Madagascar has new president

Home International Madagascar has new president

RUNDU – Following a military coup in 2009 that left Madagascar with a myriad of political problems, a court in the island nation ruled that the presidential election win of Hery Rajaonarimampianina was legitimate.

Rajaonarimampianina, who will lead Madagascar for the next five years, is the country’s 15th president since 1960. The Special Electoral Court (CES) on Friday threw out allegations of vote-rigging and recount demands by Rajaonarimampianina’s main competitor, Robinson Jean Louis, and confirmed Rajaonarimampianina as president. The Southern African Development Community (SADC), particularly Namibia, has been working around the clock to ensure that smooth elections are held in the world’s fourth largest island and more so to ensure that a new government, representing the aspirations of the Malagasy people is elected. Namibia even went as far as dispatching Ambassador Tuliameni Kalomoh to Madagascar to oversee the process of returning Madagascar to the fold of SADC. Kalomoh’s departure was part of Namibia’s offer to provide “a senior official at the level of ambassador to head the liaison office” – an offer made during the meeting of the ministerial committee on the SADC Organ Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in Windhoek on December 29.

Rajaonarimampianina, an ex-finance minister, was backed by former leader Andry Rajoelina. Robinson was backed by Marc Ravalomanana, the leader kicked out by Rajoelina in the 2009 coup that was condemned widely by the international community. Both candidates disputed the preliminary results, which were released earlier this month, with Rajaonarimampianina claiming that he scored more votes, while Robinson demanded a recount. As a result, Madagascar was suspended from SADC and the African Union.

Last year’s vote was meant to end a crisis that has discouraged many investors, including aid from reaching Madagascar. Before the coup, direct aid amounting to 40 percent of Madagascar’s budget was sourced from donors. Last week President Hifikepunye Pohamba, urged the leaders and the people of the island nation to accept the decision of that country’s Special Electoral Court(CES). Pohamba, is the current chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. “This is the moment that the people of Madagascar, the SADC region and, indeed, the rest of the international community have been waiting for since the conclusion of the second round of the Presidential election held on 20 December 2013,” said Pohamba last week. Pohamba went on to say that: “The leaders and all the people of Madagascar should remain calm and united. Should there be any disagreement with the CES ruling, it should be channelled through the established legal institutions and by peaceful means.”

By Mathias Haufiku