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.
Mamy Rakotoarivelo is calling all members of the Ravalomanana party to suspend their government activities until the international community irons out what happened in the past few days.
Last Saturday, a pro-Ravalomanana march turned into an agitated showdown when the crowd started to flirt with security measures, resulting in the military pepper-spraying the crowd to break the mob down. Mamy Rakotoarivelo, president of the Congress of Madagascar, who was in the crowd on Saturday, was unfortunately hit by the tear gas. He is also summoned to the criminal trial court for his involvment in the mob. So yesterday, Mamy Rakotoarivelo stepped his foot down, declaring that the pro-Ravalomanana congressmen (57 out of 365) will be on hold until higher authorities share their views of the HTA’s management of the actual situation.
The decision came straight from exiled former president Marc Ravalomanana: “Government officals have been the target of tear gas… Cease all involvment in the transitional governement while waiting for the SADC’s standpoint”. Mamy Rakotoarivelo also denounces th criminal court’s summons to appear, as it is in direct violation with the SADC’s roadmap which requires that all politically-related arrests must be suspended.
The pro-Ravalomanana party is coming hard on the transitional government, trying everything it can to bring the former president back. It should be mentioned that, 3 years ago, when anti-Ravalomanana protesters marched on the Democracy plaza and infringed security measures, dozens were killed by the bullets of the army: Compared to this, tear gas is a much smoother and mellow way to break up a crowd.
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.
Mamy Rajotoarivelo, Congress President and Head of the Delegation of Ravalomanana
A stormy path lies ahead during the review of the amnesty bill draft. Mamy Rakotoarivelo, Congress President and Head of the Delegation of Ravalomanana, insisted “We are committed to quit the current process to end the crisis if everyone does not agree to make an effort for national reconciliation.” The Ravalomanana movement attacked the implementation of the amnesty bill, “We will propose the abolition of the restrictive list of grave violations of human rights of the exclusion from the amnesty. It is not up to the Malagasy to substitute for the international rights, “says Mamy Rakotoarivelo. He also announced that they will file a formal request for the immediate implementation of the Roadmap sections 16, 17, 18 and 20, referring to unconditional return of political exiles. This particular issue has become the main focus and obstacle to the progress of the amnesty bill project.
“Lundi Noir” (Black Monday), day of the February 7, 2009 protests
The National Prosecuting Authority has been asked by the Association of the Martyrs of Antananarivo Merrina Square and the citizens of the State of Madagascar to investigate the exiled ex-president, Marc Ravalomanana, for allegedly ordering the shooting of protestors on February 7, 2009. The group claims the act was a crime against humanity as defined in the International Criminal Court (ICC) and that South African authorities should prosecute Ravalomanana. The victims and their families claim that in total 71 people were killed and 698 injured. Many of these citizens will be presenting the NPA with sworn affidavits encouraging for justice to be done.
After the government’s adoption of the amnesty bill project, ex-president Marc Ravalomanana counter-attacks. He declared, “I have always said that I don’t need amnesty…only those who took power in an unfair manner need it.” The text that has been adopted thus far by the council of ministers, which will be presented to Parliament April 3rd, excludes offenses such as murder and assassination, which would affect Ravalomanana because of the case of “February 7th”.
Ravalomanana said in defense, “
“I thank the leaders who have opted for a general amnesty of the families of suffering prisoners. We must stop procrastinating and move forward in implementing the Roadmap, especially in the application of Article 20,”
referring to the provisions of the document which stipulates the “unconditional return” of political exiles.
The debate that will take place in Parliament will be tough and need clear discussions. Mamy Rakotoarivelo Congress President and Head of Delegation of the Ravalomanana, has provided further details on their position. “We ask ourselves who needs amnesty. Who gave the order to kill people on February 7 by sending them in front of the presidential palace, who was responsible for Black Monday .” He also denied that the party is concerned by the current draft of the amnesty bill.
Rakotomavo Lanto, Vice President of the Supreme Council of the transition and national secretary of Tanora Malagasy Vonona(TGV), specified, “This time, we have a text of the amnesty that meets international standards, which has never been the case.”
Yesterday, the amnesty bill project was adopted by the Malagasy government. The current draft of the bill presented by the President of the Transition, Andry Rajoelina, currently states that ex-president Marc Ravalomanana is not exempted from exile. It states that his alleged acts against human rights, including murder and assassination, are not pardonable. The draft must still pass through parliament at a meeting next Tuesday.