While politicians continue to advocate, in the name of their respective parties, the idea of national reconciliation, and subsequently, a national conference, the ruling party gives the impression of having transcended the political power struggles. In lieu of a national reconciliation conference, President Ravalomanana would prefer to have an economic one.
Have times changed? Politically, however, old political fossils, like former president Albert Zafy?s CRN, and former dictator Didier Ratsiraka?s AKFM, wish to hold a national conference aimed at reconciling the Malagasy people after the 2002 crisis.
Other signs of change: political rallies, much like the campaign for the partial parliamentary elections, are not a priority for the population. According to local sources, in the southern province of Toliara, the latest attempt to rally those who are dissatisfied with the new regime only managed to attract a few hundred people. This, of course, gives the members of law and order the opportunity to act accordingly, especially since the meeting was not formally pre-authorized by the provincial authorities.
Undoubtedly, for a time at least, the political issues will be placed on the back burner. However, not everybody is pleased with the new leadership. It is quite obvious that the current brand of governance is not exactly what everyone expected. Over time, it is becoming painfully obvious that President Ravalomanana seems to have a rough time shedding the knee-jerk authoritarian tendency of a former captain of industry. Despite it all, however, many are ready and willing to give President Ravalomanana and his team the grace period it wished to have. In about four years, he will be judged based on his actions, not his words. In the mean time, he has precious little room for error, while his enemies are watching his every move, ready to pounce on the slightest of missteps, and while the population, often passively, but none too patiently, awaits the first fruits of his “speedy recovery, and development”. To paraphrase a foreign businessman who is trying to convince his colleagues to come to Madagascar, political stability is here to stay “for at least five years”, and the current framework dictates that actions should take precedence over discussions.
Translated by J. F. Razanamiadana