MAPUTO, (Reuters) – Southern African countries have refused to recognise Madagascar’s new leader, Andry Rajoelina, and urged the international community and African Union to reject him as well.
Mozambique, Angola and Swaziland, which make up the defence, political and security troika of regional grouping SADC, which includes Madagascar, said at the end of a mini-summit in Swaziland that democracy should be restored in Madagascar.
“The Extraordinary Summit of the Organ Troika therefore calls on the African Union and the International Community not to recognize the appointment of Mr Rajoelina,” said a troika statement.
“And put pressure to bear on the de facto authorities in Madagascar to return that country back to democratic and constitutional rule in the shortest time possible.”
Rajoelina, who at 34 is Africa’s youngest president, took power on Tuesday after leading strikes and demonstrations against President Marc Ravalomanana since the start of 2009.
“In the event of non-cooperation and non-compliance by the de facto regime in Madagascar, the Summit of the Organ Troika shall recommend to Summit to consider imposing appropriate sanctions and/or use all relevant resources available to restore order in Madagascar,” said the statement.
Ravalomanana handed power to the military, and they in turn appointed Rajoelina. A former disc jockey and sacked mayor of Antananarivo, Rajoelina is nicknamed “TGV”, after the fast French train, because of his rapid-fire personality.
Though Madagascar’s Constitutional Court has endorsed Rajoelina’s takeover, various world bodies including the African Union (AU) and United Nations have expressed concern at the change in leadership without a vote.
“In the circumstances SADC does not and cannot recognize Mr Rajoelina as President of Madagascar because his appointment not only violates the Constitution of Madagascar and democratic principles, but violates the core principles and Treaty of SADC, the African Union and the United Nations Charters,” the statement said.