As the tropical breeze of the Indian Ocean island blows across the shores of Madagascar, its political atmosphere heats up with controversy. The eye of the storm? None other than Madagascar’s President, Andry Rajoelina. Revelations of Rajoelina’s dual French nationality have recently surfaced, causing a significant stir in the nation that thrives on its unique cultural identity.
The allegations stem from the heart of Madagascar’s legal framework – a law stating that any Malagasy citizen who acquires citizenship of a foreign country automatically forfeits their Malagasy nationality. Amid the contention, President Rajoelina finds himself ensnared in accusations of opaqueness and lack of transparency.
The foundation of these claims lies in documents that reportedly show Andry Rajoelina was naturalized as a French citizen by decree back in November 2014. This process was said to be overseen by then-French prime minister Manuel Valls. These potentially damning papers were leaked onto social media platforms earlier this week, putting the spotlight on the head of state.
Given the legal implications and the social media frenzy, many have called on Andry Rajoelina to shed light on the matter. The discourse escalated when a copy of the decree, purportedly co-signed by the French interior minister and published in the Official Journal, began circulating online.
Hajo Andrianainarivelo, the head of the opposition Malagasy Miara Miainga party, referenced article 46 of Madagascar’s constitution, asserting, “The functions of a president of the republic can only fall to a citizen of Malagasy nationality.” His party called on Rajoelina to “speak on this subject that offends the sovereignty of the Madagascar people, who have been betrayed”.
Rivo Rakotovao, the leader of the HVM party, voiced his concerns, framing Rajoelina’s alleged actions as “treason” and a “moral fault”. He drew attention to what he described as a significant legal issue and the President’s perceived dishonesty, questioning Rajoelina’s credibility in defending Madagascar’s interests.
In the wake of these politically charged allegations, the President’s chief of staff, Romy Voos Andrianarisoa, stepped forward to present a counter-narrative. Labeling the leak as an “undoubted political move”, she asserted that President Andry Rajoelina, being the offspring of Malagasy parents, retains his Malagasy identity.
Andrianarisoa emphasized, “The President is French on the side of his great-grandfather, so under common law … a significant percentage of Malagasy people are dual nationals and live in perfect harmony with their political positions.” She also argued against the notion that acquiring a foreign nationality instantly leads to the loss of Malagasy nationality, stating that “this loss must be formally noted by an authority.”
Amidst swirling rumors, reports suggest that Rajoelina’s French nationality was granted in return for his temporary step-down amidst the country’s political crisis in 2013. As the controversy surrounding Madagascar’s President, Andry Rajoelina, rages on, it continues to redefine political narratives in this corner of the Indian Ocean, challenging the perceptions and values of its citizenry.