Earlier this week, Madagascar’s transition president, Andry Rajoelina, took off for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to attend the UN conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) taking place from June 20 to 22.
The Rio+20 Conference is a milestone as a 20 year follow-up to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). Thousands of participants from governments, NGOs, the private sector and other groups, convened at Rio+20 to find solutions to how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity, and ensure our environment’s protection on an increasingly crowded planet to bring us towards the future we want.
While Rajoelina did not hold a press briefing before his departure, Prime Minister Beriziky Omer emphasizes the importance of having Madagascar represented in the comity of Nations. “Everything is a priority when it comes to the interests of Madagascar. We cannot isolate ourselves from the rest of the international community […] The participation of the President of the Transition in the conference is a signal about the importance we attach to development and the environment.”
With a personal visit to Rio+20, Rajoelina tends to the needs of Madagascar, and equally demonstrates his awareness towards global concerns.
British billionaire Richard Branson, owner and founder of Virgin Group, visited Madagascar last week to attend the first tourism fair organized by the National Tourism Office in Madagascar (ONTM), and to also work on a project to protect endangered lemurs. Although Branson enjoyed his time in the country, and even took an opportunity to play golf, he also had something else in mind. Branson wanted to open an air route between London and Antananarivo, and seek a lodge on the Big Island to come on Holiday.
To discuss these ambitious plans, Branson hoped to meet with Prime Minister Omer Beriziky during his stay. Before returning to London, Branson invited Beriziky to dinner; however, the Madagascan Prime Minister declined the invitation because he had planned a trip to Toamasina on June 9 to celebrate the 7th annual National Day of Nutrition (JNN), followed by a visit to Sambava on June 11 to meet with vanilla producers.
Beriziky’s priority to tour the provinces over meeting with Branson tells us a lot about his intentions to run in the upcoming presidential election, especially if Transition President Andry Rajoelina and his rival, former President Marc Ravalomanana, are prevented from running.
Anosy, June 12, 2012 — At a press briefing, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pierrot Rajaonarivelo (pictured on the left), gave journalists the following statement:
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Madagascar shall inform the public that the heads of state and government of the South African Development Community (SADC) met in a special session in Luanda (Republic of Angola) on June 1, 2012.
Addressing the Malagasy question, the Summit mandated the mediator of the SADC and Troika of the organization to facilitate the dialogue and urgently convene a meeting between Mr. Andry Rajoelina, President of the Transition, and Mr. Marc Ravalomanana, former President of the Republic. This meeting will ensure full implementation of the roadmap and create a climate conducive to holding elections, free and fair.
Taking note of this proposal from the SADC summit, the Government of the National Union had no objection to issuing such a meeting in a third country, after June 26, 2012. It is in fact desirable that everyone can prepare for this national holiday with some peace of mind.
During an SADC Summit meeting earlier this month, the 15 member countries agreed on the essence of facilitating a meeting between Madagascar’s transition President Andry Rajoelina and former President Marc Ravalomanana. Despite a three-year feud since the assumption of Rajoelina’s presidency, both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana expressed cooperation by putting their rivalries to rest .
At the 2012 International Tourism Fair of Madagascar, held on the day following the Summit, Rajoelina expressed his position on meeting with Ravalomanana, stating: “there is no trouble meeting if this meeting will bring peace and stability in the country.” With his country in mind, Rajoelina suggests his willingness to meet with Ravalomanana for a constructive discussion.
Ravalomanana, who is currently exiled in South Africa, indicated that he is “ready to meet Rajoelina at any time, anywhere, to reach agreement on outstanding issues.”
With both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana cooperating with the SADC’s efforts towards reconciliation, the two may soon see each other face to face for the first time in years. What will transpire at their meeting remains an interesting question. Will Rajoelina and Ravalomanana reach an agreement?
April 21, 2012 in Morondava, Capital of the Menabe Region, Andry Rajoelina inaugurated the rehabilitation of the Mahabo-Morondava section highway 35. To kick off the inauguration, a foot race of “solidarity and unity” was held. Andry Rajoelina joined the race with the local youth and political representatives as wells as famous athletes Rosa Rakotozafy, Augustin Ravaolahy and Jean de la Croix Mahatana. The route was 7km from the airport to the site of the ceremony in Morondava.
The festitivites continued with two popular singers of the island, Jerry Johns Marcoss and Farah. During his speech, Rajoelina thanked the international partners who have entrusted him to complete this project of public interest. The President recalled his visit on Sept. 21, 2010 when he pledged to take steps to rehabilitate roads in the area and expressed his pride and hope for economic avail,
“… I promised to rehabilitate the RN 35. Together we have a challenge and now we have achieved that goal. With several attractions such as Belo sur Mer, Akevo and Baobab Alley, Region Menabe is bound to have major advantages for the economic development regionally and nationally…”
The head of the Menabe Region, Faharo Ratsimbarison spoke and commended Rajoelina, “this day of 21 April 2012 is a day of truth. President Rajoelina has promised to rehabilitate this section of road between Morondava and Mahabo and he kept his promise. Since the beginning, we chose to follow the same route that the President of the Transition and we will continue.”
Gert Grobler, the South African Ambassador of Madagascar
The Troika, a segment of the SADC, will measure the steps for the implementation of the Roadmap and is expected to vote on the differences between the signatory entities. Gert Grobler, the South African Ambassador or Madagascar, stated, “All steps taken will be reviewed, not just amnesty,” responding indirectly the the Ravalomanana dispute. The task of the Troika is to mediate disagreements within the regime on the application of provisions of the document intended to govern the transition. The meeting will also set the tone of the Government Council on April 24th to discuss the provisions of the Roadmap, including whether or not the “unconditional” return of political exiles will be allowed. There is discrepency between the parties on whether or not this is necessary. “We realized what he had to be done. All institutions are set up, with the exception of the Committee for the Malagasy fampihavanana and Special Electoral Court,” added Rakotomavo Lanto, vice president of the CST and president of the Tanora Malagasy Vonona party (TGV).
Pierrot Botozaza, spokesperson of the new opposition alliance
The Ravalomanana party tries to form a coalition within the government as an opposition to Andry Rajoelina, the President of the Transition. Ministers of the Ravalomanana side, those from the Zafy party and those from the Madagasikara Otronin ‘ny Malagasy (Monima) approach to address the regimen’s allies. Pierrot Botozaza, Deputy Prime Minister of the economy and industry, became the spokesperson for the 3 political parties at the council of ministers held at Lavoloha yesterday. He demanded for the reinstatement of Joseph Randriamiarisoa, the fired Minister of environment and forests, and insisted on the implementation of Article 20 of the Roadmap referring to the return of political exiles without condition.
The alliance became obsolete after the singing of the Roadmap; Ratsiraka refusing to sign it and statement from Ambert Zafy lambasting the government caused the fall out. This time, ministers from the Zafy, the ravalomanana party and the party of former Prime Minister Monja Roidenfo seek to unite and form an alliance one again. The disorganized allegiance has already made an impact at the cabinet meeting by causing a ruckus. Andry Rajoelina reminded them of his prerogative to dismiss a member of the government and demanded a mutual respect within the executive committee.