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Big Deal in Madagascar: New Rules on Communication Turn Back the Clock – Mad ComExit!

In Culture, Economics, Freedom, Human Rights, Politics, Society, Uncategorized on July 11, 2016 at 9:05 am

Brexit in Europe – ComExit in Madagascar: The very controversial and highly contested revised rules on Communication have  voted by the National Assembly on July 7th, under overwhelming (?) majority: 80 for, one (o1) against!!! It is now passed unto the Senate for adoption.  What a vote! Mad ComExit?!

The now past project on the revision of the Code de la Communication – New Rules on Communication –  has been causing big waves in Madagascar. In sum, the new law would be anti-Constitutional, infringing articles 11 & 12 pertaining to Freedom of Communication and Information.

This is a Big Deal says Jeannot Ramambazafy, a long-time journalist in Madagascar: “We are back to Tsiranana’s time…People of Madagascar, understand that this is not only about journalists, it’s about the 23 million people of Madagascar. This is about enforcing what is applied under the UN…The US had 44 Presidents and haven’t changed that rule…Under that change, it means that you, people of the Coast, and who are not in the Capital (meaning by that – who have less access to Foreign media- ) will not be able to listen to anything but two news stations.. Under Ratsiraka regime, Latimer Rangers could not report on realities for eleven years…This means we are back to that…” .

Nothing worked: all efforts made by journalists to “correct” unacceptable changes on freedom of communication have been falling on deaf ears. Unfortunately, this is not unusual.

Ah! Why would/did the national Assembly vote for such a thing? Would it be because the now new law will sanction any “diffamation” against a public authority by fines of up to 28 500 euros and five years of jail time? 

The truth is that many people of the street do not quite understand the meaning of freedom of Communication. Or just like some Brits didn’t quite grasp the meaning of the E.U , some Malagasies can’t define Communication (street survey here)

Maybe this is like Brexit – In Madagascar, ComExit will have huge consequences, such as the current calling for the resignation of the President of the country, Hery Rajaonarimampianina. Recently, there were also complaints about the “unreasonable decisions” (caprices) of the First Lady, as well as about rising crimes, permanent instability, and safety concerns.  Unfortunately the consequences of this ruling on Communication are not unforeseen by many. A real Mad ComExit….

Update: 07/11/16 – It appears that revision of the Code of Communication could be underway following the noise made around the issue.

Hé oui, c’est fou! Et l’on fait marche arrière…depuis des années maintenant.

Comme on dit, un pas en avant et deux pas en arrière: c’est le rythme de l’avancement a Madagascar ou les crimes sont à la hausse, comme le coût de la vie, et ou l’instabilité est devenue permanente, insécurité constante.

Les évenements les plus récents remontent du 26 Juin: “acte de terrorisme” selon le Président de a République en condamnant les explosions à Mahamasina. Caprices et actes de déstabilisation disent d’autres en parlant du voyage de fin d’année de la Première Dame qui a perturbé l’économie d’Air Madagascar. Indécence notent certains en décrivant la robe de la femme du Président lors du 26 Juin, évaluée a plus de US$ 7,000. 

Stop! “Inconstitutionnel!” crient les journalistes à propos de la loi sur le Code de la Communication. Communication? Pas trop sur de ce que cela signifie dit l’homme de la rue. Bien sur, renchérit-il, il faut punir les infamies, les fausses rumeurs sur Facebook…

Ceci est fou! Les Brits on fait le Brexit sans penser aux conséquences globales. Madagascar a voté 80 contre un (01) pour un Code la Communication qui rebrousse chemin…Mad ComExit!

(Prenez le temps de cliquer sur les références plus haut, sur la version Anglaise)

 

WAKE UP MADAGASCAR FIGHTS POWERCUT IN THE CAPITAL CITY

In Culture, Economics, Freedom, Society, Testimonies, Uncategorized on March 4, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Would Madagascar be on its way to understanding democracy? Maybe a great example!

The Cyber Observer

“When the power needed by the customers is too important than what is available, JIRAMA has to cut it” This is the first statement that you can see on the page under the category “powercut” from JIRAMA‘s web site. This means nothing else than: “powercuts are never the fault of the JIRAMA … customers are too power foodie”

logoJira

JIRAMA

JIRAMA is a state owned company which activities are exclusively focused on the production and supply of electricity and water. Even if the sector has been liberalized and open to any investor, JIRAMA remains the most important actor within the market specifically due to its large supplying framework throughout Madagascar. Power supply has always been a big issue and also a big challenge for JIRAMA. Combination of delapidated supply framework, need increasing, deficiency offer and last but not least: bad management and money misappropriation, have always helped to dig JIRAMA’s…

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Happy Note on the Salegy and the writer of Tin Pan Alley Malagasy Music – Conservation International

In Culture, Freedom, French, Immigration/Emigration, Pictures, Society on December 31, 2012 at 12:32 am

And to close the year on a happy note, did you know that  Andriamanantena Paul Razafinkarefo, a  Malagasy royalty, better known as Andy Razafy was recognized by many as the ” the most influential black songwriter and lyricist of the 20th century.” He was admitted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, year of the Malagasy “Revolution”. He wrote “hundreds of memorable songs including “Ain’t Misbehavin” and “Honeysuckle Rose.” …. Andy Razafy’s songs would be performed over the years by such musical greats as Bennie Goodman, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald”.

Malagasy Music – Conservation International.

And of course, Madagascar closes and starts the New Year with the Salegy that highlights the diversity of the Island Nation

and the famous and unavoidable traditional Afindrafindrao, 

…which is for the 7 to 77 years old!

Breaking News: Pr. Raymond Ranjeva Nominated by Ravalomanana

In Freedom, French, L'Observateur Viewpoint- Other Sources, Politics, Society on October 17, 2009 at 2:46 pm

On the second day of Addis Ababa Summit,  Raymond Ranjeva, an eminent Madagascar jurist and former member of the High International Court of Justice (1991-2009), is nominated by Marc Ravalomanana for heading the Transition for a neutral regime, report Le Courrier of Madagascar and Les Afriques. Cyber Observer adds that Ratsiraka suggests a “collegiate”leadership for the Transition.

Addis-Ababa: The Real Faces of Madagascar Leadership?

October 30, 2009

All parties involved in Madagascar conflict seem to be mobilising their efforts for the Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Nov. 3-5. conflict resolution meeting, as reported in both local and international media. Despite preliminary meeting also called “rehearsal” meeting by a Madagascar media, it seems that Madagascar crisis is far from being over.  

What seems to transpire is that the African Union envoy who came to Antananarivo the week prior the summit has rallied all local protagonists as to agree on the October 6 Carlton decision. In practical terms, the said agreement has been implemented in Maputo and has resulted in the attribution of seats to the Rajoelina, Zafy and Ratsiraka groups.

But most importantly, and striking enough, AU special envoy Ablassé Ouedraogo, would have announced in Antananarivo that Rajoelina being the leader of the Transition should not be a matter of discussion in Addis-Ababa, echoe all local press. Reuters confirms that  presidency is not up for discussion in next week talk, and that by the same token, Ravalomanana has reacted to the news by reitering his position against the leadership being handed over to Rajoelina.

The question at this point,  given the length and the multi-fold consequences of the crisis, would be if Madagascar is going to be able to make its own decision about its own leadership. In the meantime, presidential campaigning has started in Madagascar and new mobilities are forming as usual in Madagascar political world.

Maputo Deal: Mission Impossible?

October 17, 2009

Maybe there is no surprise that the Geneva meeting is canceled. Maybe expectations were too high. Diplomacy has its limits. Diplomacy works when dealing with politically-educated parties. Do we deal among such parties in the current situation? Who are the main protagonists? Simply said, attempts are to bring together  Admiral Ratsiraka, Madagascar ruler for 21 years,  Ravalomanana, Madagascar President for 1 and half term, Zafy, Madagascar President for 3 years, and Rajoelina, Madagascar (HAT) leader for seven months.

But it is not as simple as it appears. The deal encompasses geopolitical and personal interests. Geopolitical:  let’s not forget France, the United States, and last but not least the African Community  for its political and economic interests. Personal: The protagonists have opposite personalities and interests. Ratsiraka is known to be a competitively shrewd and domineering personality, Ravalomanana has demonstrated a determined, business guru-winner profile, Zafy has proven to have an unsophisticated and separatist approach, Rajoelina is largely viewed as having an inexperienced and  manipulable background.

Let alone the conflict between Rajoelina and Monja Monja Roindefo, his prime minister, as well as Rajoelina’s disappointed “supporters”. Now, regional interests are also coming into play. Monja Roindefo is the son of Monja Jaona, a politician of Southern origin, well-known for his drastic approach to nationalism. It appears, that he has  definitely been put on the sideline by the HAT.

Local Reactions to the Maputo Deal

Voilà pourquoi l’importance l’importance d’une élection. Voilà pourquoi l’importance d’un véritable parlement représentant la population, voilà pourquoi la nécessité de l’éducation de la population par les média.
Si Madagascar ne peut pas se remettre sur les rails raisonablement, eh bien, la communauté internationale se chargera de ce travail. Il est une véritable honte que Madagascar  Madagascar soit tombée si bas et continue de le faire. Et dire que Madagascar se veut dire différente de l’Afrique en termes de gouvernement. Rien ne l’a prouvé ces derniers mois et ce qui se passe actuellement ne prouve pas le contraire non plus!
Le respect se gagne par les actes et l’attitude, non par la force, les armes ou les chantages.
Il est plus que temps que la population – majorité silencieuse sortie de son silence- exprime clairement son point de vue de manière organisée, intelligente et cohérente pour se faire entendre sur l’échiquier mondial.
Et la population a le droit et le devoir de savoir comment les changements  affectent l’économie du pays. Par ailleurs, quelle est la définition du mot “TRANSITION”? C’est certainement l’opposé de permanent. Alors, parlant de droits acquis s’oppose au mot transitionnel.
Du reste, comment la transition est-elle devenue telle? Madagascar doit d’abord redevenir officiellement un état de droit et  alors, l’on pourra parler de droits. Donc, élections d’abord. Serait-il imaginable que  certains appréhendent les résultats de la future élection et veulent assurer leurs sièges, d’ores et déjà? Comme dirait feu Général Ramanantsoa “Malgaches, mes compatriotes” montrez au monde que vous comptez: non par la violence, non par les mouvements de rue, mais par une expression éduquée. Une nation indépendente ne peut etre dirigée que par des esprits indépendants qui n’ont pas a se soucier de leurs sièges, mais de l’intérêt de la population.
Voilà l’esprit d’un parlement et de toute élection: écouter la voix de la population et faire entendre cette voix à grande échelle sur l’échiquier national et mondial.

(by L’Observateur, Madagascar Tribune)


Madagascar: Out of Control?

In Freedom, Politics, Society, Terror, Timeline on August 20, 2009 at 5:46 pm
August 26-27, 2009: Madagascar peace talk deal is extended while stakeholders fail to reach a consensus on who will lead the transition. Meanwhile, in Madagascar confusion climbs. There is frustration both in Maputo and in Madagascar. Is Madagascar getting out of control? When the people will want to have their say? In Madagascar, the fate of the country lies within the hands of the most vocal and powerful ones. All the reason for international mediators intervention. Mediators urge for wrapping up of negotiations today regardless of the outcome.

Rajoelina Camp: Ruthless or Lawless?

  • August 27, 2009

China Viewreports that the five men arrested in Maputo were reported to be Rajoelina security staff. They were apprehended for illegal detention of arms and were to be extradited to Madagascar, said Maputo police.

While the talks are being extended to a third day in Maputo, Tovonanahary Rabetsitonta, an economist in Madagascar has been calling on the armed forces to take over power for holding earlier elections, according to the same source.

Madagascar Tribune gives more details about the subject. In fact,  Rabetsitonta is a politician, founder of the Group of Reflection and Action for the Development of Madagascar or GRAD/Iloafo party. In 2002, the party was part of a coalition party supporting President Zafy, and that contested the 1993 National Assembly Election, according to African Elections Database.

Antananarivo daily L’Express de Madagascarquotes a senior officer, general Randrianafidisoa : “No power that does not get the support of the army will succeed in leading the country. Therefore, it would be impossible to refuse the transition presidency to Rajoelina.”

Midi Madagascar notes that power sharing deal results that seem to anticipate the allocation of major Transition seats to non-Rajoelina members could lead to an unprecedented economic crisis and civil war.

The article subtily refers to Ratsiraka’s winning edge over attribution of  major seats in Maputo and being animated by “vengence”.

   Maputo Deal Questionned by Rajoelina

  • August 20, 2009

People’s Daily Onlinereports that talks for Maputo II are being postponed by Madagascar parties. According to local press, Rajoelina set up a preliminary meeting in Antananrivo as a platform for leveraging his position. Some factions of the armed forces, regional leaders appointed by Rajoelina, civil servants unions, and Rajoelina himself overtly want to monopolise the new transitional institution and question the week-old signed Maputo deal.

Moreover, some terms of the agreement have not been respected, such as the immediate release of opposing leaders, reports Madagascar Tribune.

This is a signature move of Rajoelina. In the past, Rajoelina has always made a point of contradicting his previous statements, or any previous agreement he had consented to. Such has occured repeatedly during the crisis and had finally led to deadlock and violence (see Timeline).

Local media unaninously point out that this is all about holdhovers and personal interests.

The French newspaper Le Monde has remained silent on the subject since its August 14 reporting on the declaration of the Malagasy armed forces being against the Maputo agreement.

Amnesty International given lessons by the HAT!!

In Freedom, Politics on June 27, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Irony of irony, the major Lilyson, member of the National Committee of Investigation- Cellule Nationale Mixte d’Enquête (CNME) did not hesitate to tell Amnesty International representatives who are currently investigating in Madagascar that the country” has no lessons to take” from the Organization, reports Madagascar Tribune. Major Lilyson has been reportedly saying that “Nobody is as respectful of Human Rights as Malagasies.” He then pointed out at Guantanamo Bay and the Israelo-Palestinian conflict.

However, making headlines of L’Express de Madagascar, Midi Madagascar and Madagascar Tribune are new arrests of at least 10 leaders of the ‘legalistic” group, which is the opposition group. The wife of an opposition media executive of Radio Fahazavana has also been “taken hostage” by the CNME. She would allegedly be freed upon her husband’s “reddition”. According to reports, these steps taken by the HAT on June 26, Independence Day in Madagascar, could be incendiary. It has been followed by violent street protests.

Worth mentioning is the recent acquisition of three surveillance helicopters by the HAT and the creation of a new military body, the Special Intervention Force (FIS) head by majors Charles and Lylison. They were used to survey the opposition manifestations on this Hune 26. This is reported only by Madagascar Tribune. The members of the FIS group  are operating with a hood to be kept secret, and were part of the military parade at the June 26  celebration organized by the HAT, observed the same source.

For a few months now, all major medias in Madagascar have consistently reported that arrests and searches without warrant  of opposition groups and leaders have been proceeded by hooded militaries.

The HAT has taken over the country governing by facto for three months now. The crisis is unresolved. Mediation talks are at a stalemate according to the latest reports. International mediators are re-routing negotiations under new leadership.

Press Detox: Rajoelina Strives at Misinformation

In Freedom, Terror on June 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm

In the absence of state of law, there are no restrictions on means of information or disinformation issued from the HAT to the entire population, nor on administrative, legal, or executive decisions originating in Madagascar. As the French idiom says “au pays des aveugles, les borgnes sont rois“, now  in this “country of the blind the one-eyed men are kings” and the HAT makes it rain or shine as it pleases to him.

Contrary to the May 29th 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 to seek advice upon interventions from France.  The Indian Ocean Newsletter confirms that Sarkozy’s general secretary “pulled out strings” for Kadaffi to meet with Rajoelina. Libyan press was reported being irritated by Rajoelina. As for his meeting with Wade, no statement has been released by Wade’s office before Rajoelina claim, neither there is indication of recognition by the Senegalese reader. Rather, according to a more recent press release from the Cabinet of the Senegalese President,  recommendation was made to Rajoelina to observe the position of the African Union and the International Community, at all times. Wade’s office press release was not elaborated by local media in Madagascar. In fact, if it were not to readers’reactions, it would not have been mentionned.

Undisputed leadership in Madagascar has been taking form surely and progressively. Yesterday, June 3rd, President Ravalomanana was condemned to a four-year jail term in absentia and $ 70 million fines for the purchase of the presidential plane, Air Force One II. Such is the headlines of all major local media. Le Monde, lately quasi silent about Madagascar affairs, has not failed reporting the news. Questions of due process are arising, report Midi Madagascar and Madagascar Tribune.

Major local media report that recently, Rajoelina, the HAT leader, had officially diverted a commercial flight to Dakar in order to meet his business and political needs. Passengers were not informed about the Dakar stopover that caused delays and concerns, and the HAT has not apologized. For the HAT this was due to budget imperatives.

It is not the first time that Rajoelina issues comments that contradict press releases made by foreign members representing the International community in Madagascar conflict resolution attempts. In fact, by now, Rajoelina has been striving at mass misinformation through the support of local media. Although media seem to disapprove of his comments, they show no clear evidence of such; rather confirming in their reports without further verification that Rajoelina, and therefore the HAT, is “recognized” by the “international community.” Examples are endless. The Indian Ocean Newsletter had issued an alert that “contrary to the stories circulated in Antananarivo by certain sources within the High Authority for Transition (HAT), no invitation to go to Morocco has been sent to the President of the HAT, Andry Rajoelina, by King Mohammed VI”.

Other blatant examples are shown in Rajoelina’s consistency at contradicting or denying statements issued by foreign representatives within 24 or 48 hours following conflict resolution meetings. We heard this about his prior agreement to early elections and to his non candidacy to presidential elections, among others.

Misinformation has also been very consistent in the contradiction between political rhetoric profusely diffused in and out of Madagascar and local realities. Key themes claimed in international and local media by Rajoelina and the HAT are democracy, financial order, and freedom of expression. In Madagascar, it translates into arbitrary arrests, a myriad of quick condemnations, a 40-member HAT body, and severely controlled and repressed manifestations as daily reported by local media, and without much consequences.

Rajoelina comments are taken at face value. One wonders if this is cultural since by tradition Malagasies respect authorities, or lack of professionalism or fear of reprisals. Recalcitrant media are subject to being shutting down in Madagascar. Media seem to be allowed to make headlines of what is said to be happening for justification of “respect of freedom of expression”. Content and accuracy become irrelevant where lack of state of law is prevalent and when media want to be able to keep their doors open. The HAT strategy seem to be the “fait accompli”. Media follow suit: key to mass misinformation.

All Africa reports that Ravalomanana would return to Madagascar by June 26. Local media are now covering the cascading condemnations of members of the Ravalomanana administration: another way for the HAT to make Madagascar news headlines.

Madagascar Held Hostage by its self-proclaimed leaders

In Freedom, Terror on April 30, 2009 at 2:11 am

A few weeks ago, in an interview with the French daily Le Monde, the administration’s declared opponent, ex mayor Andry Rajoelina, has depicted then President-elected Ravalomanana as dictator and assassin, and accused him of misspending public funds and starving the population.

Today, as leader of the High Authority of the Transition (HAT), Andry Rajoelina is multiplying his orders to violently repress any expression of opinion on the part of the population, dissidents, media and bloggers alike, according to several sources.

His militaries have been eye-witnessed chasing protesters throughout neighborhoods, throwing tear gas to hospital grounds, storming into people’s homes to seek for protesters, and gun pointing at people in those homes, according to live reports from Radio Fahazavana the day before it was shut down by the regime. 

Rajoelina regime accuses the victims of killing each other to discredit the HAT, say local daily papers. In parallel, there are allegations  of militaries searching for bodies in hospitals and in clash areas, reported by some local medias. 

On the one hand, the government is on the verge of bankcrupcy. On the other hand, there are allegations of diverted and seized staple goods from the toppled President businesses by militaries, to be sold at reduced price to the population. By the same token the TIKO group, Ravalomanana business, is summoned to reimburse some alleged hundred of millions of unpaid taxes to the State. This was making headlines in local papers the last couple of days.

The latest happenings are high profile arrests made of the security officer of the High Constitutional Court and of the local leaders of the opposition, making now local headlines and echoed by international media. Pictures published by the Cyber Observer transpire one more time the same violence seen during the announcement of Ravalomanana handing over powers to a military directorate, a month ago.

It is clear that there is no arena left for expression of opposition. Tension continues to escalate in Madagascar. 

With the HAT multiplying its diplomatic efforts internationally while taking increasingly drastic measures against the opposition, one wonders what tomorrow would bring.

Antananarivo survives in fear, Madagascar is held hostage in the midst of daily terrorism and political instability, unable to voice its opinion, to live freely, to conduct business,  and let alone to chose its leaders.

Testimonies – Témoignages

In Freedom, French, Pictures, Society, Terror, Testimonies, Timeline on April 24, 2009 at 7:43 am
April 23, 2009 : “les militaires tirent sur des civils, le Gt HAT emp^che les meeting et ils poursuivent les gens 7:55 AM
9 tués par balle dont deux jeunes écolières de moins de 12 ans. C’est le bilan provisoire des tirs sans sommation de l’Emonat du coté d’Ambohijatovo.       Le riposte de la population tananarivienne ne s’est pas fait attendre: d’anosibe à ambanidia…des voitures de la HAT ont été incendié…Des membres de l’émonat ont pris la fuite….Aucune voiture de la HAT n’est plus autoriser à circuler à Tana ville sous peine de subir la justice populaire…  Demain, les anti-puchistes se donnent rendez-vous à Ambohijatovo…Appel a été lancé à tout militaire, gendarme et policier de ne plus etre en tenue dans la rue ” – Victoire
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