30 May 2014

Southern Africa: 'Respect of SADC Roadmap Will Attract Support'


Dr Nsoh Christopher Ndikum is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Yaounde II, Soa, explains Madagascar's gradual welcome into the comity of nations after a five-year period of isolation following the 2009 coup.

Of what significance is the gradual readmission of Madagascar under President Hery Rajaonarimampianina into the comity of nations?

Madagascar has been torn by negative peace; a crisis that negatively impacted on the country. She faced international isolation from regional and universal bodies, degradation in educational and health standards, further reduced living standards with many living below the poverty line, food insecurity, battered economy and greater loss of control in governance.

The gradual acceptance of Madagascar under the new leadership of President Hery Rajaonarimampianina will gradually turn the negative report card into a positive one. This will be done from two perspectives - the internal and external or international.

For the internal level, the international community will support the initiative of the country to rebuild its democracy through institutions like the judiciary and legislature which will function with the executive to reinstate positive peace and greater control of governance. There is also need to reconstruct the health and education sectors and revive the battered economy.

On the international scene, Madagascar's respect of the roadmap initiated by the Southern African Development Community, SADC, prior to last year's elections aimed at ending the crisis, restoring democracy and constitutional rule, will attract more external support. This will once more make Madagascar a regional and international player and also help to determine the emerging State in the international community.

The emergence of the State from isolation will facilitate access to bi-lateral and multi-lateral aid that is urgently needed to rebuild infrastructure and encourage peace process in the country.

What else can the President do to maintain stability and get the country out of the doldrums?

The President has to be ready to promote dialogue and debates with the different factions of the country that created the stalemate or crisis in 2008. The dialogue should not be a formality, but with full engagement from the different stakeholders. The President should convince regional and international institutions that isolated the country to come back. Their support with foreign aid will encourage foreign investors to return.

Furthermore, a plan should be made on how to combat corruption and create transparent governance that includes various groups in the country. The rights of minorities should be recognised and promoted and power decentralised to regional authorities and local government.

What future do you see for Madagascar, given that the old guard politicians - who were largely responsible for the country's recent crisis and isolation -are still very much around?

With a free and fair election validated by regional and international bodies, I do not really foresee a negative future. Furthermore, coming out from a crisis, I strongly think the different camps have learnt a lesson and will now use democratic approaches and non-violent strategies to challenge programmess that are not in conformity with the reality or opinion of the other political institutions.

At this stage, his political enemies will become his political opponents. Having political opponents will play a great role in building democracy.

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