Madagascar’s big business government kills opponents

This video is about wildlife in Madagascar.

From British daily The Independent:

More than 100 killed in island protests

By Njuwa Maina in Antananarivo

Saturday, 31 January 2009

More than 100 people have been killed in civil unrest in Madagascar this week, the worst violence for years on the politically volatile Indian Ocean island, the US ambassador said yesterday.

Police had previously confirmed 44 deaths, with most of those in a store that was burnt during looting on Monday when an anti-government protest degenerated into violence.

“More than 100 are dead. I do not have exact figures,” Niels Marquardt, the ambassador, said. The Mayor of Antananarivo, Andry Rajoelina, has been spearheading a week of demonstrations and strikes against President Marc Ravalomanana’s government, which he accuses of turning Madagascar into a dictatorship.

The world’s fourth largest island, with a population of 20 million, has a history of instability. Its latest crisis will hurt efforts to attract tourists and foreign investors.

Supporters of Mr Rajoelina were planning another mass rally today. Analysts say the 34-year-old firebrand politician has galvanised popular frustration, and Mr Ravalomanana is facing a serious threat to his grip on power.

Mr Rajoelina has said he is ready to lead the country, and opposition parties backed him yesterday. The African Union, the United States and former ruler France have called for calm and talks between the feuding sides.

Mr Rajoelina said he would hold talks with the President if they focused on creating a new government. “I have been asked that they take place on Saturday and I have accepted,” he said.

Mr Ravalomanana, a 59-year-old self-made millionaire who started out hawking yoghurt on the capital’s streets, has said, however, that talks should be unconditional.

After a general strike on Thursday, a degree of normalcy returned to the capital yesterday.

Also on Thursday, the President fired without explanation the national police chief General Lucien Raharijaona.

“It is not impossible that the head of state is looking for someone who will obey him and oppose Rajoelina’s movement,” said one gendarme officer on condition of anonymity.

Ties between Mr Ravalomanana and Mr Rajoelina deteriorated when the government shut the mayor’s privately owned TV station in December.

Mr Ravalomanana has overseen a period of economic growth since coming to power in 2002. But many say he has not alleviated poverty.

Critics of Mr Ravalomanana accuse him of running the country like a private company, earning him the nickname “CEO of the Republic”.

SOLDIERS in a large military camp outside the Madagascan capital of Antananarivo mutinied on Sunday, after announcing that they would no longer take orders from the embattled government: here.

Update 28 March 2009: here.

MADAGASCAR’S new leader scrapped a deal on Thursday under which South Korean corporation Daewoo was to lease over a million hectares of land on the island: here.

2 thoughts on “Madagascar’s big business government kills opponents

    La semaine passée, Investig’Action prenait le contre-pied de la presse française sur la crise à Madagascar. Nos articles questionnaient la légitimité d’Andry Rajoelina ainsi que les intérêts français et occidentaux cachés derrière cette crise. Des lecteurs ont réagi, jugeant l’analyse pertinente, mais trop complaisante envers le président Ravalomanana. Nous leur donnons la parole et publions de nouveaux articles, qui expriment des opinions diverses.

    J-L Raharimanana, A Maka,… – Madagascar : réactions et infos complémentaires
    Misère, business, pétrole, deux démagogues ultralibéraux ?

    Zo Randriamaro – La crise à Madagascar: une opportunité historique ?
    “Il y a bien autre chose que l’affrontement entre deux hommes”

    Fred Weston – Des militaires malgaches solidaires de leurs concitoyens
    Les origines de la rébellion



    After more than two months of wrestling between the leader of opposition led by the mayor of Antananarivo, Andry Rajoelina, and the President Marc Ravalomanana, the events ended up by the resignation of the latter and further the sworn in of Andry Rajoelina as President of the Higher Authority of Transition.

    The circumstances of the events that led to this final phase of squabbling went back to the municipal election on December 7, 2008, where Andry Rajoelina, with 63% of the vote, defeated the candidate from the party of Marc Ravalomanana. Such a situation had made the latter upset and started organizing every actions aimed at destabilising the elected mayor.

    This has sparked anger and protests all over the country paving the way to a movement to demand change. Demonstrators protesting the use of violence were fired by tear gas, dispersed by light and heavy artillery which led to hundreds of deaths, including the involvement of foreign mercnaries.

    In view of the worsening situation of poverty in Madagascar, the Afro-Asian Peoples’ Solidarity Organisation-AAPSO- welcomes any move that lead to restore democracy and to fight bad governance. The national economy being put under pressure coming from the combined forces of corruption, violence, non-respect of human rights, the domination of selfishness in search of profit of which the people are denied, should be redressed.

    The role of the mass in tackling any vital issue for their survival should be viewed as a way to economic and social progress the whole population of Madagascar desperately need.

    AAPSO supports the principled position of the African Union which conde0mns any change by breaching national Constitution and African Charter. It believes that the next election will bring about the real situation in Madagascar.

    AAPSO also believes that the Malagasy people are mature enough to resolve their own problems by their own means and capacity, with political will and determination.


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