President Andriy Rajoelina of Madagascar has ordered the sack of the country's foreign minister over what he termed insubordination.
The reason for the sack is due to the decision of the foreign minister, Richard Randriamandrato, to vote against Russia's Ukraine annexation at the United Nations referendum.
Apparently, the foreign minister did not act on the orders of the presidency when he voted at the United Nations to condemn Russian-organized referendums to annex four partially-occupied regions in Ukraine.
After the results and identity of the voting parties were revealed, President Rajoelina was surprised to find out that his country was listed as one of the countries that voted to condemn Russia's actions.
The revelation prompted the president to order the sacking of the foreign minister, Richard Randriamandrato – who attended the U.N. referendum and voted on behalf of the country, two official sources at the president's office have informed reporters.
As you would recall, last week, the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn what it said was Russia's "attempted illegal annexation" of the four regions in Ukraine and called on all countries not to recognize the move.
Of the 193-member General Assembly, 143 countries voted in support of a resolution reaffirming Ukraine's sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
This year, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has put many African countries in an awkward diplomatic position. Many have a complicated history of relations with the West and the former Soviet Union, as well as significant economic ties to Russia.
Until last week, Madagascar always abstained during the various votes on resolutions related to the crisis in Ukraine. The government spoke of neutrality and non-alignment on the subject.
According to reports by Reuters, Richard Randriamandrato was contacted but declined to comment.
It appears President Rajoelina didn't want his country to be one of the Twenty-six African countries that voted in favor of the resolution rejecting Moscow's controversial referenda in four Ukrainian regions. He obviously would have preferred his foreign minister to vote against the U.N. resolution or, better still, abstained from voting, like the nineteen countries which did.
Following the revelation of the voting parties, many Africans took to social media to criticize their governments for abstaining from the United Nations vote condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The vote means the U.N. has declared Russia's invasion of Ukraine a violation of the UN Charter, the foundational treaty of the global body.
General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, but they have political weight. Therefore, the vote represents a symbolic victory for Ukraine.
The vote also indicates division among African countries on the Russia-Ukraine war. While some have strongly condemned Russia's invasion, most have remained quiet. The African Union, on its part, has asked Russia to respect international law and Ukraine's sovereignty.
Some of the abstaining countries have defended their decision. South African president Cyril Ramaphosa said the resolution "did not foreground the call for meaningful engagement" between Russia and Ukraine.
"South Africa expected that the U.N. resolution would foremost welcome the commencement of dialogue between the parties and seek to create the conditions for these talks to succeed," he said.
"Instead, the call for peaceful resolution through political dialogue is relegated to a single sentence close to the conclusion of the final text. This does not provide the encouragement and international backing that the parties need to continue with their efforts."
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Credit: Reuters, Quartz Africa, Africa News