“Before the Madagascan people and before God, I swear that I will do my utmost for the good of the people and I swear that I will respect Madagascar’s laws.” – Andry Nirina Rajoelina
On March 21, 2009, professional DJ turned politician, Andry Rajoelina was sworn in as President of the Haute Autorité de Transition (High Transitional Authority) of Madagascar. He thus became the youngest President or Head of State in Africa two months before his 35th birthday.
Andry Nirina Rajoelina was born in Antananarivo to a relatively wealthy family on May 30, 1974. His father, Yves Rogers Rajoelina a retired colonel of the Malagasy army, held dual citizenship and fought in the French army during the Algerian War.
Young Andry had the luxury of a good education with private tutors. At the age of 13, he was junior class national karate champion in 1987. He started disc jockeying at parties and clubs while in high school and once he completed his baccalaureate, he forsook further studies even though his parents could afford it, choosing instead to become an entrepreneur.
Andry Rajoelina’s first enterprise was an events production outfit called Show Business, launched at the age of 19 in 1993. The following year, his reputation was firmly established among the young people of the capital, Tana (Antananarivo) with the organization of an annual musical concert which featured both foreign and local Malagasy artistes on stage.
In 1998, Andry established INJET, a marketing and advertising company which became the first outfit in Madagascar to promote digital printing. Echo Austral, a local magazine named him Entrepreneur of the year in 2000.
Andry Rajoelina got married the same year to Mialy Razakandisa whom he had dated for six years. His wealthy in-laws invested in INJET and gave him the reigns of Doma Pub, a rival company which belonged to them in 2001. He continued to expand his business, acquiring Ravalina TV and radio stations in May 2007, changing the names to Viva TV and Viva FM.
Andry’s foray into politics was instigated by government’s obstruction to the expansion of his business. For instance, there was the removal of Tana’s first LED advertising panels which his company installed in a major roundabout in the city. He founded and led a political group Tanora malaGasy Vonona (TGV) and was elected Mayor of Antananarivo in 2007.
In December 2008, the government shut down Viva TV for interviewing an exiled former head of state, alleging that the interview was “likely to disturb peace and security.” Peace and security were disturbed indeed from January 2009 when a series of rallies were organized in the capital to protest the frustrating policies of the government.
“Since the president and the government have not assumed their responsibilities, I therefore proclaim that I will run all national affairs as of today.”
Things boiled over when Andry Rajoelina made the statement that he was taking charge of the island at a rally on January 30, 2009. Government responded by sacking him as Mayor and a demonstration by his supporters to occupy the Presidential Palace led to casualties, as security forces opened fire.
The situation continued to deteriorate among government supporters and Rajoliena’s supporters, until the army eventually sacked the government. The army subsequently transferred power to Rajoelina, in the process making him the youngest African head of state on March 21, 2009.
The international community did not support Andry Rajoelina’s administration, seeing his ascension to power as a coup and undemocratic. However, the UN invited Rajoelina to participate at the Fourth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries held in Istanbul, Turkey in May 2011. At the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City on September 23, 2011, he was a speaker.
In the build up to the 2013 presidential elections, Andry Rajoelina declined to contest, but changed his mind afterwards. However, when the EU and other bodies threatened to withdraw funding, he agreed not to run, but has offered his candidature for subsequent elections. Andry has maintained a low profile since, conducting his businesses.
Afro Tourism® salutes the DJ, events and showbiz organizer, media mogul and entrepreneur, politician, husband, father and city icon Andry Nirina Rajoelina.
For more information, please see:
‘Niyi David explores the beautiful and enthralling continent of Africa with Afro Tourism® capturing colorful memories of places, cultures and events in words and images.
Notice to readers: Some of the images may have been taken from the Internet. We do not own them.We provide due credit to the owner(s) if we are aware of the source. You are free to contact us via email: [email protected] to provide proper credit or ask for removal of an image.