Ever since Madagascar gained independence in 1960, the political situation has been in turmoil marked by violent unrest and power struggles. The event of January 2009 was the culmination of the political unrest plaguing the nation, which resulted in the death of many civilians in Antananarivo and many other locations throughout the country. The killing of 25 people on February 7 2009 by security forces firing outside the presidential palaces is probably the biggest question mark on the country’s political situation.
Such political complications had worsened after the ousting of President Marc Ravalomanana in 2009 when Mr. Andry Rajoelina came into power. Ever since then there have been consistent protests on the streets to show disapproval of the current government.
The Effects Of The Current Political Problem
Instability in Madagascar’s political scenario has spread into economic turmoil and downfall of the economy on a nationwide scale. Drop in development aid, international donations is a direct consequence of the insecurity over current government and how money will be spent. Thankfully, the Feuille de route signed in September 2012 seeks to amend the situation by promising a democratic election in 2012 with assurance of upholding human rights.
Due to the instability of the region, poverty has risen to now include 70 percent of all citizens. This has led to the denial of basic social, cultural and economic rights to the citizens with a high unemployment ratio among the population. Children in particular suffer from malnutrition and destitution is now an increasing trend. Violence is also on the rise with the current government unable to settle public unrest through calmer measures.
Women of the country and young girls are becoming victims of sexual exploitation due to increasing poverty issues and unemployment. This has resulted in the growth of sexual tourism in the country. Amendments to trafficking of humans and violence towards women that had been put into place prior to the political turmoil of 2009 are not falling short to prevent domestic violence and trafficking of women.
Madagascar citizens are being denied the freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of press ever since the events of 2009. Ironically, the previous government’s restrictive stand on freedom of speech was what caused its usurping. Political cloud and improper governance has also seen detention and arbitrary arrests of citizens without valid reasons. Furthermore, all television and radio in operation at present is government owned thanks to an outdated Communications act.
Governance has deteriorated to an extent where rights of children are no longer protected. This has led to increased child trafficking, higher child labour incidences and violence towards the under-aged. Similarly bills presented to the Parliament are on hold with no visible conclusions. One in particular seems of interest to human right organizations – The Malagasy law that promotes capital punishment in the form of beheadings.
The only positive note in the political turmoil of Madagascar is the deployment of Mr. Oumar Kane as the Human Rights Adviser to the nation by OHCHR in 2011. His presence has seen minor improvements in the plight of the common man and woman but the above mentioned political problems have yet not allowed the full implementation of the HRA’s directives.