The Lesser of Two Evils

A power-hungry  young man is the new president of Madagascar. Using force to establish his unconstitutional government, Andry Rajoelina may have the support of the military, but lacks that of the international community and a greater part of Madagascar’s population. Ravalomanana resigned on March 17 after losing support of the armed forced. He handed over power to Andry’s military directorate.
Ravalomanana was far from a perfect leader. Excessive wealth is never a great attribute for the leader of an impoverished nation, but let’s face it, this is not all too uncommon in African countries. Ravalomanana made his claim to fame through Tiko, a dairy company which had close-to-monopoly advantages in the island nation. I’m not going to lie, I usually bought at least three ice creams at once whenever I was so lucky to encounter a freezer. More importantly, late in 2008, Ravalomanana made an atrocious land deal. Daewoo, a South Korean company, obtained 1.3 million ha of Madagascar’s land (1/2 of Madagascar’s arable land) to plant palm and corn monocrops, with the aim of to reduce their dependency on the US for fuel. Not only would this cause severe displacement of the rural population but it would also devastate Madagascar’s unique ecosystems which are touted at the hottest of the earth’s biodiversity hotspots. The corridor in which I worked and lived last summer, hosts a mind-boggling 86 per cent of endemic species.
How did Ravalomanana agree to this? Daewoo promised to bring development to Madagascar. Development in the form of roads, hospitals and factories. Made less public, was the fact that Daewoo planned to use cheap Asian labour rather than locals for employment.
Since Andry has taken power in mid-March, hundreds of government supporters have been tear-gassed and the country has been suspended from the African Union. Despite efforts by the UN and the African Union, the two sides have been unable to reach a compromise. Has any good come out of this turmoil? Indeed, Daewoo has pulled out. The political unrest is therefore perhaps the lesser of two evils.


One Response to The Lesser of Two Evils

  1. fireandrain says:

    We really did eat a lot of Ravalomanana’s ice cream, eh? I can’t tell if things are getting better or worse.

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