Madagascar News- Current Issues and Perspectives

Maputo II: Arrests. Former ruler, Admiral Ratsiraka reclaims Madagascar

In Elections, French, Politics, Terror on August 26, 2009 at 6:35 pm

So predictable, but yet, surprise to some local journalists: the long-time domineering ruler of Madagascar, Admiral Didier Ratsiraka reclaims the leadership of  the transition, report Sobika, Madagascar Tribune, and L’Express de Madagascar.

This comes as a “surprise” to some journalists who evidently have not observed Madagascar history or have underestimated Ratsiraka keen sense of strategy. Ratsiraka has been a domineering ruler for over twenty years, hated and feared by many but uncontested until the emergence of then prominent businessman Ravalomanana, who became fed-up of the system, and who embodied all oppressed and repressed parties. Lately, local media had reported that Ratsiraka just wanted to retire peacefully in his homestead on the East Coast of Madagascar. Partially true, maybe. But it would almost be inconceivable to imagine Ratsiraka staying “lost” on the East Coast.

This is an extraordinary man who graduated from one French elite military school, managed to stay in power in Madagascar for over twenty years, changed Madagascar to fit his personal eclectic vision of socialism through his famous “Red Book”, managed to “avoid” extradition from his country of asylum, France, and consequently, the international tribunal of La Haye for crimes of genocide and against humanity (Gazety.Malagasy, Midi Madagascar, Prevent Genocide International).

This is a man who has been suspected to be behind the Rajoelina-led movement, according to several local media reports and some foreign media as well. Ratsiraka is not and will never be the “aging, fragile” politician that local media have decrypted lately. Ratsiraka is and will remain a man of power, and certainly a redoubtable and resourceful adversary to Rajoelina and all parties involved in Madagascar politics. Ratsiraka cannot be ruled out of the picture. He is a charismatic speaker, an influential political and military figure, utmost capable of reinventing himself.

Is Madagascar going back under Ratsiraka rule? Maputo II may not reach its resolution goal in a timely manner. At this point, it becomes evident, according to local medias, that Ratsiraka’s motivation is not the interest of the country. Neither are the motivations of those who are behind Rajoelina. Observers were doomed to have realized that Maputo I was the endorsement of Ratsiraka come-back. But is was a necessary risk in an attempt to resolving the months-long deadlock.

In the meantime, negotiations are threatened: at this writing, Taiwan News reports that five Malagasy armed men have just been arrested in Maputo upon suspicion of  disturbing negotiations.

Ravalomanana, unlike other members of the negotiating parties, was escorted upon arrival by military men, had reported Midi Madagascar. Evidently, Ravalomanana security and safety remain a subject of concern. Public safety and security have been quasi nonexistent in Madagascar since the military-backed Rajoelina take-over.



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