RUNDU – Namibia has dispatched Ambassador Tuliameni Kalomoh to the island nation of Madagascar to oversee the process of returning Madagascar into the fold of the Southern African Development Community (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.
SADC – and the troika – is in favour of lifting the sanctions placed on Madagascar since the grabbing of power in 2009. The results of the second round of elections that took place on December 20 declared Hery Rajaonarimampianina as Madagascar’s new head of state for the next five years. Rajaonarimampianina, who is the country’s former finance minister, won 53.5 per cent of the vote, while his opponent Robinson Jean Louis won 46.5 per cent. Louis is however calling for a recount of the votes. The election results were announced on January 3.
After unconstitutionally changing its government in 2009, Madagascar was suspended from all SADC institutions and organs until such a time that the country regains constitutional order. The African Union also suspended Madagascar’s membership in that year after denouncing the change of government as a ‘coup’.
Speaking to New Era yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah confirmed the dispatching of Kalomoh to Madagascar. “We have sent Ambassador Kalomoh to head the liaison office in Madagascar. The people of Madagascar have shown that they want the presence of SADC during this process,” she said. Kalomoh will be based in Madagascar until such a time that the new president of the island state is inaugurated. Kalomoh is the government advisor on foreign affairs.
“I did not quite check as to what the law of Madagascar says regarding the inauguration period, but our ambassador will be there to oversee this process,” she said.
Nandi-Ndaitwah also stated that the envisaged pledging conference can only be held after certain processes such as the inauguration of the new president and establishment of a government have taken place, as well as the lifting of the 2009 sanctions imposed on Madagascar.
“Being in such a situation for four years is very difficult and it has left many people with different views. Therefore, the situation must return to normal so that the people of that country can focus on development,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah.
The Windhoek troika meeting “recommended consideration of the lifting of sanctions against Madagascar and convening of a pledging conference for Madagascar upon the successful completion of the electoral process.”
The meeting further assured the people and government of Madagascar that SADC stands ready to help Madagascar address the challenges of national reconciliation, re-building the country and re-launching the development process.
Meanwhile, Louis is calling for a recount of the votes from the run-off that declared Rajaonarimampianina as the winner. Media reports suggest that the losing camp has filed approximately 300 complaints to the electoral court, which is expected to issue a ruling in the coming week.
Only 4 831 666 of the 7 823 305 registered voters casted their votes during the watershed elections which are seen by many as the only way to halt the ongoing political turbulence in the Indian Ocean island.
Madagascar has over 20 million people many of whom, according to political commentators, did not bother to register to vote because they have lost faith in the country’s political system which has brought them nothing but immense suffering, while leaders fight each other over government positions.
By Mathias Haufiku