Madagascan parties slam unity government

2011-03-28 21:29

Johannesburg - The leaders of Madagascar's three major political movements, representing over 80% of the population, have slammed as "unilateral and illegal" Sunday's announcement of a so-called Government of National Unity in the country.

The movements, which are headed by exiled President Marc Ravalomanana and former presidents Ratsiraka and Zafy, also called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to act in support of peace in Madagascar, citing that continuing to allow the illegal regime to act in contravention of the ongoing negotiation towards the country's future is not in the country's best interests.

Their rejection of the new government comes just days before a planned meeting of the SADC "troika" in Livingstone in Zambia on Thursday.

The heads of state are due to consider a SADC "roadmap" for restoring peace to the strife-torn island, which has not had a recognised government since President Ravalomanana was driven into exile at gunpoint in March 2009.

The Livingstone meeting is due to be attended by President Jacob Zuma, as well as the presidents of Zambia and Botswana.

Despite the SADC roadmap being rejected by Madagascar's three major political parties, coup leader Andry Rajoelina has unilaterally continued in make political decisions and appointments, sometimes even in contravention with the existing negotiations.

They have warned SADC not to allow Mr Rajoelina to continue acting unilaterally, saying that his conduct is making the political situation on the island "deeply dangerous".

Speaking on behalf of all three political movements, President Ravalomanana said: "Neither we nor SADC itself have agreed to this roadmap.

Despite that, Rajoelina unilaterally and illegally, has dismissed his Government and then reappointed what he is fraudulently calling a government of national unity as provided for in the roadmap.

Actions extraordinary

"Even if one accepted the roadmap - which we don't - his actions are extraordinary. For example, instead of appointing a Prime Minister from the opposition as required by the roadmap, he has reappointed his former prime minister, and major political ally, to the post.

"He has also just announced nominees to the executive of a so-called Government of National Unity despite ongoing mediation towards that decision.

"Key ministries like mining, finance, communication and foreign affairs have been handed to his closest allies and the rest have been given to please friends, political defectors and supporters of his coup. He has even appointed as ministers people with previous convictions.

"This is not in the interests of maintaining peace in Madagascar. It is only going to make the situation in Madagascar much worse.

"Our people are literally starving and instead of being offered hope for the future via internationally supervised free-and-fair elections, they just see ongoing gerrymandering.

"If SADC does not act quickly to communicate an effective and positive plan to restoring democracy in Madagascar, they are going to cause an explosion of anger which none of the three major political movements will be able to control," Ravalomanana said.