Thursday, March 19, 2009

All Bananas, No Republic

Meanwhile, things are plodding along in Madagascar, as the populace grapples with its new government. Madagascar’s President Quits After Weeks of Chaos:

President Marc Ravalomanana of Madagascarresigned on Tuesday and handed control of the government to the military, which then passed the power to rule this poor island off Africa’s southeast coast to his archrival, Andry Rajoelina.

This odd turn of events comes after two months of political turmoil during which Mr. Rajoelina, the former mayor of the capital, Antananarivo, repeatedly declared a parallel government with himself in charge, essentially announcing a coup in a democratic country.

(Ravalomana's) preference was that a handful of senior officers succeed him. But in a ceremony broadcast from a military camp in the capital, Vice Adm. Hippolyte Rarison Ramaroson said that he and two generals had decided to install Mr. Rajoelina as the head of a transitional government

Late in the evening it was unclear if all elements of the military were in agreement with the changeover, but it was certain that the embattled president had finally succumbed to irreversible momentum.

Note the awesome name of Madagascar's Vice Admiral Hippolyte Rarison Ramaroson. Madagascar has a navy?

Rajoelina, meanwhile, is not what you would call a Man of Destiny, although he is slim, young, and looks good in a suit:

If these events hold, it will be an astonishing triumph for Mr. Rajoelina, a former disc jockey and entertainment impresario who at 34 is not even old enough according to the Constitution to be Madagascar’s president. He takes the place of a man democratically elected in 2001 and reelected in 2006.

Mr. Rajoelina became the mayor of Antananarivo in December 2007, besting the candidate from the president’s party. Eventually, he projected himself as the people’s champion against Mr. Ravalomanana, 59, a self-made tycoon, calling him a dictator more interested in promoting his own business interests than in elevating the masses out of poverty.

Nice that a "people's champion" has deposed a democratically elected government. It almost makes you think that his populist message is a lot of progressive BS. The Madagascan community seems of two minds about Rajoelina
While Mr. Rajoelina enjoys considerable popularity, he also is widely disliked

There's a reporter with his ear to the ground! He must have taken two cab rides and gotten two different earfuls about the "Madagascar Street."

Most Madagascans, however, seem to think that Rajoelina's ascendency is due to the hidden hand of the world's last great hegemonic imperial power, whose pitiless military, smooth diplomatic corp, sinister intelligence services, and vats of stolen oil allow it to exert its influence even in the teeming streets of Antananarivo:
“The problem is France,” said Harinanga Ranilisoa, 42, a dressmaker. “It wants to again run Madagascar, and it is doing so through Andry Rajoelina.”

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