Renegade Madagascan officers to stay the course

Mutinous Madagascan soldiers who declared a coup three days ago maintained their stand on Saturday, insisting they wanted a put an end to the country’s long drawn out crisis triggered by a 2009 putsch.

“At the moment the best solution is to not reconcile with the authorities. The essential thing is to change what is wrong in the country,” said Noel Rakotonandrasana, one of the leaders of about 20 dissident officers.

The army chief Andre Ndriarijaona held talks Friday with the group holed up at a military barracks outside the capital Antananarivo and urged for calm.

Wednesday’s coup declaration has not been supported by the rest of the army and business in Antananarivo has gone on uninterrupted since.

Madagascar has been mired in a political crisis since March 2009 when then opposition leader Andry Rajoelina toppled president Marc Ravalomanana with the army’s support.


General Rakotonandrasana himself played a critical role in the coup following which he was named the armed forces minister. But he was later dismissed from the post on suspicion of plotting against the current regime.

Pursue bid ‘to the end’
“We should opt for the creation of a committee to steer towards the right direction and good governance,” the general said by phone.

He vowed they would pursue their bid “to the end”.

The United States condemned the take-over bid and urged dialogue.

“The United States strongly condemns all efforts to take or maintain power through the use of force,” the US embassy here said in a statement.

“We have consistently called for a consensual, inclusive political process to resolve the ongoing crisis through constitutional means and have called on all parties to refrain from actions that might result in violence.”

The coup attempt came as Madagascans voted on Wednesday in a constitutional referendum that Rajoelina’s regime is hoping will help resolve the Indian Ocean island’s crisis.

The referendum is part of an agreement between the regime and scores of smaller parties which also calls for municipal, parliamentary and presidential elections.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered on Saturday at a square in the capital to protest against the minicipal elections set for December, prompting security forces to fire teargas to break up the gathering.

The protest was called by the Madagascan Mayors’ Association, whose leader the security forces arrested as they dispersed the crowd, an Agence France-Presse correspondent witnessed.

Rajoelina’s main opponents, including Rajoelina and two other former presidents, called for a boycott of the referendum, accusing him of reneging on previous agreements.

Rajoelina has been isolated by the international community and the African Union suspended it and imposed sanctions on him and his backers for failing to honour accords to end the crisis.

The International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank, warned that Madagascar was in a “severe danger of social explosion”. – AFP

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Question marks surround Madagascar’s Covid-19 ‘miracle cure’

Despite Malagasy President Andry Rajoelina’s claims of a cure for Covid-19, experts say ‘there is absolutely no evidence’ that is true

Paddy farmers rise up against Madagascar’s ‘new city’

Farmers in Ambohitrimanjaka village are facing off with the authorities over a scheme that threatens to engulf a thousand hectares of rice fields

From a lake high in Madagascar, Africa’s own caviar

The business is an unlikely project in a country beset by grinding poverty

Madagascar’s ex-leader Ravalomanana accepts defeat

Madagascar's Constitutional Court has confirmed Andry Rajoelina as the new leader of the country

Madagascar official election result due after protests

Rajoelina and Ravalomanana have been locked in a fiercely personal duel for power, coming first and second in the preliminary election in November

Opposition protests over Madagascar vote result

The protest comes as the country's top court reviews a petition filed by Ravalomanana challenging Rajoelina's win because of fraud allegations
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Vitamin therapy is for drips

It may be marketed by influencers, but intravenous vitamin therapy is not necessary and probably not worth the hype, experts say

Facebook, Instagram indiscriminately flag #EndSars posts as fake news

Fact-checking is appropriate but the platforms’ scattershot approach has resulted in genuine information and messages about Nigerians’ protest against police brutality being silenced

Murder of anti-mining activist emboldens KZN community

Mam’Ntshangase was described as a fierce critic of mining and ambassador for land rights.

Unite with Nigeria’s ‘Speak Up’ generation protesting against police brutality

Photos of citizens draped in the bloodied flag have spread around the world in the month the country should be celebrating 60 years of independence
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday