The Herald (Harare)

Southern Africa: Rajoelina, Ravalomanana Out of Presidential Race

The Sadc Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation has made a breakthrough in the Madagascar political crisis that will result in current president Mr Andry Rajoelina and ousted leader Mr Marc Ravalomanana not contest the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.

At a troika summit in Tanzania at the weekend, Sadc leaders commended the Madagascar leaders for taking this decision in pursuant of lasting peace in their country.

President Kikwete, who is head of the Sadc Troika, chaired the summit held in the capital Dar es Salaam.

In a communique released after the summit, the troika welcomed commended the undertaking made by Mr Rajoelina and Mr Ravalomanana "to the effect that they will not stand for the forthcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections".

They urged the Malagasy people "to promote the spirit of reconciliation, peace and stability and to refrain from all acts of destabilisation in the country".

The leaders also urged the Malagasy political stakeholders to assume their responsibility of peacefully delivering Madagascar out of the crisis.

Troika members are Tanzanian leader Mr Kikwete, President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, South Africa leader Mr Jacob Zuma and President Armando Emilio Guebuza, of Mozambique, the current Sadc chairperson.

The leaders reiterated that Government members should resign from office sixty (60) days before the election date, should they decide to run for the legislative and/or presidential elections as provided for in Article 14 of the Roadmap.

The also said "the President, the Government, the Heads of Institutions and the entire administrative machinery of the transition shall remain neutral during the transition period, particularly in the electoral process.

They further reiterated the Sadc endorsement of the electoral calendar of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections scheduled for May and July 2013.

The leaders called upon the Malagasy Parliament of transition to enact legislation to grant comprehensive amnesty to Mr Rajoelina, President of the Transition in Madagascar and Mr Ravalomanana, former president of Madagascar.

This amnesty should also be extended to the Malagasy security forces.

The troika leaders urged the Malagasy Parliament of transition to enact legislation on status of former Malagasy presidents. This legislation should include relevant privileges and immunities.

The implementation of a road map agreed by all the main Malagasy political forces in September 2011 had been made difficult by Rajoelina's threats that Ravalomanana would be arrested if he returns to the country.

Madagascar plunged into chaos when Mr Rajoelina took over power.

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