The assassination of innocence

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» 18.04.2002: Accord de Dakar entre Ratsiraka et Ravalomanana 
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Tiako-i-Madagasikara (Marc Ravalomanana's web site) 
MIDI Madagascar 

President Didier Ratsiraka

Does he not control his troops?

President Didier Ratsiraka

afrol News, 27 April - By Alain Rajaonarivony*, chief editor of 'Tiako i Madagasikara'.

7,500 children younger than 5 years and at least 400 women probably already have died because of the roadblocks in Madagascar, according to humanitarian organisations. Shortages, lack of medicine, care and food and vaccination campaigns made impossible due to lack of fuel thus will take its toll on the weakest. The figures are horrible!

This information has circulated for some days but did not cause, until now at least, a wave of indignation. The poor do not have much means to make their voices heard. This means that the five governors - following the worst possible strategy in spite of the Dakar Agreement - gradually have transformed themselves from political actors into criminals; exactly as the Serb extremists, who took their compatriots as hostages until American bombs were dropped upon them. One must not forget keep account of all the victims of this war for democracy - these innocent deaths - at proper time. 

Didier Ratsiraka quietly has installed himself in Paris, after passing through Tripoli, while his lieutenants in the provinces are let to do as they please. One has to choose among two possibilities: either he does not respect the consequences of his signature - and in this case, the international community should not regard him any more as a valid interlocutor and consequently take its measures - or he does not control his troops and this is of great concern for a leader. A person in charge who is not listened any more already is politically dead.

In any circumstance, one cannot count on him any more to find an end to the crisis. Marc Ravalomanana thus will have to manage to save the country on his own as the Dakar Agreement is becoming an inapplicable matter. Having gone as far as he could to preserve peace, it is now necessary for him to do everything to prevent that children do not continue to die because of politicians eager to secure their incomes based on mafia-like operations. But how to thwart the logic of armed struggle in which Ratsiraka wants to involve him? The choice should not be between what Winston Churchill once said; "war and dishonour".

The conflict in Madagascar

16 Dec. 2001: Presidential elections.
Jan. 2002: Official results say none of the candidates won, while election observers say Marc Ravalomanana won the first poll round outright.
Jan./Feb.: Thousands of protesters in the capital support Ravalomanana's claim he won outright.
22. Feb: Ravalomanana proclaims himself president. Names government.
Mar./Apr.: Violence increases between the two rival governments. At least 35 killed.
18 April: President Ratsiraka and Ravalomanana sign agreement in Dakar. Ravalomanana withdraws his claim to the presidency. 
25 April: Five governors supporting Ratsiraka say they will not accept the Dakar Agreement and opt to proclaim autonomous zones.

The High Constitutional Court (HCC) has announced it will publish the results of the recount of the votes on Monday. If the barricades are not lifted within the following hours and if the dubious "elected officials" continue to preach the partition of the country against the will of the population in the areas they control, the solution would be an intervention by the international community. And not simply in a verbal way, but by pointing at and firmly condemning the person responsible for the genocide and by helping the government and the population in a very concrete way.

Because while Antananarivo stands a good chance in managing thanks to its extraordinary resistance capacity and the support the Diaspora, the most fragile continue to die in silence in the provinces. Already quite dispersed, health care is becoming non-existent. 

The persons in charge for the future "independent" province of Tuléar are more known for their blackmail capabilities than for their concern for the most deprived. In the "autonomous" zones of Diego-Suarez and Tamatave, it is even worse. The population is terrorised and the manhunts and summary executions are not counted any more. 

Just before the elections, I carried out a roundtrip in the south of the Island together with a medical NGO, and the conclusions were clear. Of twelve doctors responsible of health stations in the bush, eleven were originating in Antananarivo. They were liked by the villagers, who sometimes begged them to remain. One does not speak about tribalism among these people. If all the doctors returned to their area of origin, the population would be completely abandoned. The death rate among children was already very high. It must now reach alarming levels.

French members of Parliament on 24 April vigorously asked that France support the lifting of the roadblocks, pursuant to the Dakar Agreement, in order to stop this quiet genocide. 

After the hopes raised by the Agreement - signed with great pomp and ceremony - the worst is perhaps to come, unless Didier Ratsiraka does not want to finally assume his responsibilities as a statesman. For him, this is the moment of truth! 

By Alain Rajaonarivony. 
* Rajaonarivony is chief editor of - the official web site of Marc Ravalomanana - and a former journalist in 'Madagascar Magazine'. Translation by Rainer Chr. Hennig, by special permission from Nathalie Randrianarison (Tiako i Madagasikara). 

© afrol News / Tiako i Madagasikara.

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