, or are just too greedy then the HAT will have problems. If the ministers of the HAT do not agree with Andry Rajoelina, or if they see that the HAT ship is sinking I am sure that this will not be the last minister that will be leaving it.

In the coming weeks I don’t think we are going to see much coming from the military, but we probably will see some action from the HAT. I am betting that there may be at least one more resignation and then you will see a complete about face by Andry Rajoelina and he will be once again eager to jump back into Maputo talks to form an actual inclusive government, not a unilateral one.

I know it isn’t good when I am hopeful, it has never ever panned out in the past. But I am truly hopeful that there is not much life left in the HAT and that there is only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down, the Malagasy citizens suffering must come to an end.

Rajoelina touring while economy crumbles

International news outlets have been very quiet as of late, most of which seem to be waiting for something to occur in the talks between the AU and Malagasy politicians. But there was one just today that was interesting and made me think again regarding whether or not things could get worse for Madagascar, and most certainly, they will.

Here is a run-down of various interesting things that I have plucked out of the news (57% of which are from Madagascar Tribune):

Anniversary of “Red Saturday”

It is hard to believe that only a year ago things were very heated in Madagascar and there was still a fairly big movement for change and Sunday February 7, 2010 marked the 1 year anniversary of an event that took the lives of 50 people. The Madagascar-Tribune has a pretty good summary on what had transpired that day based on the testimony of many witnesses, and indicated something that I had never heard before, that perhaps the shootings were not all coming from the palace guards.

I think there are 2 things to remember on this day:

  1. Andry Rajoelina was not present when the shootings began.
  2. There was a distinct hand signal that everyone has witnessed that had led an emotionally charged crowd into danger.

I think the Andry Rajoelina and his party used the crowd as martyrs to make Marc Ravalomanana look like a tyrant they wanted him to be and to make themselves look like the only alternative to the oppression they were facing. It is too bad that people had to die for Andry Rajoelina, he has done nothing but hurt Madagascar and turned the clocks back on its progress.

Andry Rajoelina buys a new Mercedes, Sugar is becoming scarce

I chose to put these two together just to show just how much Andry Rajoelina is looking out for the poor, the people he used to obtain the power he enjoys today.

Apparently, while US duties are imposed on Malagasy exports, EU and SADC are on the verge of sanctions and the Malagasy Ariary is losing value on world markets… Andry Rajoelina deals with all of this by buying a new Mercedes 600 armored vehicle for the small price of 2 billion Malagasy Francs or 4 million Malagasy Ariary (I think). I am not sure if we should take this as a sign of things to come, but why would a president need to purchase a brand new armored vehicle unless he feels as though he is going to be in danger in the near future? I guess he is just securing his escape.

Meanwhile, for the average Malagasy, it would appear that there are going to be no more sweets. It has become somewhat of a luxury item as of late because of its scarcity, but now it appears that you can’t even find it in the markets of Androvoahangy! (I thought you could find anything there). And of course with anything becoming scarce, it becomes a very big money maker for those who have access and it is said to be selling it for about 3,000 Ariary/kilogram now if you can find it.

Madagascar’s economy reels as EU mulls sanctions

And if the purchase of a new car when all the rest of Madagascar suffers doesn’t blow your mind, then take a look at what is going to potentially happen to Madagascar in the near future (as summarized from the business week article):

  • Madagascar loses access to the world’s biggest trading bloc (as per Contou agreement).
  • Madagascar loses assistance amounting to 600 million euros (though I thought they had lost that already).

Now, the sanction plans would have to be something that is agreed on by all members of the EU and since France is one of them one would wonder how far the EU will get imposing sanctions. According to the article 44% of Madagascar’s exports are going to France… and with all the history the two countries have, France is bound to put up a fight to either soften sanctions or prevent them all together.

Rajoelina files his trip to France as “personal” and offers up no real reason to meet with French diplomats

Which then brings us to Andry Rajoelina’s “personal” trip to France, lying to media before leaving that he was heading to Paris for personal reasons. While in France he was photographed with French diplomats and was on a French news program smiling away on an interview. There is even text of an interview with French media here at L’express.fr where he is apparently still trying to flout the “freedom” card, trying to convince the world he is doing good when his regime is doing anything but in Madagascar.

It would seem that Andry Rajoelina is trying once again to campaign on his freedom for the Malagasy and their right to choose, blaming all the failures that are occuring on the international communities failure to understand his purpose and the AU’s negotiations. I don’t think there is a person in the world now who believes any of the drivel that is coming from his mouth, so it would appear that all these trips back and forth the Paris and Africa are doing nothing but wasting (presumably) tax payer money. All of this will come to an end once the EU/SADC sanctions are imposed on the country, then it would seem that Rajoelina will become land locked.

Teargassing Malagasy schools

And just to end on the note that Rajoelina really isn’t doing any good for the Malagasy I thought I would mention (and it needs to be mentioned) that they have shot tear gas at a school in Antanimbarinandriana to prevent the “destablization” of the current government. Apparently they were afraid that people might start to rally there against the HAT so they put an early stop to it. The children that attend the school are between the ages of 5 – 10.

Here is a picture of some of the poor children leaving the school after they were gassed.

Rajoelina tear gases children

Rajoelina tear gases children

It would seem that the only way to get rid of Rajoelina at this point is to cut off all his sources of money so that he cannot pay the military, and apparently with the sanctions, that won’t be too long from now.

An open letter to the friends of putchism

I have been meaning to write this blog post a lot sooner, but it has been hard to find the time to analyze the existence of something that completely took me by surprise.

Here is my surprise tweet on January 21st when I had stumbled across a WALL STREET JOURNAL article written by Andry Rajoelina with a most incensing title “An Open Letter to the Friends of Madagascar”.  In the Wall Street Journal of all places! Granted it was in the opinion journal, but did Andry Rajoelina end up with a Wall Street Journal article?

So I took the time to read the article and was furious! (not that I wasn’t sufficiently furious from the title of the article alone) The article was so full of wrong and misleading information it was clear to me that it was “designed” to try and curry sympathy from all of us in North America (but then Andry Rajoelina wrote it, so should I be surprised?). If you were unfamiliar with Andry Rajoelina, after reading this article it might be good enough to convince you that Andry Rajoelina is some sort of David to the international communities Goliath. Since I don’t want that to happen, I have written this post to explain a few things.

I hope I don’t get called out for copying the article verbatim into my blog… but I want to take the article paragraph by paragraph and attempt to right all the wrongs that it may do just by existing. So here we go:

Madagascar, my country, is sinking into a political crisis of extreme gravity, and there is no exit in sight. This situation is the result of the following series of events:
Last March, my predecessor, Marc Ravalomanana, at last became conscious of the limits of his autocratic exercise of power, having been awakened by an unprecedented popular movement. He took the initiative to leave the country, entrusted a military directory with power, then felt it was right to transfer power to me, as the constitution allowed him to do. The Malagasy High Constitutional Court, which was composed at the time only of members designated by Mr. Ravalomanana, validated these actions and ruled that they were in accordance with the Constitution.
(Pardon the underscores, WordPress formatting isn’t agreeing with me)  _
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While there may have been some legitimate reasons why the public would have been upset with Ravalomanana, namely the Daewoo land deal, the purchase of a presidential jet (validated by Rajoelina himself as he could have used a presidential jet on a trip to Dakar, but instead hijacked a jet and forced passengers to wait for him) and perhaps the closure of VIVA, but I would not say that Ravalomanana was autocratic maybe just cocky on how he used his presidential powers. And it may have been the cockiness and public sentiment on these issues that garnered support for Andry TGV’s “unprecedented movement” which inevitably led to the coup.
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To say that Marc Ravalomanana “took the initiative” to leave the country and that the military was constitutionally allowed to transfer power to Andry Rajoelina is completely false. The “initiative to leave” began when Andry Rajoelina had gained army support from the CAPSAT mutiny on March 8th, 2009. With no military backing Marc Ravalomanana had no choice but to gradually retreat from Tana to Iavaloha (outside of Tana) where he would put up his last stand. But after a very short and meek resistance to Andry Rajoelina, on March 17th, 2009 Ravalomanana transfers his presidential power to Hippolyte Ramaroson, the oldest and highest ranking army official and shortly after fled for his life in the night to Swaziland.
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The jury is still out as to whether or not the military “felt right” about transferring power to Andry Rajoelina or if the power transfer was done under duress. This statement highlights a mystery that I feel has gone fairly unnoticed by the media which is the possibility that Hippolyte Ramaroson and his accompanying generals were forced to transfer power at gun point.
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At some point on March 17th, 2009 Hippolyte Ramaroson and 3 of his generals along with Pastor Rasendrahasina (president of the FFKM) were intercepted in transit by CAPSAT and taken to their camp where eventually presidential power was officially signed over to Rajoelina. There has never been any confirmation of this but when asked about the transfer of power the captured generals stated that “the decision was not made under duress” which only makes it that much more mysterious (why insist?). An article from Midi Madagasikara provides some information on the arrests and threats to Hippolyte, Lala Rasendrahasina and Neils Marquardt. Personally I think they were either forced into signing power over at gun point or were made an offer that they couldn’t refuse, if you know what I mean.
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It is a constitutional stretch for Andry Rajoelina to hold power though as the constitution itself only allows individuals 40 yrs and older to become president. Most people believe that the High Constitutional Court’s (HCC) decision to validate the constitutional aspect of the transfer of power was made because of intimidation. Initially this was speculation, but when the HCC reversed its decision on April 23rd, 2009 it turned speculation into truth. This was only highlighted by the fact that  HCC was subsequently stormed by the military on April 27th, 2009 to arrest the head of security accused of “destabilizing the country” (whatever that means).

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The international community, however, railed against what it deemed a “putsch” or a “coup d’état”—terms that I vigorously oppose, considering not only the Constitutional Court’s approval, but also that the will of the large majority of the Malagasy people is to see me lead the Transitional Government.
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As soon as I took office, I clearly said this period of transition should end as quickly as possible. I called for a return to the constitutional order through a rapid referendum, and through transparent and democratic elections. I asked the international community to support my country in these efforts.
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The answer (from the United Nations, from the African Union, from the International Francophone Organization, from the Southern African Development Community) consisted of imposing a “consensual and inclusive” transition under the threat of sanctions. The sanctions included suspending the economic help without which my country is condemned to durable and inevitable chaos. The principle of a “consensual and inclusive” transition is in itself perfectly praiseworthy. Unfortunately, this principle clashed with the Malagasy reality, the limits of which the international community has apparently not been able to measure or appreciate.
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Putting aside the fact that Andry Rajoelina neglected to mention the HCC decision reversal, he also neglects to mention that the large majority of Malagasy people he is referring to are in Tana when he speaks of the “will of the large majority of Malagasy people” charging him with leading a transitional government . Reports on the number of TGV supporters in Tana seems to vary widely from as high as 80,000 to as low as 3,000, but since I have been following this crisis I seem to remember the TGV crowds to be between 3,000 and 5,000 people. During the power struggle there was virtually no mention of support for Andry Rajoelina outside of Tana and most people outside of Tana had no idea who he was. In addition to this, supporters of Marc Ravalomanana came out by the thousands daily to protest against TGV in February it was reported to be 30 – 50,000 people at a rally at Mahamasima Stadium and thousands more came out throughout March after Rajoelina had succeeded in his coup (see pics here at AndryDago). So, if people outside of Tana aren’t familiar with him and thousands in Tana oppose him, how can a “large majority” of Malagasy support him to lead a transitional government?
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Regardless as to whether or not Andry Rajoelina’s intent was to transition the government quickly, the fact is that he had gained his new powers from the use of military force and not via political means. Therefore it would go without saying that the international community would not support him and his efforts because by doing so, they would be endorsing the coup d’etat itself.
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The standard reaction to a coup d’etat is inclusive talks with all parties to reach an agreement that would allow for a democratic solution to a country’s problems. I am not surprised that Andry Rajoelina would take this almost sulky stance insinuating that he does not comprehend why the international community is reacting the way it is to his coup. Sanctions, restrictions and condemnation are the only tools that the international community has to push a country in the direction that it wants (generally toward a democratic solution) and are typically the only thing that forces change in a country aside from some form of military intervention.  He alone is responsible for the current “economic chaos” as he puts it, and if he were truly concerned about his country he would have stepped aside, or agreed to whatever the AU/SADC were proposing. Unfortunately for the people of Madagascar, the principle of “consensual and inclusive” talks are clashing with Andry Rajoelina’s principles and the international community is well aware of the Malagasy reality, but cannot relent as this would also be endorsing the coup.
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What kind of consensus could have been found with a former president who is hated by his people, who plundered his country for his exclusive benefit, who ordered the shooting of a crowd demonstrating its legitimate will to see regime change?
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Why demand, at all costs, that a national reconciliation process include two former heads of state—one who was deposed by the National Assembly and the other who is under severe penal prosecution, and whose political representation in Madagascar is almost nonexistent?
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How could one imagine that a “consensual and inclusive” solution could be found with heads of parties and former heads of state, who have been disqualified by the Malagasy people but brought back to the political stage through gamesmanship? Why, when their sole aim is to demand more than what is reasonable, to block compromise, and to serve only the forces of inertia, should I be the only one held responsible for the failure of negotiations?
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Clearly we have established by now that the former president is not hated by his people if there are many support rallies for him and against TGV to this day. But stating that Ravalomanana had actually ordered the slaughter of his own people is misleading and just a way for him to accentuate his assertion that he is a hated president. He neglected to mention that his supporters were put in danger that day by his call to install the TGV PM in the presidential palace. I definitely do not agree with the shootings that occurred on February 7th, 2009, but I can’t help but wonder what anyone else would have done if there was a rush of angry, politically charged people heading straight forward for them. Your life would almost certainly be in danger, so how would you react? On top of this you would be in charge of defending a “red zone”, a place where you have the authority to shoot. So perhaps it was the circumstances and panic set in causing someone to fire, or perhaps it is just that they are authorized to use force (since it is a red zone)… either way, it was the wrong decision. No one will ever really know what happened that day.
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To this day, no one knows exactly why Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy were included in talks to resolve the crisis. Obviously there must have been some form of political gamesmanship to bring them back, but know one knows how it was done or by whom. What we do know however is that their involvement has made the negotiation process more complex than it needed to be and this complexity can be blamed for the delays in the resolution of the crisis, surely 4 presidents coming to an agreement on anything is not an easy thing to achieve.
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Perhaps it cannot be proven that Marc Ravalomanana did not do certain things for his own benefit (as there were many conflicts of interest) but you cannot say that he “plundered” his country, in fact, it is quite the opposite. Ravalomanana had increased the GDP of the country year over year, made significant investments in infrastructure, education, provided good quality local foods with his company TIKO (one of the potential conflicts of interest),  attained many benefits for Madagascar such as AGOA and MCC. It is Rajoelina’s illegal government has taken away all these benefits from Madagascar and is plundering the country’s precious rosewood, the country is now in a downward economic spiral as a result.
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There are in Madagascar living forces who are much more representative of the people and of their aspirations than those who are responsible for the failures of the past, and who are still today demonstrating their incapacity to overcome mere partisan interests.
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I have however accepted, under pressure from international authorities and considering the risk of eventual sanctions for my country, to compromise with heads of parties designated by these authorities. My hope is that if we are guided solely by the interest of the people and of the country, we can find a consensual way to organize quick elections.
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Readers should recall that, despite the fact that I have the support of a large majority of the Malagasy people and of the army, I have, during diverse negotiations in Antananarivo, Maputo, and Addis Ababa, agreed to many compromises—probably more than I should have, given my strong base. But this is not enough for my interlocutors. Their revanchist spirit and appetite for power overwhelm the general interest.
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But the Malagasy people have been waiting for six months, impatiently, for the end to an illusory and unnatural mediation. Madagascar is being held hostage to a logic that it does not understand. Because there is no exit in sight and because the country is in the midst of a long stagnation, my fellow citizens are made into victims. There is an urgent need to end this situation.
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I have therefore taken the decision to stop participating to the so-called Maputo negotiations. It is my responsibility as president of the Transition is to give the Malagasy people a voice. Only a legitimate authority will be able to democratically put an end to this difficult period of trouble.
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I have designated a new prime minister in charge of leading the current government, whom I am confirming in his duties and whose only mission, apart from the management of daily affairs, is to organize the next elections. I can announce that the election of the members of the Constituent Assembly of the Sixth Republic will take place on March 20, 2010. On that date, the current government will resign.
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The only reason that Andry Rajoelina has ever accepted any negotiations is in hopes that he can somehow obtain international recognition so that he can resume the flow of donor money into Madagascar, hardly over concern or interest for people or country.  As you know he has failed to gain international recognition, the most notable failure being prevented from giving a speech at a UN general assembly in September of 2009.
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When Rajoelina compromised for Maputo II it was once again an attempt to try and legitimize himself and to restore the flow of donor cash. It was obvious that his plan was to compromise just enough to be declared the legitimate transitional president, but not enough to lose any significant amount of power. So a consensual transitional government was formed and talks of ministry distribution were to occur later as disagreements didn’t allow them occur at that time.
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When it came time for the follow-up meeting to discuss the distribution of the government ministries Rajoelina was notably absent so the meeting continued without him and subsequently the consensual government collapsed with Rajoelina deciding that he knows what is best for the country. Rajoelina then appoints a military figure as PM and unilaterally declares that he will have parliamentary elections in March of 2010, pretending that he is a legitimate authority and that the people of Madagascar will have a choice (as anyone elected will need to be HAT friendly). All this in preparation to move to the 6th republic the sole purpose of which is most likely to change the minimum age of a Malagasy president from 40 to a level that would legally allow Rajoelina to become president.
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A new prime minister will then be appointed from the party which wins a majority in the next elections. That prime minister will be in charge of forming a new government, taking into account the representation of various political forces in the new parliament. This government, the result of legislative elections, will be charged with organizing presidential elections so that the new president of the Republic could take up his post before June 26.
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After the Maputo failure, there is no other solution to end this crisis. The Malagasy people must have the liberty to choose their own future. May the international community understand that there is no other alternative, and help us on the path to return to the constitutional order.

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At this point I don’t think anyone believes that there will be any sort of inclusiveness in Rajoelina’s elections and that they is a “solution” to the political crisis. The election, if it occurs, can not possibly be transparent as it will be run exclusively by the illegal government (since the international community does not agree with his elections) and it will do nothing but elect yet another PM that will Rajoelina’s bidding.

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The only part of this article that I believe to be true is that the Malagasy people must have the liberty to choose their own future, but unfortunately they will not have the opportunity as long as Rajoelina governs. All of us in the international community understand that there are no other alternatives but to negotiate our way out of this crisis and we hope that Rajoelina will take the path to returning constitutional order and peace to Madagascar.