Madagascar opposition says united against president

Madagascar’s three main opposition camps are united in their determination to implement a power-sharing deal and no longer recognise the authority of President Andry Rajoelina, a former president said yesterday.
The three groups met yesterday to agree a common position after rejecting the new government Rajoelina unilaterally formed this week, saying it flouted the deal signed in Maputo, Mozambique last month, Reuters reports.
“The three movements will stick together to implement the Maputo accords,” former President Albert Zafy said after the meeting. “If there’s more unrest it won’t be because of us.”
Madagascar, an island rich in oil, nickel, cobalt, gold, uranium and coal, has been rocked by political turmoil since the start of the year.
Then opposition leader Rajoelina spearheaded a campaign of street protests and eventually ousted President Marc Ravalomanana with the help of dissident soldiers in March.
Analysts say if the opposition, which is united more through convenience than any convergence of ideology, manages to hold together and galvanise public opinion, Rajoelina could face the same kind of protests he used to seize power.
Crisis talks
Ostracised by most of the international community, Rajoelina joined crisis talks last month with Ravalomanana, Zafy and former President Didier Ratsiraka in Mozambique.
The island’s four political heavyweights signed a deal there laying out the structure of a power-sharing government, but they have failed to agree on who should fill the top posts.
There have been two protests by Ravalomanana supporters in the capital since Rajoelina formed his new administration, but both were broken up by security forces using tear gas.
Last week, Prime Minister Monja Roindefo condemned the latest protests, said those behind the demonstrations would be pursued by the security forces and that the government would not negotiate in a context of unrest.
However, Fetison Andrianirina, a Ravalomanana ally, said after the opposition meeting it was no longer just their camp pushing for progress on the Maputo agreement and there could be more protests next week.

Pic: Army backed President Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar