12 December 2012

Southern Africa: SADC Urged to Act Tough On Madagascar

Photo: L'Express
Madagascar's leader, Andry Rajoelina (file photo).

FORMER Madagascar premier Monja Roindefo Zafitsimivalor has asked the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to see to it that the Indian Ocean country's protracted crisis is resolved.

He said in Dar es Salaam on Monday night that the most significant political protagonists were defying implementation of the SADC roadmap in settlement of the conflict. "The SADC Extraordinary Summit in Dar es Salaam (over the weekend) also made declarations on Madagascar, but one of the major protagonists is not ready to implement what SADC has proposed.

"We propose that it is now time for Tanzania, as current chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, to own the process and take a more firm position before local people take it in their own hands, because that is a worse option," he said.

Sharing some ideas on what he thinks SADC, particularly Tanzania should do, he said that "the problem of Madagascar is not being handled with the firmness it deserves yet they have been held in this protracted political crisis for long." "Tanzania has to take leadership to manage this problem. Tanzania is a member of the security Council and therefore important in the region.

"There are some positions taken by SADC but they have not been managed because Madagascar is plunging more into conflict, poverty and disorder," he explained. According to him, he resigned as Prime Minister in order to comply to the international recommendation.

"But since I left there has not been resolution of the crisis.The roadmap agreed on by SADC is not being implemented. "None of what the roadmap calls for has been implemented even as SADC called on all stakeholders to take it upon themselves to implement the resolutions," stated the former premier.

Mr Zafitsimivalor used the opportunity to draw the attention of SADC provision in the SADC roadmap for Madagascar, which is article 43, that calls for sanctions for any Madagascar leader who may not comply with the roadmap. The former premier said SADC should rethink and engage people who have some legitimacy on the ground and be able to help in implementing the roadmap.

He argued that if the current President, Andry Rajoelina does not implement the SADC roadmap, SADC should move swiftly and implement article 43 of the roadmap. The former PM was in Dar es Salaam at the invitation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Bernard Membe to discuss the Madagascar conflict.

Mr Zafitsimivalor claimed that following Dar es Salaam Declaration which called on the two major protagonists Madagascar's former president Marc Ravalomanana and the current President Andry Rajoelina, not to stand in next year's Presidential elections, Rajoelina on Sunday wrote to SADC condemning the declaration.

"He is trying to withdraw from the roadmap, under the disguised argument that Madagascar is a sovereign state which does not take orders from SADC. "The irony is that it is him who has hijacked the sovereignty of the people of Madagascar and not SADC," he argued.

The former premier said that in the principle of subsidiarity, SADC has mandate over problems affecting a member country like Madagascar. He said that if SADC does not take action, there is possibility of Madagascar people to take action, putting it in their own hands, a situation that may ignite an all out conflict.

"There is a SADC roadmap. SADC is aware of those who are ready to comply with it and those who are defying it. What if Rajoelina decides to run for president next year, what concrete measures will SADC take? "Everytime there is a change in SADC leadership, the conflict in Madagascar is handed over to the successor, we hope Tanzania does not wait to also hand over this conflict to the successor of the Troika chair next year," he stressed.

Mr Zafitsimivalor added: "Tanzania has the duty at the moment to help Madagascar solve this problem so that we can normalize. I'am not against SADC's position, but then, who will implement it on the ground." He resigned early last year in line with a roadmap proposed by international mediators to end the two-year political crisis on the Indian Ocean island.

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