Tuesday , 31 January 2023
One mere month to the presidential election's second round, several region chiefs are fired, and getting replaced by armed forces' high ranking officers. It is naught but a violation of democratic basic principles. The appointment order for these army officers was issued by a Cabinet meeting; the decision, taken by the transitional leader and the transitional prime minister.

Army generals and colonels appointed as region chiefs: another dubious achievement from Rajoelina

Region chiefs intending to run legislative elections as candidates must step down and obviously get replaced. No arguing! Having army officers taking over is however against the rules. The latest cabinet meeting properly ordered replacements, does however not make clear, who was fired or replaced. Political motivations to the action cannot be ruled out. Before the beginning of the first round’s electoral campaign, the transitional leader and his new loyal minister in charge of the decentralization department cast no less than 8 region chiefs arguably supportive of presidential candidate Hajo Andrianainarivelo.

The transitional dictatorship seemingly remains true to the spirit of the year 2009’s militarily supported putsch, bearing in mind that all of the army officers appointed as new region chiefs happen to be firmly supportive of Rajoelina. The order commanding the replacement of region chiefs is being justified by three different accounts, one of them being the vague “national political context.” Rajoelina and Beriziky have at least a good excuse to put their measure through this time around, namely providing the on going electoral process with the best possible security conditions.

Transitional prime minister does his best to justify the action: “they (the new region chiefs) are naught but civil servants, they are not likely to pick any side.” Who would not wish those fair words were true? Yet, not any single experience of the past four years would suggest anything in this sense. The armed forces are, whether we like it or not, biased, to the liking of the transitional ruling power.

Whatever… the political action is being met with more suspicion than approbation. Could Rajoelina be possibly paving the way for an eventual emergency estate if his presidential candidate fails to win the elections? Having military officers in command of civilian institutions in key regions actually sounds like martial law. These key regions are surrounding the Analamanga and Vakinankaratra areas, the most active and hostile ones to the year 2009’s putsch originated ruling power.

Some observers are holding this political strategy as an attempt to create more and deeper dissensions into the armed forces. Most likely as a matter of cover up, the transitional presidency appointed a couple of civilian administrators endowed with the required competences as region chiefs. The ruling power turned a blind eye on the civil servants’ Union’s made proposals and arbitrarily chose Talata Michel, for the Atsinanana region, and Mananjara Lucien, for the SAVA.

“The many evidences of lack of security which has been prevailing over the latest months” are serving the ruling power’s purpose of appointing generals and colonels where it wants to. A colonel Reribake Jeannot, now in charge as Ihorombe, will have the opportunity to find out how better he will be able to restore security in quality of region chief than as state police commander. Actually every area classified as Red Zones, in which Dahalo bands (cattle thieves) have been rampaging happen to be militarized as a whole by now. A colonel Rahovelson Fanomezana Israel commands the Anosy region, a general Robert, the Atsimo Andrefana area, and a colonel Vohason Mitovisoa, the Melaky region.

A colonel Maevalaza is now in charge of the DIANA region, in which a tragic incident partly affected Nosy Be island. As for the appointment of general Randriamarolo Jean Felix as chief of the Vatovavy Fitovinany region, and colonel Serge Elliot at the Sofia region, they are much more politically than strategically motivated