Madagascar News- Current Issues and Perspectives

Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

Madagascar News Today

In Politics, Timeline on May 29, 2009 at 2:26 am
  • August 21, 2009: Local media focus on announcing disparate news of dissenssion among political parties and the armed forces regarding the terms of Maputo deal. This  signals that political instability, general insecurity, and threats of violence are far from being resolved in Madagascar. It is also a clear evidence that Rajoelina is not in control of his supporters, another reason for thinking that the transition is all about power-grabbing.
  • August 20, 2009: According to People’s Daily Online Madagascar politicians postponed their scheduled talks on power transition because of controversy over the freshly-signed  Maputo deal. Mediators are presetnly  in Madagascar, and Rajoelina has rallied holdhovers for a preliminary meeting questionning the terms of the agreement, reports local press. Maputo II was scheduled for August 25-26. Midi Madagascar writes that 457 seats for the new consensus transition are in dispute. Factions of the armed forces demand inclusion in the transition administration.
  •  August 17, 2009: According to local press, several interested parties, who are holdhovers of the HAT regime,  refuse several terms of the Maputo deal. These groups include some members of the armed forces, and some groups issued from the Rajoelina regime. As to Rajoelina himself, he would claim the legitimacy of his assignment of the presidency of the transition.
  • June 25, 2009: Unified message in all major newspapers: Division will symbolise tomorrow’s Independence Day June 26 celebration. No foreign officials will be at the HAT-held reception, ex-president Zafy will hold his private ceremony, and the legalist group will have a separate, undefined agenda. Such is reported by l’Express de Madagascar, Madagascar Tribune, and Midi Madagascar. Meanwhile, the HAT has apprehended what they call “terrorists” according to the same sources.
  • May 29, 2009:  Contrary to Rajoelina claim for undisputed leadership as reported by, and elaborated on without reserve by the local press, there is still no clear evidence of such worldwide recognition. Regional press, such as The Guardian and the Citizen  converge to report that Rajoelina was granted a meeting with Kaddafi for seeking advice and upon interventions from France. 
  • May 26, 2009: All major local media confirm that contact group-led negotiation talks are stalling as various major groups refuse to bend. Indeed, 25-year long ruler Ratsiraka pulls out of the negotiating table. According to Reuters, Ratsiraka and his allies, who remain extremely influential in Madagascar current politics, demand amnesty for all 2002-related crimes. As for the elected-president Ravalomanana group, its prerequisites remain unmet: that is, the return of the exiled president under safe conditions, the liberation of the prime minister and the ending of arbitrary arrests. 
  • May 11, 2009: Roindefo Monja, the HAT’s prime minister, has made front line news in all major local medias, through his open condemnation of the International Community. He has called the U.S. Ambassador to leave Madagascar in his defence of sovereingty during a visit on the coast. L’Express de Madagascar reports that the US Ambassador imposes his own views regarding election calendar.
  • May 9, 2009: Rajoelina condemning the international community makes the news in L’Express de Madagascar. The article questions the inconsistency of the position of the international community toward the Rajoelina transitional regime. Rajoelina is quoted saying that “it is (Madagascar) obligation to defend (its sovereignty). This calls for assuming  responsibility so that dictatorship, in any way or form, will never be back.”
  • Madagascar Tribune and Midi Madagascar report that Antananarivo Commercial Tribunal has issued its verdict regarding the case HAT-TIKO group, major agribusiness belonging to Ravalomanana. The HAT had requested the freezing of all bank accounts, and the seizing of current TIKO imported goods. The Court has ordered an immediate lifting of the freeze and declared itself incompetent regarding the case of seizing of  goods belonging to the group. TIKO group had a sizable stock of staple goods at the Toamasina commercial port. 
  • May 7, 2009: According to AFP, Madagascar has signed a 2 billion dollar deal with Saudi investors. Local medias report that it is rather a memorandum, specifying a three-phase program with projects focusing on energy, tourism and staple goods. Discussions are about the validity of such deal closed by Rajoelina and his regime, whereas there is no valid  constitutional background in Madagascar. Exiled president Ravalomanana has issued a communiqué about the invalidity of such deal, and the International Monetary Funds emphasizes the suspension of any program  under Rajoelina regime, reports Madagascar Tribune.
  • The French daily l’Express de Madagascar expresses irritation that the US Ambassador, Niels Marquardt, is insisting on elections be held by the end of the year and be prepared under consensus of opinions of all stakeholders. The same source reports that the present administration wants to remain inflexible regarding electoral calendar. It is the HAT’s intention to proceed last at presidential elections after having parliamentary seats secured.
  • May 6, 2009: In a written statement released late on Tuesday and reported by Reuters it is specified that “(Ravalomanana) denied reports that the president is applying for asylum in South Africa as has been incorrectly reported in Madagascar and elsewhere.” Ravalomanana also condemned violations of Human Rights under the HAT regime.
  • May 05, 2009: Saudi Arabia is seeking investments in Madagascar, and business leaders have met with Andry Rajoelina. Their focus would be petroleum, tourism, and staple goods, reports Madagascar Tribune.
  • May 03, 2009: Those who arrested PM Manandafy revealed that they were given direct orders from the French Government to stop him from working by all necessary means before May 2nd, according to TIM Madagascar. The same source reports that France might have interests in Madagascar natural resources.
  • May 1st: For two days in a row the French daily Le Monde has been silent about Madagascar while the brutal arrest of the opposition Prime Minister Manandafy Rakotonirina make headlines in other medias. Rajoelina, head of the military-backed High Authority of the Transition, had enjoyed daily headlines in Le Monde until he self-proclaimed President. 

    Rajoelina Mutiny Supporters Changing their Minds?

    In Uncategorized on May 26, 2009 at 11:24 am

    There are signs that the the army is reconsidering its role within the High Authority for Transition (HAT), through interpretation of local media reports. L’express de Madagascar announces the May 27-28 incoming conference of the armed forces and gendarmerie, which ensures internal safety and security. Midi Madagascar echoes by reporting the frustration of some junior officers against the HAT.

    If the mutiny has propelled Rajoelina into power, and has ever since been  omni-present at his side in a very ostentacious, if not outrageously threatening fashion, today its seems to have a claim for its own share of power. This does not come as a surprise since Madagascar military is now exemplary in its organization: it has no recognized leader. Its self-imposed leader is a major, Capitaine-commandant Andrianasoavina, who consistently made the news through his outbursts of violence, and his arrests of generals. According to the HAT minister of defense, colonel Rakotonandrasana, the conference will address the issues of hierarchy, discipline, solidarity and unity. 

    However, the incoming conference would also consider the amending of the Constitution and would question the role of the President as Commander-in-Chief, according to Midi Madagascar. The same source mentions the CAPSAT frustration. The CAPSAT has been reported for having been the source of mutiny against president Ravalomanana. It has been led by junior officers. 

    Madagascar army has been disproprotionnally developped under the repressive Ratsiraka regime, which heavily relied on a large armed forces and intelligence. It counted 125 generals in late 2002, according to the Guardian.  Ravalomanana streamlined the army: he froze promotions causing discontent among junior officers. He also imposed early retirement, and nominated a woman as chief of the army, provoking outrage among senior officers, as noted by the Cyber Observer.

    Today, one can say that the crisis in Madagascar is far from being over as all groups and parties dispute their share of power due to lack of state of law. Is Rajoelina going to loose his mutiny supporters? The Capsat declared that they would remain loyal to him but also voiced their frustration. In Madagascar volatile politics, it is never safe to underestimate any involved party.

    Rajoelina Held Hostage by his Mutiny Supporters

    In Politics on May 6, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    An article from Midi Madagascar published on 05/05/09 is indicative of who is ruling Madagascar. Commandant Charles Andrianasoavina, head of the mutiny, and now famous for his outbursts of violence and violations of human rights, declared his intolerance to any forms of violence. He has several opposition leaders on his “wanted” list. However, the Reverend Randrianalijaona Andriamanampy, another major opposition leader was not to be sought out because he was not “profitable”, said the head of the mutiny.
    A sergeant of his unit was also reported saying that “whenever in action they (would not) receive orders from anybody, not even from the president of the HAT, Andry Rajoelina,” according to the same source.

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