“Weak Institutions Are To Blame”

Willibroad Dze-Ngwa, Associate Professor-Researcher, Global Issues, Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Yaounde I.

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What explains the current political situation in Madagascar?

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It is a problem of leadership, which is common across Africa. This is why former United States of America President Barack Obama said it was better to establish strong institutions instead of strong personalities. However, African leaders tend to insist on strong personalities instead of strong institutions.

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Though Madagascar’s Supreme Court scrapped some portions of the disputed electoral laws, demonstrations have continued as the opposition insists that President Hery Rajaonarimampianina should resign because they have lost faith in him. Andry Rajaolina and Marc Ravalomana, two former leaders, have huge following, thus the continuous demonstrations. The opposition thinks that Hery Rajaonarimampianina can no longer be trusted. So, they want him out for modifying electoral laws a few months to presidential elections without consulting other stakeholders. 

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This is not the first time such a crisis is happening in Madagascar. In recent years, transitions have tended to be violent as they were effected through coups or popular uprisings.

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This is a common phenomenon in some parts of Africa because power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It was because of mounting pressure from the ruling ANC party and the public that former South African President, Jacob Zuma, finally resigned. Former Senegalese leader Abdoulaye Wade faced the same stiff resistance from his people when he tried to stay on after his constitutional terms had ended.

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