dimanche 11 septembre 2011

Meropa: Fears and rumours in Madagascar ahead of SADC Ministerial visits next week

Un nombre de missionnaire de la SADC sont actuellement présents à Madagascar. Hormis, les membres du bureau excecutif de la SADC, les délégués de la défense de la SADC sont sur les lieux. Ils ot pour mission, d'évaluer la situation politique et sécuritaire ainsi que de finaliser la feuille de route.

A Madagascar, la population demande comme garanti, la venue du président Ravalomanana pour signer la feuille de route.

Autant la population que les mouvances politiques, tous craignent toujours le sabotage orchestré par la France, les mediateurs du GIC et le secrétaire excecutif de la SADC. Ce dernier ayant osé falsifier les décisions des chefs d'Etat de la SADC lors de la séance des chefs d'Etat à Sandton. Par ailleurs la France aurait envoyé un nombre impressionant de soit disant conseillers qui ont clairement pour manoeuvre de garder le présidentélu Marc Ravalomanana hors du pays en maitrisant tous points d'entrée sur Madagascar.

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Madagascar is in a state of high tension ahead of a visit by SADC officials and high-level politicians from South Africa, Angola and Mozambique next week.

“The situation in Madagascar is becoming dire and rapid progress towards a transition out of the crisis is more important than ever for the Malagasy people,” said Roland Ravatomanga, member of the Political Bureau of Mouvance Ravalomanana.

More than two years after the April 2009 coup d’état which forced President Marc Ravalomanana into exile in South Africa, SADC informed the coup leader in a letter dated 2nd September that two SADC missions would visit Madagascar from September 11th to 16th.

Apart from SADC officials, including Executive Secretary Dr Tomaz Salamao and members of the mediation team; the delegation is said to include South African Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and the foreign ministers of Angola, Mr Georg Rebelo Chicoti, and Mozambique, Mr Oldemiro Baloi.

The three political delegates represent the SADC organ on politics, defence and security troika. South African President Jacob Zuma took over the chair of the troika on the 17th August and immediately pledged himself to “continue to render whatever assistance and support necessary to the people in Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Lesotho, as well as to support the post-conflict reconstruction efforts in the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo]<”

According to the SADC communication, the missions will assess the political situation and general security in the country; finalise and sign the so-called “road map” to restore constitutional order; and establish SADC’s mediation office.

High political tension in the country is being fuelled by reports of another coup attempt in late August by senior military figures, who were dissuaded from the attempt by the Catholic Archbishop of Madagascar.

In other notable developments, the French Ambassador, Jean-Marc Chataignier, has warned all French nationals on the island to be careful as the situation in the island is precarious.

This comes amongst widespread rumours that France is sending “advisors” to the island to secure the airports and other points of entry.

The coup leader, who is backed by France and the SADC mediators; appears to be increasingly isolated. Apart from the putative military coup, nine of the eleven “mouvances” who signed the earlier, French-supported, 9th March road map, which attempted keep President Ravalomanana out of the country; have broken ranks and formed a “Republican Pact” and are now supporting the SADC call for the unconditional return of all exiles including President Ravalomanana to contest internationally supervised, free and fair elections.

There is widespread concern that the coup leader, supported by France and the SADC Executive Secretary and mediators; will again attempt to undermine the SADC mission this week.

At the heart of the issue is the return of President Ravalomanana. At its Sandton Summit in June this year, SADC’s political leadership called for the road map to be amended to allow for the unconditional return of President Ravalomanana and all other exiles.

Despite that decision, SADC Executive Secretary Salamao drafted an amendment which imposed conditions on the return saying that President Ravalomanana could only return when favourable social and political conditions prevailed.

The African Union Peace and Security Council responded by saying pointedly after their meeting in Addis Ababa on July 6th and 12th that it took note of the decisions of the SADC Sandton Summit on June 2011, and said: “In this context Council requested that the Roadmap be amended accordingly and be fully consistent with the relevant decisions and instruments of the AU and SADC.”

It also called fot he SADC mediation office to not be left to the SADC mediators alone but to be opened “in close coordination and collaboration with the AU partners, in particular the UN, the OIF, the European Union and the Indian Ocean Commission.”

SADC responded at its latest summit in Angola, where South Africa took over the “troika” by saying: “On Madagascar, Summit reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the mediation process in Madagascar. Summit mandated the Organ Troika assisted by the Mediator on Madagascar to engage the Stakeholders to fully implement the roadmap as amended by the decision taken by the Summit in June 2011 as a matter of urgency, with a view to find a lasting solution in Madagascar.”

Now the leader of the illegal regime, faced with the possibility of a military coup and the defection of nine of the 11 mouvances who were supporting him, has done a volte face, and, supported by France has announced that he will sign the road map – ironically accusing SADC of having caused delays.

No sooner had he announced this than the French Government issued a statement of support on 5th September.

This was followed by a contrary statement issued by the US but signed by South Africa, Germany and the UK; which pointed to the death of an unnamed detainee in prison and spoke of a “climate of fear, intimidation and violence which continues to intensify<”

Malagasy citizens now expect the SADC visitors to arrive with another set of amendments – but none have been seen or considered by Mouvance Ravalomanana who has so far refused to sign the road map. It is expected that the political mouvances will also present their proposed amendments.

They are suspicious of the stated mandate of the mission – asking how the road map can simply be signed so quickly if it is to be amended. They also ask why SADC is to investigate the security and political situation – if not to use it as an attempt to keep President Ravalomanana out of the country.

They point out that President Ravalomanana has not been invited to the proposed signing ceremony and say they are suspicious that a SADC mediation office will be established without the African Union and the other international partners.

Most of all there is fear that the widely rumoured French position that the so-called “anti-French” President Ravalomanana will not be allowed to return at any cost; means that the French are acting to secure the borders of the country to keep him out.

“The situation is highly dangerous. We are literally sitting on a powder keg,” said Ravatomanga.


Media queries may be directed to:

Patrick Gearing

Meropa Communications


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Le GTT INTERNATIONAL, collectif de la diaspora malagasy, dont le siège est à Genève (CH), poursuit un double objectif: la restauration de l'Etat de droit et le rétablissement de la Démocratie à Madagascar. Il prône et oeuvre pour la liberté d'expression, la prise de conscience citoyenne et la mise en place d'une vraie démocratie dont l'exigence première est la tenue d'un processus électoral inclusif, libre et transparent ".