Madagascar’s toppled leader seeks advice from Africa’s Dictators’ Club and Woyanne’s Genocidal Dictator – ADDIS ABABA (AFP)

April 7th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Madagascar’s ousted president Marc Ravalomanana met Tuesday with African Union officials as a strike by central bank workers back home piled pressure on the man who deposed him. (more…)

Madagascar’s ousted president Marc Ravalomanana met Tuesday with African Union officials as a strike by central bank workers back home piled pressure on the man who deposed him.

Ravalomanana, who arrived in Addis Ababa on Monday, met with AU commission chief Jean Ping and Peace and Security Council chief Ramtane Lamamra as well as Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, officials said.

They did not divulge details of discussions, but Ravalomanana has been rallying international support against Andry Rajoelina, the former Antananarivo mayor who ousted him last month with the army’s backing.

In a statement, Ping renewed calls for a “rapid return to constitutional order through an inclusive process… based on respect for the relevant provision of the constitution of the country.”

Ravalomanana was forced out of office on March 17 following months of protests led by Rajoelina which descended into violence that claimed more than 100 lives.

The AU and the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) have suspended the Indian Ocean island from their groupings and called for a swift return to constitutional order.

Ravalomanana’s ouster has triggered a series of protests by supporters demanding his return.

On Tuesday, the country’s Central Bank employees went on strike, piling further pressure on Rajoelina, a former disc jockey who rose to prominence in 2007 when he was elected mayor of Antananarivo.

“The Central Bank’s panel, protecting its status and independence, has decided to launch a sit-in,” said spokesman for the demonstrators Aina Marie Razafindrakoto.

A majority of the bank’s 400 workers took part in the action which followed threats to the institution’s independence, he said, adding that Rajoelina’s administration had ordered the bank governor not to leave the country.

“The Central Bank is demanded to be at so and so’s service while it is an independent institution governed by the law,” Razafindrakoto said, adding that the bank had stopped money transfers.

The political crisis in one of the world’s poorest countries has seen the number of people needing humanitarian assistance rise to more than three million, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

The agency launched an appeal Tuesday for 35 million dollars (26 million euros) to “save lives” in Madagascar.

“This combination of crises has increased the numbers of persons needing humanitarian assistance, to… an estimated 2.5 million people living mainly in Madagascar’s main cities…, and an additional 880,000 living in the drought-affected south,” the agency said.

Ravalomanana was accompanied by Swaziland’s foreign minister who chairs SADC’s security panel. He will later leave for Libya for talks with AU chairman Moamer Kadhafi.

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