Madagascar ousted leader denounces wife’s expulsion
Madagascar’s ousted leader Marc Ravalomanana Saturday denounced the expulsion of his wife hours after she had returned home as proof that his rival was not serious about peace efforts.
The former president and his wife have repeatedly tried and failed to enter the country after he was toppled in 2009. Lalao Ravalomanana returned to the island on Friday but was forced by authorities to go on to Thailand.
“Once again the regime in Madagascar has proven that it cannot be trusted,” Ravalomanana said of his rival Andry Rajoelina, the current ruler who took power with army backing three years ago.
The two held talks this week.
Rajoelina’s office described the attempt by Ravalomanana’s wife to return, as “provocative” and in “flagrant violation of the resolutions taken at the face-to-face talks held in Seychelles.”
But Ravalomanana fired back, saying: “I am appalled by the treatment of my family. My wife is not involved in politics.”
He insisted that Lalao Ravalomanana sought only to visit her 82-year-old mother.
“Once again, Mr Rajoelina has broken his word and shown that he is not trustworthy. He will continue to abuse anybody for his own ends and this only sets back attempts to resolve the conflict in Madagascar peacefully,” the ousted leader said.
The first direct talks between the two in Seychelles failed to agree on conditions for Ravalomanana’s eventual return, one of the major hurdles in guiding Madagascar towards elections.
The two rivals are expected to meet again within three weeks, before the next summit of the Southern African Development Community, which is mediating in the crisis.