OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE MEDIATOR’S REPORT
By the MOUVANCE RAVALOMANANA , April 14, 2011
The main thrust of the report is about creating legitimacy for the Malgacho-Malgache formation and about discrediting the three mouvances. In this regard it should be noted that the three mouvances are severely criticized in the report, while the parties associated with the former Mouvance Rajoelina and the Rajoelina regime (HAT) are not assessed at all and their role in the political crisis is not discussed. This point should be considered in view of the fact that the international community still views Madagascar as engrossed in a political crisis. A recently-released report on the state of human rights in Madagascar by the US State Department presents a critical situation. The Mediator’s Report does not present any of these concerns but picture the mouvances as the scapegoats of any of the problems. Such an unbalanced approach problematises the Report’s credibility.
Another general, introductory point is the internal contradiction between the Report and the proposed Roadmap. Paragraph 30 in the Roadmap determines that it ‘cancels and replaces all prior agreements concerning the transition in Madagascar’, meaning the Maputo Accords and Addis Abeba Additional Act. However, throughout the Report the sentiment is cultivated that these agreements form the basis of the proposed Roadmap, ‘excluding the issues which impeded their implementation’ (par. 14). [These ‘issues’ are also nowhere identified or explained.]But at the same time par. 9 indicates that these agreements were not implemented, taking ‘into account the difficulties that had prevented the successful implementation’. Moreover, it should be noted that by April 2010 an alternative French ‘roadmap’ was informally circulated to set aside the mentioned SADC framework agreements.
This situation creates an unacceptable ambivalence and internal contradiction. Vast differences between the SADC-mediated agreements and the proposed Roadmap exist.
My detailed comments on the proposed Roadmap were already circulated and therefore the points will not be repeated here. A glaring difference between the two affects the status of Rajoelina as transitional President, the fact that only the parties involved in the Roadmap’s design are included in the transition, and the fact that the Roadmap replaces the SADC-mediated agreements. However, opportunistically they declare that the Maputo Accord No. 2 regarding my position remains intact, disregarding the changing political conditions that the Rajoelina regime uses as a justification for not implementing the Maputo Accord.
Another serious and undermining sentiment expressed in the Report is the continuous effort to present the mouvances as internally divided, plagued by factions, that the leaders of the mouvances are recalcitrant, unreliable and liars, and only interested in their personal interests. Therefore the parties that split away from the mouvances are treated as the authentic representatives of the mouvances, while those in exile are isolated and marginalized. The clearest evidence of this point is the fact that the
Mediator’s Report supports the Rajoelina regime’s view that former President Ratsiraka and I must remain outside Madagascar. Such a sentiment is fatally flawed. We should ask ourselves the question: the same argument was used by the regimes in South Africa and Zimbabwe before their transitions but the fact that their important leaders returned from exile and prison became the key to the transitions’ success. Why should Madagascar be treated differently? A related question is: even if the Mediator’s acceptance of the new parties’ credibility is not challenged, why are the three mouvances and their leaders fully excluded from a genuine dialogue process?
It is important to highlight the approach in the mediation process before and after May 2010 (the Pretoria meeting). Before May 2010 the three mouvances were willing to participate in the Maputo and Addis Abeba agreements and the Pretoria mediation.
Thereafter, however, they were never again directly involved in any mediation and were replaced by the Malgacho-Malgache process. This change in approach by the mediator cannot be understood because –
1) The Mouvance Ravalomanana never refused to continue participating in the original form of SADC mediation.
2) After April 2010 the mouvances were never again requested to participate in any mediation process before the Rajoelina-aligned political parties were formed.
These parties were not formed as an alternative, because the three mouvances had caused a dead-lock in the negotiations, but simply to push them aside and replace them as the mediation participants. How can one participate in a process if new participants were artificially created to replace and outnumber you in a process?
3) The Maputo and Addis Abeba agreements were never implemented by Rajoelina and therefore the framework for the mouvances’ participation (such as the unity government) was denied for them. I want to address the report’s presentation that the Malgacho-Malgache process was a dialogue and a genuine negotiation process that forms the basis of the Roadmap’s legitimacy. No evidence exists that it was a proper process of discussions or negotiations in a roundtable format. There is also no evidence that they collectively negotiated the proposed Roadmap. It appears that the parties were presented with a document and they had to endorse it.
Who are the parties involved in the process? In order to create the pretence that of a credible national conference, a number of parties emerged all with the same origin and objective, namely as Rajoelina-aligned parties. (Even the Mediator’s Report in par. 21 acknowledged the fact that several of them came from the defunct Mouvance Rajoelina.)
A major difference between the Report and my own view is that those persons who were involved in my mouvance and who are part of the new parties, were intimidated or corrupted to do it, or out of fear – the US State Department report sketches the circumstances of the political crisis under which it happened. A serious deficiency of the Mediator’s Report is that it represents the political situation as normal and stable, and therefore that these developments occurred in an environment of free choice, freedom of association and speech. Several reports (including statements by the UN Human Rights Council) emphasise the suppression of political participation, suppression of the media, a sense of fear and intimidation and widespread violations of human rights (such as arbitrary detentions and disappearances).
The Mediator’s Report includes a number of misrepresentations, including –
1) It is incorrect that at the summit level SADC fully endorse the Malgacho-Malgache process.
2) To create the impression that a national consensus about the transition has emerged and that the ‘mediation process seems to be on the final stretch’, is misleading.
3) That the process is all-inclusive (even if one disregards the mouvances for a moment), because the most significant civil society movements are not included in the Malgacho-Malgache process. They also did not initial the proposed Roadmap.
The most serious deficiency in the Mediator’s Report is that it seems to be oblivious to the fact that all its proposals and positive presentations grant legitimacy to Rajoelina’s unconstitutional regime. It treats all groups as if they are equal in strength and importance. It totally disregards the fact that I have won two national presidential elections and my party (TIM) has won the parliamentary elections. However, we are treated as less significant than the newly-formed parties with no proven demonstration of their support base. It is almost as if the history of the Turnhalle exercise, or the Ian Smith/Muzorewa cooperation, or the tricameral Parliament in South Africa as exercises in illegitimacy is completely forgotten in the Madagascar transition. The Malgacho- Malgache exercise does not enjoy any more legitimacy than these historical examples. In my original response to the proposed Roadmap I have already presented a framework that can address the most elements of a transition plan. I want to reiterate the fact that I am fully supportive of a mediated negotiation process, but it should include all the relevant participants. Therefore, I criticize the Malgacho-Malgache process for its exclusionary nature. I have to reiterate also the fact that the political situation must be normalized before important aspects of the transition can be implemented.
Normalisation should include confidence-building measure such as amnesty and indemnity, guarantees about protection of human rights (such as freedom of expression, freedom of the media, freedom of association, no exclusion from participation in elections, etc), and a safe return of political leaders, including my own, before any election can take place. We have experienced the dire consequences of the election in Côte d’Ivoire. In hindsight we now understand that the country was not properly prepared in political terms for the election. The same mistake should not be made in Madagascar, and therefore an election should not be held at all costs as soon as possible without the normalization of politics before the time.