The leaders of Tanzania, Angola and Swaziland, who make up the Southern African Development Community (SADC)'s peace and security troika, are meeting Thursday in the Swaziland capital, Mbabane to discuss the political crisis in Madagascar.
On Wednesday, Madagascar's highest court
confirmed opposition leader Andry Rajoelina as the country's acting president
after the military handed him power following the resignation of President Marc
Thursday's SADC meeting comes as Zambia, one of the troika members called for Madagascar's immediate suspension from the regional body and from the African Union (AU).
SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salomao told VOA SADC practically considers what happened in Madagascar as a military coup and the sub-regional body does not condone military coups.
"You are aware that the president of the republic resigned yesterday and he hand over the power to a military directory themselves also transferred the power to the former mayor of Antananavivo. So in practical terms we have a military coup. In view of that and because Madagascar is a SADC member state, SADC has to take a position. That's why the troika of the organ on politics, defense and security is meeting to assess and to agree on the way forward," he said.
Salomao said the SADC position on military coups follows the Constitutive Act of the African Union which condemns any unconstitutional change of government in Africa.
"It's the same in the SADC, AU and UN. Military coups are not accepted because it is a violation to the constitution," Salomao said.
On Wednesday, Madagascar's highest court confirmed opposition leader Andry Rajoelina as the country's acting president after the military handed him power following the resignation of President Marc Ravalomanana.
Salomao said it makes no difference the fact that Madagascar High Court played a role in the transfer of power from the military to Rajoelina.
"The constitution has to be respected. We are a community of 15 member states, and member states accepted that within the community military coups are not acceptable," Salomao said.
He would not predict whether the SADC heads of state would endorse Zambian Foreign Minister Kabinga Pande's call Wednesday for Madagascar's immediate suspension from SADc and from the African Union (AU).
"I don't want to anticipate. Zambia is a SADC member state. I rather prefer to wait until the troika meets and take a position," he said.
Salomao said SADC played the necessary role that the parties in Madagascar had asked the regional body to play in terms of mediation.
"From the beginning the parties in Madagascar stated that they would like to have a national mediation, and SADc, AU and UN could be there just to advise, and we accepted that this is an internal problem and if you agree that the mediation has to be done by nationals, that's fine. We agreed, and we are there to assist and to advise," he said.
Salomao said he does not agree that recent military takeovers in Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, Guinea and now Madagascar could be a sign that Africa might be returning to the days when the continent was dominated by military governments.
However, he agreed that unconstitutional change of governments is a set back to the entrenchment of democracy and good governance in Africa and that such a practice should not be allowed to succeed.
"In Africa we have 54 countries. We cannot say because we have coups in Madagascar, Mauritania, and Guinea that's the trend. The trend is democracy, democracy, democracy. Yes we have to put a stop on this thing to happen, and the only way to do that is to send a clear message to those who follow this pattern that this is not unacceptable in Africa and in the SADC region," Salomao said.