It’s a strange way to become a President. But don’t stress yourself that much. It happened in Madagascar the other day after weeks of political strife and crowd gathering that forced the country’s President, Marc Ravalomanana to exit from State House after a seemingly national revolt.
It all had the brushing of what happened years ago when Filipino President Ferninand Marcos was chased out of office in the Phillipines by crowds chanting “down with the corruption.”
The difference with now is that power was handed over to the army who dutifully passed it on to another civilian, an opposition pretender waiting in the wings, as in the case of Madagascar.
It is still difficult to decipher the intricacies of the Madagascar development and how it fits or misfit into the democratic outfit. Not only are democrats worldwide perplexed with it all but to stay within the continental orbit, even the other slow-to-react African Union is saying it is squarely off the scoreboard.
Questions that are ranting are on what platform has the presidency been transferred to former Mayor Andry Rofoelina who never contested the 2006 election in the first place.
Whatever colouring is applied, the scenario is nothing but a coup as the African Union stated.
Whether the arrangement will bring the much sort peace to troubled Madagascar for the moment appeared dodgy. For all it is worth, it may well turn out to be a political hold-over before the fall of the tornado. Edging out of the democratic orbit, what credentials do Rofoelina have to step into the seat of power?
Political observers were quick to point out that Rofoelina’s political strength has never been tested in terms of what he can do to turn around the misfortune of this once prosperous and admirable state.
Known by his critics to be a former disc jockey, flamboyant and sometimes a political drifter, his motive for wrestling power seemed to be a personal feud with Ravalomanana than anything else.
The 20 million population of Madagascar are unfortunately caught in the worldwide economic crunch of unemployment, staggering rise in food prices, poor health facilities and dwindling cash flow from those in the diaspora to near starving relatives back home.
To clean the present political debris, elections should be held within a year and the suggestion of two years brokered by Rofoelina should be brushed aside. After all, the deposed President had two years more to rule which has been snapped off by political pretenders with self agenda.
With Rofelina now working on borrowed political time, it remains to be seen how the situation will edge out.
It will be a mistake to dismiss what has happened in Madagascar as a “small inconvenience”. Whatever solution holds as far as the so-called transfer of power is concerned, the African Union is in quandary as to what the answer will be. It will set a precedent for any other country which may likely be tripped by such development.
African diplomats now have an additional diplomatic puzzle to contend with apart from changing governments through coup d’etat.
Many agree that it is the first time an African army has ducked being at the helm of power. It may be that the posture by the army was to keep Madagascar afloat through choppy waters but it has not been given the accolade that it was trying to play the democratic game.
The affairs became more twitchy by the nod given by the constitutional Council to shoo in Rofoelina as acting President. So the die is cast to end whatever upsurge might erupt.
Although there is an apparent clamour over the coming of Rofelina, no accurate garage exists where the popularity of the new leader can be measured or is known.
The streets of the capital, Tananarive may be busting at the seams, banners will continue to flutter spelling out the population support for the new leader but after the party will be over, wont the crowd thin out after they would have found that breakfast, lunch and dinner remain void of taste and proteins, much worse than under Ravalomanana?
Then the logical conclusion would have been like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. No doubt the bickering in Madagascar are far from over and looking at things as they continue to unfold, it will take a long haul before things get stable… if ever.
All systems are now running anti-clock wise heading towards a collusion course predicting to a fatal crash.
Can Rofoelina, taking into consideration the competing anti-parallels, be able, like a symphony orchestra conductor, be able to strike the right tune, while signaling towards the right direction?
Then what stamp would the African Union give the troubled state in terms of its membership of the continental organization. The prevailing mood in the corridors of the African Union is that Madagascar should temporarily exit the organization as its current government is viewed as undemocratic. “Its like ousting a democratically-elected government without using a gun,” one diplomat sums it up.
So would the new leader be able to unruffle this contention while trying to put things right internally? The forecast is that things are predicted to get tougher before they get better as rival forces are at play.
Whatever way the issue is assessed, the chips are bound to hot parchy grounds.
The political battle lines are being played out not internally but externally and it is gathering the democratic heat.
How would the new leader jump the hurdle with both the African Union and SODEC, the Southern African Economic entity already dismissing the so-called switch of presidential power as bogus?
Given the current sensitivity it is apparent that no window of opportunity exists.
Also Rofoelina is six years below the age of 40 to constitutionally become President.
This is another undoing in a country which is the fifth largest island in the world. Many say the problems of Madagascar are ideologically rigid and would need more than a youngish former disc jockey to rave the right voice to get things in shape.
Some conservative Madagascans are already liking the situation to the popular Tananarive slogan: Bad dogs. Trespassers will be prosecuted if they survive.
By Rod Mac Johnson