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.
Six soldiers were shot dead last week by a group of dahalo bandits in Madagascar’s Southeastern Anosy region.
After a series of cattle thefts occurred at gunpoint last month, where just about 1,000 oxen were stolen by over 400 dahalo bandits, initial measures were taken to capture the thieves.
Fifty armed military soldiers set off to dismantle the large criminal group in an attempt to reclaim the stolen cattle. During the pursuit, 19 of the soldiers were able to recover 106 cattle, while the other 31 soldiers continued their search for the perpetrators as they fled to the Befotaka region. Following after the bandits, the soldiers found themselves ambushed, with dahalo bandits open firing on the soldiers, spraying them repeatedly with heavy fire arms. Six soldiers were shot to death, with several others severely injured.
In response to the violent shootings, Transition President Andry Rajoelina took action by organizing one hundred more soldiers to return to Befotaka to break up the dangerous group of bandits, and continue recovering the remaining cattle.
With initially only 8 of the 32 Euro 2012 matches scheduled for national broadcasting, the predominant question circulating amongst many Malagasy football fans was, “why only 8?”
Recognizing Madagascar’s lively football culture, Madagascar’s Transition President Andry Rajoelina generously decided to pay, out of pocket, to have the remaining 24 matches from the Euro 2012 games broadcast throughout the country.
In spirit of Madagascar’s upcoming 52nd anniversary of independence (June 26), Rajoelina’s benevolent gesture demonstrates thoughtful consideration for his country. The games will air on TVM (Televiziona Malagasy) throughout this month (June 8-July 1), satisfying previous anxieties for Malagasy fans.
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?
The French amabassador in Madagascar, Jean-Marc Chataigner, is leaving his position in Madagascar to become vice-executive officer to globalization at the foreign affairs Ministry in Paris. Jean-Marc Chataigner has been a prominent figure of the 2009 malagasy crisis, personifying France’s stand during the conflicts. He has always been involved in Rajoelina’s cause.
The new ambassador is Jean-Christophe Belliard, a french diplomat known for being tough on the edges. Belliard has been around the african continent, as ambassador of France in Ethiopy, and later as ambassador of France at the AU. He is seen as the Mr Africa of new french president François Hollande. Moving Belliard to Madagascar is a sign that France wants to keep a strong hold on Madagascar.
Madagascar’s current economic crisis may have finally found its solution. In hopes to regain economic support from its international community, Madagascar’s Transition President Andry Rajoelina takes proactive measures with talks about organizing presidential elections for the coming year.
Since Andry Rajoelina took over former President Marc Ravalomanana’s place in 2009, the US dropped its AGOA deal with Madagascar, arguing that the transitional government was unconstitutional since Rajoelina was not democratically elected. The strong-felt impact which resulted only magnified when Europe followed as well.
In light of their crisis, the UN asked the SADC to coach Madagascar towards new elections. Accordingly, the SADC laid out a roadmap to help Madagascar with their political goals.
Last week, Rajoelina reviewed progress of the roadmap with UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon. Following their meeting, Rajoelina told the press that his country is ready to start organizing presidential elections. Rajoelina met last Friday with the chairman of SADC in Angola to further discuss the roadmap. Madagascar will probably hold elections towards the end of this year or in the early spring of 2013.
After attending last week’s meeting on “the state of the economy and global finances”, convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Madagascar’s Interim President Andry Rajoelina met with Jose Eduardo dos Santos, President of Angola and current chairman of SADC. Rajoelina’s visit to Luanda in Angola was practically incognito as no statements regarding his 2 day mission were made to the press upon his departure or arrival.
Considering Rajoelina’s last mission to Luanda, before which he had already met with powerful Chinese groups investing in Angola, one could assume that Rajoelina’s most recent visit was done as a strategic attempt to establish stronger relations with Angola. Since Angola possess large reserves of oil and gas, and Madagascar is abundant in forest-based and mineral natural resources, there is certain commercial potential between the two countries. Considering this, could it be that the two Presidents discussed the possibility of collaborating their resources?