Madagascar: Fear of More Strife After President's Resignation

And then there was one.

The power struggle that has plagued Madagascar since January may have come to an end.  Yesterday, after attempts by Andry Rajoelina supporters to remove President Marc Ravalomanana from office, the army, which has now sided with Rajoelina, took control of the presidential palace in Ambotsirohatra.

A few hours later, Ravalomanana officially resigned and transferred power to a military committee (mg/fr) composed of four army generals loyal to him. Rajoelina refused to accept the handover, and the generals were arrested by soldiers loyal to Rajoelina, along with a pastor assisting with the mediation (mg). The pastor was also later found beaten by civilians.

Footage of the abusive treatment of the army generals by former mutineers were a reminder that violence might still be erupting in a divided country.

There were many celebrations in the streets of Antananarivo following the news that Ravalomanana resigned.

However, Ravalomanana supporters are said to plan be planning a rally for Wednesday in Mahamasina stadium to protest what they consider a “coup d'etat”.

Malagasy soldiers in Antananarivo

Malagasy soldiers in Antananarivo

[Photo credit to Foko-Madagascar on Foko-Madagascar on Flickr]

Desepite this major turning point, the simmering tension and division among Malagasy bloggers who are afraid of what tomorrow may bring, was palpable.

Journalist/Blogger Mialy Randriamampianina talked to Voice of America about what the people fear:

There is great confusion among the people because up to now we don't really have any information about what the rally is going to be about and what they are going to do. And again, we are worried about trouble in terms of clashes between supporters of Marc Ravalomanana and the supporters of Andry Rajoelina. There was an event just over a week ago where there were some confrontations and violence between the two camps. So, that kind of rally always creates trouble and we are worried about violence in this country

Blogger Lomelle echoes that statement in her interview with Le Monde even though she is “glad” Ravalomanana resigned (fr):

…on ne sait pas vraiment ce que veut faire l'opposition. Je crains le pire. Rajoelina n'a pas l'étoffe d'un président. Il est trop jeune et manque d'expérience. Je doute de sa capacité à mener le pays

We don't really know what the opposition wants to do. I fear the worst. Rajoelina does not have what it takes to be a president. He is too young and lacks experience. I doubt his ability to lead the country.

Madagate is thrilled that Ravaloamana is out and that Rajoelina is in charge of the HAT (the transition government) (fr):

Marc Ravalomanana, le petit laitier d’Imerikasinina, a été renié par ceux à qui il venait de remettre les pleins pouvoirs. Ils n’ont pas voulu vendre leur âme au diable. Les carottes sont cuites pour ce président qui a montré son véritable visage. A force de jouer avec le feu et les idoles, on se brûle. Ce fut vraiment le combat de la lumière et des ténèbres.

Marc Ravalomanana, the little milk man from Imerikasinina, was rejected by the very ones he gave power to. They did not want to sell their soul to the devil. The deed is done for this president who showed his real face. When you play with fire and idols, you get burnt. It was truly the victory of light over darkness.

Jentilisa has a different take (mg):

Manahy dia manahy aho raha ny zavatra hita androany no ijerena ny ampitso fa dia tena faneriterena tsy misy toy izany no hihatra amin'ny tsirairay hanatanterahana ny sitrapon'ny mpitondra vaovaon'ny firenena izay lazaiko sahady fa tsy ekeko satria an-terisetra no nanaovany ny zavatra rehetra.

I am concerned. If what I saw today is indicative of the future, we will live with very strict restrictions on individual freedom to please this new leader. I don't recognize his authority because it was obtained by brute force

Hery thinks that peace still won't settle soon in Madagascar despite this change (mg):

Tsy resy lahatra aho amin'ny hilaminan'ny politika ao Madagasikara ao anatin'ny 2 taona farafahakeliny raha mandray fitondrana ny TGV [..] Hafa ny mitolona, ary hafa ny mitondra firenena.

Politics will not stop erupting in Madagascar for the next 2 years if Rajoelina takes power [..] Fighting [those in] power is different from governing the country.


  • Moramanga Expat

    I agree that Andry is too young and inexperienced to govern Madagascar, but I also fear that his coalition of supporters will not be able to work together for long.

    As the International community lines up against the coup it will be harder for the TGV party to function. Why would capable people with Madagascar’s best interests at heart want to join an outcast government that is illegal by International standards?

    The idea that Madagascar can go it alone without International support is ludicrous and dangerous to Madagascar’s future.

  • Andriniaina

    This TGV is too slow and lacks railroads. Better off with yesteryear’s Lokomotiva if there’s no others to choose.

  • john bogen

    “Going it alone” – brings up many, many questions.

    Are the rumors that there is only 40 days worth of fuel left for the country true?

    Is the last of the ebony and rosewood to be lost to the armed gangs raiding our forests?

    Will there be work? Will workers be paid?

    Will there be rice to eat?

    Now that the gangsters have taken over does this mean we once again become a neo-French colony with the Ratsirakas as the puppets in charge?

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