Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina is in the country for talks with the chairman of SADC’s (Southern Africa Development Community’s) organ for Defence and Security, President Jakaya Kikwete on the implementation of a roadmap aimed at ending nearly four years of a running political standoff.
The talks between the two heads of state took place at the State house in Dar es Salaam yesterday. The Director of Presidential Communications, Salva Rweyemamu told the gathering newsmen that he did not know when the duo would conclude the discussions.
Presidents Kikwete and Rajoelina are meeting barely a week after 14 SADC heads of state said in a joint Communique in Dar es Salaam, that former Madagascar president, Mark Ravalomanana should be allowed to return home from South Africa without conditions -- a key agenda on the table in the current consultations in Dar es Salaam.
Ravalomanana who was forced to resign in March 2009 after series of public demonstrations led by Rajoelina’s supporters and backed by some of high ranking army officers has been in South Africa where he took refuge ever since. He climbed to power in 2002 after leading a coup deta’t that toppled president Didier Ratsiraka
Another important point raised by SADC last week is that both Ravalomanana and Rajoelina should not run for presidency in the presidential elections slated for May 2013.
At the press conference in Dar es Salaam last Monday Ravalomanana said explicitly that he would not take part in the scheduled election. In this case, Rojoelina’s position -- whether he will heed SADC’s call or defy it -- is eagerly awaited by regional leaders.
Since seizing power in 2009, Tanzania is the second country to visit apart from Seychelles. Both trips have centred on finding a way forward for Madagascar’s political crisis.
During his early days in power when African Union and SADC countries voiced against the way he replaced Ravalomana, Rajoelina was quoted as saying that he was like his predecessor – simply struggling to win international backing after he toppled Ratsiraka.