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Madagascar: "Rajoelina Hangs Tough"

29 Janvier 2012, 10:46am

Publié par Collectif GTT.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201201270077.html

The government of Andry Rajoelina in Madagascar is colluding with France to prevent the return of ousted president Marc Ravalomanana to the island, undermining the SADC Road Map agreed upon last year to return Madagascar to political and economic stability.

Last weekend SADC faced the most serious challenge to its authority and its ability to implement its decisions and impose its will on member states, following the near collapse of the Road Map process.

In the most dramatic illustration of the Road Map being in trouble, Ravalomanana - exiled in South Africa for three years - attempted to return to Madagascar, but his commercial flight was refused entry into the country by Rajoelina's government. Article 20 of the Road Map, to which both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana are signatories, guarantees the "unconditional return" to Madagascar of exiled political leaders, including Ravalomanana. However, Ravalomanana has a warrant out for his arrest following his conviction in absentia for murder and "crimes against humanity" by a Malagasy court.

Ravalomanana's move and the Rajoelina government's response has provoked an angry rejoinder from South African diplomats, who feel the two sides are not fully co-operating with the SADC-sponsored reconciliation effort in the troubled Indian Ocean island. An urgent meeting of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Troika countries (South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania) on Tuesday had strong words for the Malagasy political leadership and their attitude to the Road Map.

Deputy South African International Relations Minister Marius Fransman, the man responsible for getting 10 of Madagascar's 11 mouvances to sign up to the Road Map last year, did not mince words: "It was very unfortunate and irresponsible of President Ravalomanana [to attempt a unilateral return to the island]. The move could have impacted negatively on the lives of innocent passengers on the commercial flight he took.

"Equally, it is irresponsible of President Rajoelina to continue to speak about warrants and arrests when he agreed to an amnesty process for [Ravalomanana] to allow him to return home. All parties must abide by the provisions of the Road Map agreed to last year."

But implementing the SADC roadmap - let alone forcing all parties to abide by it - will be a tall order for the regional group, whose legal and security instruments are perennially weak and subject to manipulation by outside powers.

In Madagascar, SADC's efforts are currently being undermined by France, the island's former colonial rulers. The troika countries have evidence that Rajoelina is working with Paris, Madagascar's Army Chief of Staff General Andre Ndriarijaona, and the commander of the Gendarmerie (police), Bruno Razafindrako, to deny Ravalomanana his right to re-enter the country.

On 21 January, the day Ravalomanana attempted his quixotic return, Rajoelina attempted to persuade SADC to delay his arrival for three months.

At the same time, France commenced its own intense lobbying in other international bodies to keep Ravalomanana from the country. The aim of these delays appears to be to prevent Ravalomanana - who continues to command significant popular support on the island - from being in Madagascar when an election is held under the terms of a transition agreed to last year.

Security services in the region say they are aware of a 6-point strategy devised by Paris and Antananarivo to prevent Ravalomanana from returning. According to these sources, Rajoelina, his heads of security and France decided to:

Deploy security forces loyal to Rajoelina inside the Ivato International Airport in Antananarivo.

Deploy Rajoelina supporters outside the airport to antagonise and destabilise the estimated 100 000 Ravalomanana supported expected at the airport to welcome him home.

Issue statements threatening the Ravalomanana supporters with arrest.

Threaten to arrest Ravalomanana on arrival.

Lobby the international community to persuade SADC not to allow Ravalomanana back.

As a last resort, issue a Notice to All Airmen (NOTAM) to deny landing rights to all airlines. This effectively closed down the country's airspace.

Anticipating an unfavourable reaction by SADC to these manoeuvres, Antananarivo hastily issued a statement on Saturday justifying its actions. In it, Rajoelina's government denied turning the South African AirLink flight back and instead blamed the decision on the flight's captain, who it said had chosen to go back to Johannesburg after being informed the authorities would execute the arrest warrant against his most famous passenger.

In the statement, the Rajoelina government threatened to send a "special plane" to fetch Ravalomanana from Johannesburg back to the island to "face justice. Actions related to this will be initiated immediately with the South African government," they said.

That suggestion alone - though it is unactionable, since no extradition agreement exists between Pretoria and Madagascar - incensed South African officials so much they had Rajoelina on the phone on Saturday night, warning him about "inflaming" the situation in the country.

This week the troika countries called a meeting with all Malagasy parties and emphasized that the Road Map, especially the amnesty process meant to pave the way towards election later this year, should be speeded up to prevent any future repeats of last weekend's dramatic events.

 

Traduction libre :

Madagascar : Rajoelina s'accroche dur

http://collectif-gtt.org/content/28012012-madagascar-rajoelina-hangs-tough-allafrica-26-janvier-2012

 

(....) A Madagascar, les efforts de la SADC sont actuellement sapés par la France, anciens dirigeants coloniaux de l' Ile. Les pays de la troïka ont la preuve que Rajoelina travaille avec Paris, le chef d'état-Major de l'armée  Ndriarijaona André, et le commandant de la gendarmerie Razafindrakoto (police), Bruno, afin de refuser le droit à Ravalomanana de retourner dans son pays.
Le 21 Janvier, le jour où Ravalomanana a tenté son retour donquichottesque, Andry Rajoelina a tenté de convaincre la SADC de retarder son arrivée pour trois mois.

Dans le même temps, la France a commencé son propre lobbying d'une manière  intense auprès d'autres  organisations internationales pour maintenir Ravalomanana hors du pays. Le but de ces retards semble être d'empêcher Ravalomanana - qui continue à disposer d' un important soutien populaire sur l'Ile - d'être à Madagascar où une élection a lieu selon les termes d'une transition convenue l'année dernière.

Les services de sécurité dans la région disent qu'ils sont au courant d'une stratégie en 6 points mis au point par Paris et Antananarivo pour empêcher Ravalomanana de revenir. Selon ces sources, M. Rajoelina, ses chefs de la sécurité et la France ont décidé de:

• Déployer des forces de sécurité fidèles à M. Rajoelina à l'intérieur de l'aéroport international d'Ivato à Antananarivo.
• Déployer des partisans de Rajoelina en dehors de l'aéroport pour provoquer et déstabiliser les supporters de  Ravalomanana attendus à   à l'aéroport pour l'accueillir et estimées à 100.000
• Faire des déclarations menaçant les partisans de Marc Ravalomanana d'arrestation.
• Menacer d'arrêter Ravalomanana à l'arrivée.
• Faire du lobbying auprès de la communauté internationale pour convaincre la SADC de ne pas permettre le retour de Ravalomanana .
• En dernier recours, émettre un avis à tous les navigants (NOTAM) pour refuser le droit d'atterrissage à toutes les compagnies aériennes. Ceci a effectivement fermé l'espace aérien du pays.

Anticipant une réaction défavorable de la SADC à ces manœuvres, Antananarivo a publié en hâte une déclaration le samedi justifiant ses actions. Dans ce document, le gouvernement Rajoelina a nié avoir donné l'ordre à  la South African Airlink  de faire demi-tour . Au lieu de cela, il a blâmé la décision du capitaine du vol, qui avait choisi , selon sa déclaration, de retourner à Johannesburg après avoir été  informé que les autorités exécuteraient le mandat d'arrêt contre son passager fort célèbre.
Dans la déclaration, le gouvernement Rajoelina a menacé d'envoyer un "avion spécial" pour aller chercher Ravalomanana de retour de Johannesburg sur l'île pour assumer la justice. "Les actions afférentes à la présente seront immédiatement engagées avec le gouvernement sud-africain», selon sa déclaration.
Cette suggestion à elle seule - quoique impossible à actionner, car aucun accord d'extradition n'existe entre Pretoria et à Madagascar - a provoqué la fureur des responsables sud-africains à tel point qu'ils avaient téléphoné à Rajoelina  le samedi soir, le mettant en garde d' «enflammer» la situation dans le pays.

Cette semaine, les pays de la troïka ont  convoqué une réunion avec toutes les parties malgaches et ont souligné que la Feuille de route, en particulier le processus d'amnistie destiné à ouvrir la voie à des élections au plus tard cette année, devrait être accéléré afin d'éviter toute répétition  des événements spectaculaires du week-end dernier, dans le futur.

(fin de la traduction)

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