In Madagascar, the main opposition is
expected to hold a rally today in the capital, Antananarivo to press home its
demands for the resignation of embattled President Marc Ravalomanana. This
comes a day after officers in a military camp in the capital refused to take
any more orders from Ravalomanana's government, a move that has split the army
in two. Some of the officers promised their support for the main opposition
leader, who is also the deposed Antananarivo mayor, Andry Rajoelina. The move
is expected to worsen the political stalemate between President Ravalomanana
and the opposition leader. Monja Roindefo is a leading opposition figure in
Madagascar. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that today's rally aims to restore
true democracy in the country.
will be a big rally today in order to resume the demonstration after the
president attempted to quash the action," Roindefo noted.
said the opposition will be legally challenging the president after accusing
him of infringing upon the constitution by what the opposition describes as
stifling dissenting views.
will be making a legal representation because you know the president has never
respected the constitution, and he has never respected any democratic
principles in this democratic country. He has also not respected free market or
the law of competition, and we really have to restore those principles in the
country. So we have to set up the transitional authority and in fact with all
the political forces in Madagascar," he said.
justified the opposition protests by saying ordinary Malagasy cannot live with
the abject poverty staring them in the face, which they accused the president
of not resolving.
problem is that he (Ravalomanana) has infringed upon the constitution of the
country repeatedly. And you know, in a representative democracy like us, the
president has made it impossible for people to express themselves through our
institutions. And our institutions have been deliberately stifled by the
president, so we have to resort to protests in order to restore the democratic
principles in the country," Roindefo pointed out.
said the opposition aims to force the president to resign, despite having two
more years left on his tenure.
to wait two more years, that means that we will allow the infringement of the
constitution for another two years. And for the next two years, allow the
president to stifle the law of competition in a free democracy in a free
market. So for another two years we will allow for the embezzlement for another
two years and allow the abject poverty for another two years to continue. The
Malagasy people cannot afford that and for that reason they have to resort to
protests for a transitional authority to reform the electoral code and organize
free and new democratic elections," he said.
denied the opposition organized protests will destabilize the country as
claimed by some political analysts.
are very careful in what we do and so are the military careful in what it does.
But you know one thing is that the soldiers or the military people are also
affected by the dictatorship of the president. And they and their families also
suffer from poverty and the president's refusal to tackle the numerous problems
in the country as he promised to do," Roindefo pointed out.
leader Rajoelina is reportedly in hiding and his television station off air on
Sunday as authorities intensified their crackdown on his anti-government
movement after weeks of unrest.
Some Malagasy people blame Ravalomanana for dismal levels
of poverty at a time the economy of the world's fourth largest island has grown
steadily off the back of booming oil and mineral sectors. This strengthened the
opposition leader's call for the president to resign after accusing him of
infringing on the country's constitution and being a dictator, a charge the
In the past few days, Security forces have thwarted
anti-government supporters from gathering in the city's May 13 Plaza --
epicenter of popular rebellions since the Indian Ocean island won independence
from France in 1972 -- and on Saturday night took Rajoelina's private TV and
radio station off the air.