Somali Magazine – Jean Jacques Ratsietison, an opposition presidential candidate in Madagascar, was arrested during a protest in the capital, Antananarivo.
Ratsietison, a 60-year-old economist and founder of an association defending the purchasing power of the Malagasy people, was taken into custody in the late morning. The arrest occurred amidst a small procession of opponents trying to reach the emblematic Place du 13-Mai, despite a prefectoral ban. The center was cordoned off by the forces of law and order.
The opposition has alleged that the upcoming election, scheduled for November 16, is being rigged in favor of the incumbent, Andry Rajoelina and his ruling party. Ratsietison’s arrest has added fuel to these allegations and has been met with outrage from other opposition candidates.
Ratsietison was released in the evening later the same day and later declared on national television that the charges against him – acts of violence and attempted coup – were disproportionate. His arrest has been denounced as a “dictatorship” by another presidential candidate, Auguste Paraina.
Roland Ratsiraka, another candidate of the collective, expressed his outrage at Ratsietison’s arrest, stating it was “not a solution”. He revealed that a legal complaint had been lodged against the local authority’s decision to ban demonstrations at May 13 Square.
The police, gendarmerie, and army general staff proposed to ensure the protection of all thirteen presidential candidates, without distinction, and their families. However, this protection did not extend to political meetings or demonstrations.
The arrest of Ratsietison has sparked controversy and heightened political tension in Madagascar. As the nation prepares for the upcoming presidential election, the world watches closely. The unfolding events serve as a stark reminder of the challenges that lie ahead in ensuring a free and fair election.