Madagascar: Regional Leaders Call for Deposed President's Return

Photo: L'Express
From left, the current de facto leader Andry Rajoelina, mediator Joaquim Chissano and deposed president Marc Ravolamanana at previous talks.

Southern African leaders have called on Madagascar's rulers to allow exiled leaders, including the deposed president, Marc Ravalomanana, to return home. However, the country's administration is reported to have rejected the call.

In a communique issued after a summit of the Southern African Development Community in Johannesburg at the weekend, the leaders called for the country to be urgently returned to "constitutional normalcy".

To that end, the summit:

  • Endorsed a "roadmap" to end the country's crisis prepared by former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, the SACC mediator on Madagascar.
  • Called for "necessary amendments" to the roadmap. These were not spelled out, but news agencies said they would allow the return of exiles.
  • Urged Ravalomanana and two other former presidents to sing up to the roadmap; and
  • Called for all those exiled for political reasons to be allowed to return "unconditionally."

Madagascar has been ruled for the last two years by an administration under former Antananarivo mayor Andry Rajoelina, which seized power from Ravalomanana.

On Monday Bloomberg News quoted Harry Rahajason, Rajoelina's minister of communications, as rejecting the return of Ravalomanana.

"We will not sign an amended roadmap," Rahajason reportedly said. "We've already got our constitution."

The section of the summit communique dealing with Madagascar read:

8. On Madagascar, Summit noted the outcome of the meeting that took place on 6 and 7June, 2011 in Gaborone, Republic of Botswana, convened by the SADC Chairperson, H.E Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of the Republic of Namibia and H.E. Rupiah Bwezani Banda, President of the Republic of Zambia and Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, and H.E Joaquim Chissano, former President of the Republic of Mozambique and the SADC Mediator on the Madagascar crisis, as mandated by the Extraordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government at its meeting held in Windhoek, Republic of Namibia, 20 May, 2011.

9. Summit also noted that the Gaborone meeting was attended by eleven (11) political stakeholders from Madagascar, namely: AREMA; ESCOPOL; Les Autres Sensibilités; HPM; MDM; Mouvance Ratsiraka; Mouvance Ravalomanana; Mouvance Zafy; TGV; UAMAD/MONIMA and UDR-C.

10. Summit commended the SADC Chairperson, the Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation for convening the meeting with the Malagasy stakeholders.

11. Summit also commended the people and Government of the Republic of Botswana for hosting the meeting.

12. Summit noted that the return of that country to constitutional normalcy is a matter of urgency.

13. Summit also noted that eight out of eleven Malagasy Political Stakeholders have already initialled the Roadmap that is intended to return the country to constitutional normalcy.

14. Summit endorsed the Roadmap to bring Madagascar into constitutional normalcy presented by the SADC Mediator on Madagascar after effecting necessary amendments.

15. Summit urged the leaders of the Mouvances Ratsiraka, Ravalomanana and Zafy to initial the Roadmap expeditiously as soon as the necessary amendments are effected.

16. Summit also urged the High Transition Authority (HTA) to allow Malagasy people in exile for political reasons, to be allowed to return to the country unconditionally including Mr. Marc Ravalomanana.

17. Summit further urged the HTA to urgently develop and enact all outstanding Legal Instruments to ensure the political freedom of all Malagasy in the inclusive process leading to free, fair, and credible elections.

18. Summit commended the Malagasy Political Stakeholders for their commitment to dialogue and finding an inclusive solution and urged them to remain focused on the implementation of the agreed Roadmap in order to urgently fulfil the aspirations of the Malagasy people for peace, stability and socio-economic development.

19. Summit also commended H.E. Joachim Chissano, former President of Mozambique for his tireless efforts in bringing together the Malagasy stakeholders in the search of lasting solution for the current crisis in Madagascar.

20. Summit urged the Organ Troika to remain actively seized of the political situation in Madagascar.

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