The United Nations mission in
Antananarivo in conjunction with Madagascar's clergy is expected to hold peace
negotiations with political parties today to resolve the ongoing political
crisis. But the main opposition has turned down the invitation, saying
embattled President Marc Ravalomana has flouted laid down rules for previous peace
talks. This comes after the US ambassador to Madagascar warned Wednesday that
the country was heading towards civil war as soldiers backing the opposition
forced the army chief to resign. The army chief issued a 72 hour ultimatum to
the feuding political parties to resolve a violent standoff between the
opposition and the government, which has so far killed at least 100 people
since early this year. Opposition
leader Monja Roindefo tells reporter Peter Clottey that the president has often
showed his insensitivity towards the plight of Malagasy citizens.
meeting was organized hastily and it was not really prepared for as it should
have been. In any way, we have already attended the former meeting, but Mr.
Ravalomanana did not respect any of the conditions that we have asked and which
have been discussed and agreed among us. While we were sitting at the meeting,
he was importing ammunition and brought in mercenaries," Roindefo noted.
said the president has often showed gross disregard for any laid down rules or
regulations governing peace negotiations.
soon after the former meeting, you could clearly see what was happening as he
sent soldiers to repress and crush down our protests and movement, and that was
our experience in meeting with him and his team. And we fear that if we go to
this meeting, it would end the same way as before. But our main reason is that
he (Ravalomanana) never respects any agreed conditions and never lives up to
his promises," he said.
Roindefo said the government seems only to be
interested in pomp and pageantry instead of resolving the numerous challenges
the Malagasy population faces.
know what interests him (Ravalomanana) is to receive the formalities associated
with the power that he holds from international organizations like the African
Union, the United Nations, World Bank, and other organizations, but not really
to address the problems of the poor in this country," Roindefo pointed out.
said some Malagasies are questioning why the president flouted laid down
regulations by taking money from the central bank without following procedures,
an accusation the government sharply denies.
president takes money from the local central bank here in Madagascar without
proper procedures. He just sent some soldiers to go and bring the money and
these guys never filed in any papers as required by procedure. So they just
took the money away and people have been wondering why the president was doing
that. But it seems the president doesn't respect anything or anybody," he said.
said the president is only interested in having a good standing on the
international stage rather than catering to the needs of his people.
main aim is simply to appear in the eyes of the international community to
talk. When he usually talks about democracy and how well it is doing here in
the country, on the ground, he acts or performs dictatorship," Roindefo noted.
denied the opposition-organized protests are destabilizing the country.
is not true, and that is why I want to tell even the American ambassador here
he has to report correctly to the American opinion. The American opinion is
very important because we know that the American people have a real concern
about the problems of poverty, problems of corruption, and problems of
democracy. We understand that, and that is why we are saying when we are
importing mercenaries into the country instead of food for your own people,
then there are problems," he said.
described as unfortunate the failure by the international community to condemn
the government's action after several opposition supporters were killed.
you are crushing a movement, the democracy will of the people, and when you
don't respect the constitution, any of these acts is wrong, and that is what
the president has been doing. But any of these acts have not been condemned by
the representatives of the international community here as well as the
ambassadors here," Roindefo pointed out.
it is not clear if the ultimatum
given by the deposed army chief will be maintained by the new Chief of the
The new army chief was reportedly nominated by his
rebel colleagues, who refused to obey orders from president Ravalomanana to
prevent anti-government demonstrations by the opposition supporters at the city
Usually it is the
commander-in-chief, in this case President Ravalomanana, who appoints the Chief
of the General-Staff of the army.
political analysts say the replacement of the army chief intrinsically reveals
a huge mistrust of the army against President Ravalomanana, who was elected in
The Malagasy media
reports that commanders of nine military barracks over the mountainous capital
city have joined forces with some 600 rebel troops of the Army Corps of
Personnel and Administrative and Technical Services stationed at Soanierana,
six kilometers from the city center.