Note this excerpt from a recent New York Times story:
Ousted Leader Is Thwarted in a Return to Madagascar
By Lydia Polgreen | Published: January 21, 2012
“A commercial airliner carrying the ousted president of Madagascar back to that country’s capital was turned around mid-flight, after government officials abruptly closed the nation’s airspace on Saturday, apparently to prevent the flight from landing….”
“A Fresh Start for Madagascar”
It is sad to see Madagascar — a country so rich in natural resources — struggled with poverty and more than twenty-three years of corruption under former President Didier Ratsiraka. He left the country impoverished, with only minimal infrastructure in place. Yet people remained resilient, pleasant, and hopeful for a better future under President Marc Ravalomanana.
The December 2001, presidential elections in Madagascar were marred by a political crisis, large demonstrations, and fighting between the two opposing factions. There were also political killings and other human rights abuses. Marc Ravalomanana claimed victory unilaterally, and swore himself in as President on February 22, 2002. Eventually a number of countries recognized the election’s outcome, and he was sworn in again on May 6, 2002. As President, he promised to clean up the rampant government corruption.
As a successful dairy business owner you would think he was above corruption himself. However, people claimed that not much had changed in his new government.
In the December 2006 election cycle Ravalomanana, concerned about any opposition, made certain he would be the only candidate running. His main competitor for the presidency was exiled former Deputy Prime Minister Pierrot Rajaonarivelo. Ravalomanana barred him from participation in the election by not allowing him to enter the country — once he closed the small airport in the eastern city of Toamasina, and another time, he did not allow his opponent to even board a Madagascar-bound airplane in nearby Mauritius.
As a result, Rajaonarivelo could not personally sign the required registration papers and was rejected as a candidate. Three other presidential candidates were rejected for claimed infractions. So was it a surprise that ultimately there was a coup to replace Ravalomanana with another untried politician. Fear drives people to make irrational, but expedient decisions out of survival. Now Marc Ravalomanana, having been deposed, wants to return to seek his place as head of state, but the opposition won’t let his airplane land in the country.
Since independence most sub-Saharan African countries have been plagued with corruption and ruthless dictators. Today however, many new young leaders are emerging with an altruistic agenda. Only integrity and genuine leadership will bring Madagascar out of its destitute poverty, and earn its rightful place on the global economic stage. The country is rich with many resources, which should benefit all the people in the country. Madagascar needs a fresh start with a new, compassionate, democratically elected leader.
For more information on Madagascar read my book: “When the White House Calls“.