Former Madagascar First Lady seeks Rajoelina’s sympathy

Former Madagascar president Marc Ravalomanana’s son Tojo visiting his ailing grandmother at a hospital in the capital Antananarivo. RIVONALA RAZAFISON | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Former Madagascar leader Marc Ravalomanana’s wife is pleading with President Andry Rojoelina to let her return home to attend to her sick mother.

Ms Lalao Ravalomanana has been living with her husband in exile in South Africa since his ouster by the former disc jockey in the 2009.

Ms Ravalomanana’s mother Helmine Razaiarivelo has been hospitalised in the capital Antananarivo since February 12.

According to medical sources, the toppled leader’s mother-in-law, who is in the Intensive Care Unit, was suffering from high blood pressure and her health was deteriorating.

Long absence of her daughter had reportedly affected the 83-year-old woman.

“We are sad when looking at grandmother Razay. She desires to see her daughter visiting and taking care of her. Only God is the master of the destiny,” Mr Ravalomanana’s family said in a statement sent to newsrooms.

Last Tuesday, members of the Cabinet met to discuss Ms Razaiarivelo’s health and explored whether to allow the former First Lady back if the mother died.

Blocked from landing

Senior government officials agreed that Mrs Ravalomanana should be allowed to come home.

“Prime Minister Jean-Omer Beriziky, National Defence minister Gal Lucien-André Rakotoarimasy and Transports minister Rabenjamina Ramanantsoa all agreed that she returns,” Deputy Prime Minister Pierrot Botozaza said.

He added that what remained was President Rajoelina’s nod.

The former First Family had been unsuccessful in their earlier attempts to return home.

In January last year, the couple left Johannesburg on an Airlink flight to Antananarivo, but the plane was forced to return mid-air after being blocked from landing.

In July, Ms Ravalomanana’s attempt to return home failed when the authorities banned her from entering the country from the airport.

On another occasion, they were stopped from boarding a plane from South Africa after Malagasy interim authorities issued stern warning to the airline.

However, their younger son, Mr Tojo Ravalomanana, freely returned to the country in November last year but two days later, police allegedly “raided” his residence and issued summons urging him to report to the station.

The SADC brokered roadmap signed in September 2011 to end the long-running crisis in Madagascar stipulates the unconditional return of any exiled citizens for political reasons.

Agreeing on the terms of Mr Ravalomanana’s return has been one of the major political hurdles in the country as it prepares to hold general election in July.