mercredi 1 avril 2009

SADC Extraordinary Summit, Speech of His Excellency Marc Ravalomanana

Speech of His Excellency Marc Ravalomanana
President of the Republic of Madagascar
SADC Extraordinary Summit
30th of March 2009

Your Majesty King Mswati the Third,
Your Excellency, President Motlanthe,
Your Excellency, the Executive Secretary of SADC,
Your Excellencies,
Honorable Ministers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank His Majesty King Mswati the Third (III) and President Motlanthe for convening this extraordinary SADC summit.

On different occasions, SADC has assessed the situation on the ground and made its report to both His Majesty and President Motlanthe.

The Ministerial mission, led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Swaziland, could also assess the situation, which was already very tense.

That is why this summit is very important for the people of Madagascar. Their future depends on its outcome.

Majesty; Excellencies, I never resigned. I was forced to hand power over, at gun point, on March the 17th.

My family and I, were surrounded by soldiers threatening our lives. My son and his wife were forced to hide in the forest.

The only escape for us was out of the country.

Andry Rajoelina, the former Mayor of the Capital, Antananarivo, seized power through terrorism. He has incited unprecedented violence and destruction. And this since the 26th of January.

National and private radio and television stations were burnt down, and more than 20 shopping centres were looted and burnt down. Rajoelina used his own radio and Television stations for subversive propaganda.

Through these stations, he spread rumors against the government.

He made use of this strategy to:

1) terrorize the population and
2) destabilize the country.

The economy has been ruined: hundreds of businesses had to close down due to looting.

The security forces could not prevent the wave of destruction because they lacked anti riot equipment. They were overwhelmed by the scope of organized violence.

Andry Rajoelina claimed very early that he wanted to take charge of the country. On the 31st of January, he ordered the whole country to follow his leadership.

He told the administration and security forces they were under his command. And day by day, he orchestrated disruptive demonstrations, for both the public, and the private sector.

On the 7th of February, he proclaimed himself ‘president of the Higher Authority of Transition’. He appointed a prime minister, who named a cabinet of ministers.

All this occurred during street rallies. He then attempted to take over the presidential palace and the ministries. He did not succeed at this stage.

As his intentions of taking over power illegally became apparent, and the violence continued, he began losing support.

In speeches, he began threatening citizens: those unwilling to participate, would have their houses marked. His team began sending threats to ministers, MPs, senators, and media managers. Two newspapers had to stop publishing.

He then announced he would seize power with the help of armed forces. On Sunday the 8th of March, he organized a mutiny within a faction of the army. Junior officers rebelled against senior officers. Some officers were taken hostage at the army barracks.

His ‘Minister of Justice’ issued arrest warrants against members of the cabinet. With the help of the mutineers, he took the prime minister’s office on Friday the 13th.

Three days later, the mutinous soldiers took the Presidential palace in town.

On Tuesday the 17th, he sent troops to take the State Palace of Iavoloha, where I used to reside and work. They dispersed thousands of supporters camped outside the Palace, before they stormed it.

On the same day, mutinous officers stormed a meeting. They pointed guns at diplomats, senior members of the church, of the civil society, and of the army. They even took high ranking officers and a pastor hostage. They demanded power be handed over to Rajoelina.

As soon as he took power, Rajoelina dissolved Parliament and the Cabinet. He has also modified the Constitution, by changing the structure of the High Constitutional Court. As a result, 10 out of the 11 members are appointed by him and his government.

The people of Madagascar do not want this undemocratic regime. For over a week, people have been demonstrating against it, and asking for my return. Over 30 000 people were protesting last Saturday.

Unfortunately, violence and intimidation still prevail. After last Saturday’s demonstration, a group of rebellious soldiers and some militiamen chased the people who held the peaceful demonstration in the Capital, Antananarivo.

They shot at the demonstrators. As a result, 7 died, and more than 30 were injured. Several people are missing. Many were arrested.

Your Majesty, Excellencies, I am so saddened by this. Madagascar was doing so well. We were ranked among the best performing economies in Sub Saharan Africa with a growth rate of above 7% last year. Now there is total loss of business confidence in Madagascar.

Investors are pulling out, the international community is withdrawing its support. The poorest people of Madagascar are the ones who will suffer the most. Surely they do not deserve this.

Your Majesty, Your Excellencies, these last few months have been a very very painful episode of my life. I am saddened by the futile loss of lives, the senseless destruction of everything we had achieved.

Your Majesty, Your Excellencies, the only solution to this crisis is to return the democratically elected Government back to power. This is what the people of Madagascar are calling for.

This is why there are rallies in different parts of the country on a daily basis, asking for my return.

The coup and the current regime are destroying Madagascar every day. A faction of the army is out of control. Civil servants are on strike. The government’s funds have been withdrawn. People refuse to pay taxes to an undemocratic government.

For all these reasons, I ask for your help to save Madagascar from chaos and anarchy.. I need your assistance to go back to my country. The situation prevailing in Madagascar is unacceptable. The rule of law and democracy must be restored.

Once back in power I will undertake the following:-

1. Constitute a new consensus inclusive Government.
2. Establish an Independent Electoral Commission
3. Restructure and retrain the army and the police, with the assistance of SADC and other partners
4. Improve the business climate
5. Ensure that the rule of law is observed
6. Hold national consultations for either a referendum or anticipated presidential elections

In conclusion, I make a special plea for an intervention of SADC to remove the insurgents and restore democracy in my country.

I must thank President Molanthe, the Chaiperson of SADC, and King Mswati The Third, the chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security, and all the heads of State and government who have attended the Summit.

Thank you for your assistance and compassion. I have full confidence in the solidarity and the mutual support between members of the SADC.

Thank you.

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