Madagascar has urged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help formalise and implement trade cooperation between the Indian Ocean’s biggest island and Tanzania.
Former Madagascar prime minister Monja Roindefo, made the appeal during an exclusive interview with The Guardian in Dar es Salaam on Monday.
He said: “it is the duty of SADC to implement and help develop trade relations and with the existence of trade dynamics in Tanzania, my country would reminisce for cooperation since the geographical location of the two countries is favourable”.
Roindefo requested SADC to take concrete measures on the political situation in Madagascar saying if the previous presidents Mark Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina would be allowed to stand for the May 2013 general election, the people would continue to suffer.
He noted that at the moment Tanzania as a member of the SADC troika has the duty to see that Madagascar’s problems are solved for the latter to resume its membership.
“Diplomats have to act on the matter peacefully on the round table by considering the actual protagonists of the crisis to see that the conflicting situation is stemmed out,” he noted.
Roindefo said he regrets SADC’s dilly dallying in taking firm decisions on the matter by allowing itself to be manipulated by some interests outside the bloc. However, he added that, “Madagascar wants to prevent social unrest because poverty in the country is becoming unbearable”.
According to him, seventy three percent of households in his country live on one dollar a day while sixty percent of the population in the country’s capital uses soap after one month.
Roindefo , who is expected to stand as a presidential candidate for the May 2013 general elections said he intends to introduce peace and order, besides stemming out corruption.
“Corruption is unbearable in Madagascar. For example a worker cannot be promoted without issuing a bribe. This, as a result, has been one of the causes of unequal distribution of wealth in the country,” he explained.
Commenting on what Madagascar should do to be allowed back to SADC, he said: “It is the duty of SADC to restore our membership.”
Commenting on the 51 independence anniversary of Tanzania, he said he congratulates President Jakaya Kikwete on Tanzania’s birthday, a milestone in development made in peace.
Commenting on the progress of fishing industry in Madagacsar, he said, it has managed to develop because most fishing and factory vessels are been operated by the European Union (EU).
The SADC summit early last week decided to continue efforts to persuade both ousted president of Madagascar, Mark Ravalomanana, and the man who overthrew him, Andry Rajoelina, not to take part in the general elections slated for next year.
It is hoped that, if both rivals withdraw, this will help overcome the political crisis that broke out with the March 2009 Rajoelina’s coup d’état.
Since that date, Madagascar has been suspended from both SADC and the African Union.
Madagascar’s next presidential elections are scheduled for May 18, 2013, and parliamentary elections will follow on July 25.
In response to a request from Madagascar, SADC has promised to contribute USD10m towards the costs of the elections.
The summit endorsed the report from the SADC mediator on the Madagascan crisis, former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano.
It reiterated the SADC position that an amnesty law should be implemented to allow all political exiles, including Ravalomanana, to return to the country.
SADC also wanted the transitional authorities in Antananarivo to revoke all legislation that would prevent Madagascan citizens from participating in the next elections.