“I was forced to leave the presidency seat at gunpoint, but I am going back to Madagascar in peace. I am confident of SADC and the security they will give; I am confident things will be fine,” Ravalomanana told the media.(From IRIN News today)
Ravalomanana also appointed a new prime minister (from China View News):
Ravalomanana told his supporters through telephone from Swaziland that he had appointed Rakotonirina Manandafy, leader of the Movement for the Progress of Madagascar (MFM), to be his new prime minister, the private Antsiva Radio reported Thursday evening.
MFM, founded by Manandafy in 1972, has been a political ally of the former ruling I Love Madagascar party led by Ravalomanana and one of few political parties which supported Ravalomanana in the current political crisis that began last December.
Here’s some bad, bad news. Rajoelina is not proving to be the leader some may have thought, or hoped he might be, and he’s apparently bent on screwing over the younger generations of Malagasy people, who are in school, and who will feel the brunt of his reversal of proposed education reforms. I can’t figure out if he’s a complete idiot, or on some French person’s payroll… somebody enlighten me. Here’s an excerpt from the article in afrol News:
More than 60 percent of the Malagasy government budget was funded by donors during the regime of toppled President Marc Ravalomana, who was able to attract many new foreign partners to invest in Madagascar’s development. But as long as an illegitimate government holds power on the island, all foreign development funds are frozen.
However, among the first official steps of President Rajoelina was to reverse the education reform and announce a more rigid use of French as teaching language in Malagasy schools. According to officials from the Norwegian development aid agency, Mr Rajoelina has “set other and poorer standards” for Madagascar’s education system.
It is speculated that the introduction of strict adherence to French language in all teaching in Malagasy schools may be a step by Mr Rajoelina to win the Paris government over to his side. All other foreign partners – which grew in number and importance during President Ravalomanana – however see this as a major setback.
French was the main teaching language during the colonial period, but also during the first decade of independence. In 1972, however, government changed the teaching language to Malagasy, which is the only language spoken by all inhabitant on the large island. But the problem was that a chronic lack of good teaching materials in Malagasy, leading to the reintroduction of French as the main teaching language again twenty years later.
Currently, Malagasy pupils – out of which 98 percent do not speak proper French – are struggling with French language textbooks adapted to the cultural context of mainland France. Teachers mostly lecture in Malagasy language as most have very poor French language skills, but exams remain in French.
The upcoming education reform was to secure a greater part of education in Malagasy; the only language understood by all of Madagascar’s children. But President Rajoelina rejected the reform and has instead given the order that all teaching – including lecturing – shall be in French language.
When will Madagascar be truly independent? It feels like Malagasy culture, language, history, and sense of identity are being crushed under the weight of France.