An Open Letter to Mr. President Hery Rajaonarimampianina

Subject: An Open Letter to Mr. President Hery Rajaonarimampianina
From: from a Malagasy citizen
Date: 25 Nov 2017

Dear Mr. President,

Please allow me to share different stories that show the inefficiency of electricity in our motherland, Madagascar. Two years ago, around 6:30 pm, after school while walking back home in the middle of a dark street of Antsohihy, the echo of a woman screaming loudly suddenly hit my ears causing, my feet to take off directly and run relentlessly until I arrived home. It was a mother of four poor children, heading back home, hoping to feed her kids after a long day of work. Instead, she was mugged. She lost the little money she gained because evil was able to hide itself in the gloom on the way home. Burglaries and attacks happen almost everywhere in Madagascar because of the lack of electricity. These power cuts can also destroy the lives of small businessmen, including my neighbours who desperately hope to feed themselves from the money they gained from selling ice cream or yogurt. Yet now they are jobless because none of the products can be conserved using their powerless fridges. In fact, many electrical devices were often broken due to the unexpected power cuts.

Your Excellency, let me not try to elaborate on how ineffective the electricity system is in Madagascar. Let me not even talk about how it is time for you to act and solve this issue in order to, at least, strengthen the local security and ensure the functionality of the small businesses for the economic development of our wobbly island. You are aware of what is happening, so I am here to kindly invite you to start an efficient and insightful collaboration with your people. It is because of your position of power that you have the potential to make changes.

Perhaps you still remember your words during the electoral campaign in 2013, saying that, “If I am a president, just in three or six months the latest, this electrical issue will get sorted”. That evening, I dreamt of Madagascar as “A city of light, day and night”. For the whole three years, I have been waiting, yet nothing has changed. Indeed, I acknowledge that the negotiations you recently established with Symbion-power were a great start toward this change, as it enabled the government to buy electricity at an affordable price. And as the CEO of Symbion-power mentioned, “The cost is 3 cents per KWh, exclusive of the cost of fuel which is supplied to us by Jirama […] This is good news for the country because the local fuel should be cheaper than imported Heavy Fuel Oil, bringing about even greater savings” on August 18, 2017. However, on June 29, 2017 L’Express de Madagascar mentioned that it has been validated that from the July 1st, the price of electricity will undergo an average increase of 7.5 percent. Whereas CEO of Symbion-power seems optimistic about some great savings and affordable cost, these words will only be truthful from his unique perspective. Because we Malagasy citizens know more than anyone that affordability and savings are not words that we can afford to use care-freely.

You consistently blame the deficit of capital as an excuse to avoid fixing this problem. I disagree. In fact, last year the government spent a huge amount of money to host the “XVIe Sommet de la Francophonie”. Yet the truth is, you and I know perfectly well that the finances of the country should not pose any problems. We have all the resources necessary to implement sustainable energy systems in Madagascar – so why don’t we? The sun, wind, river, natural gas and mines. All these natural resources can be used as alternatives to supply energy from Northern to Southern and from Eastern to Western regions of our large island. Admittedly, all of this would require immense work, and we are aware of this.

Just like how I and many other Malagasy people are tired of complaining, I do not doubt you too are tired of hearing complaints. Today I urge you to stop the sugar-coating and the fake promises. Please be frank. Do not hide any details, and trust your beloved people. Have faith in us, and trust the fact that just like you, we are beings of reason and comprehension – we can understand what is happening no matter how complicated it is. If things are going to get bad, tell us frankly and let’s work it out together. I believe a certified public accountant like you can reason along these lines. In case you need help, I am definitely willing to provide you with some. No more lies, no more faking, no more hypocritical statements. Mr. Rajaonarimampianina, enough is enough. This is not only about helping the nation to get better, this is about liberating ourselves. I appeal to you in the words of Lilla Watson: “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together”.

So today I speak up on behalf of twenty-four millions of people who are in dire need, not to complain but to start a discussion. Your Excellency, of course we trust your ability to enact valuable change. You have one year left before you will leave your office. This is your time to astonish us by flooding light on our eyes. Today, as we march on this dark island, we ask you to march with us and listen to our broken voices.

With warmest regards,

A Malagasy citizen living in darkness