Water grab: another license to steal

The 30th issue of “La Gazette de grande île” has so jarred me that made me think if this newspaper known for their “investigation journalism” and nonconformism to mainstream media is just a crap paper, not worth than “Midi Madagascar” who usually sells more commercial ads and bullshit than true information and analysis in their columns. Has Madagascar attained the level of misinformation seen in the USA in controlling the general public opinion and behavior. When there were no WMD weapons found in Iraq, the media, among which NY Times,CBS, Washington Post have helped the Government to stress the idea that it was not so bad because they help Iraqi people to embrace Democracy. And it works, thanks to the mainstream media the Iraq war issue has disappeared from the limelight during the Presidential election. See What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream: Noam Chomsky.

1909lagazette.jpg

We can observe this in La Gazette’s post about selling water to Saudia Arabia by their colmnist and editor in chief Franck Raharison. Every good journalists have the right to bias on a specific idea or on a political trend but running a smear campaign against the “Green party” Hasin’i Madagasikara (Madagascar’s value) on water issue is a crime. The columnist deliberately scoffed at green policy basing his arguments on technical and commercial terms. The Faraony river in Manakara (South-East), from which water will be pumped and filtered before exportation, as he said flows and ends to the sea so why not exploiting it. The second argument is purely financial, the Saudia Arabia will spend million dollars for their water supply so why not jumping to this opportunity. That’s all sound true, I’ve never been in Manakara so can’t check if the river really ends in the sea and what environmental damages may occur during the exploitation, I also agree that we need fresh direct investment right now since common people agree that money never smells bad. But, something makes me not complying with this mainstream idea of easy money, a déjà-vu feeling is in the air. Franck Raharison treated the Green party as adopting an exacerbated nationalism and its members as blind conservatives when they strongly oppose to this project of water export, blind to not see the advantages that we can make in this deal, fool in thinking that Malagasy land and water are not marketed goods and are not for Malagasy people forever. Only 14% of the whole population have clean water infrastrucure and in the six main provinces of Madagascar waterworks still lack necessary technologies to provide full services to the population; for instance water supply was cut off during almost one week in Taolagnaro( in 2008) due to technical failure and a growing need of fresh water by Rio Tinto in Illemenite treatment (they cannot use sea water). Who can ensure that if this project works the benefits will implent the necessary means to provide water service to at least the region of Vatovavy Fito Vinany (Manakara, Manajary…) while exporting to Saudia Arabia. The truth is that the Arabs will take their water and the money from it will probably vanish somewhere; remember that Daewoo Corp has never planned to share the yield from the1.3 million ha land taken from us and the deal, Ravalomanana made with this company was disclosed by foreign media.

mother water

The moral of the story is that water is not a good, it belongs to the population. Water is an human right, a premise to all human rights because the heart of human life. Any local or international logic in managing clean water and water treatment facilities in all African countries should be well examined, following the basic principle that it belongs to the local people. The World Social Forum held in Nairobi in 2007 gathered a network of counties who are against the international pressure of privatizing water management and the right to water access. Our former President Ravalomanana did the opposite move, he attended the workshop held by multinational companies in Holland (or Switzerland I don’t remember) who are ready to invest in Madagascar as he had already separated the water service from JIRAMA, the national energy company. It already happens in Chili( with ENDESA a spanish Cie), Mali, Ghana, the water supply are run and owned by private company who only think to their large profit, the result is that the population can’t afford the water from their own country. To sum up, we should all skeptic about this issue of water export and water management and let’s point out those newspapers who are against land selling but agree on water exporting.

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~ by tolotra on July 2, 2009.

5 Responses to “Water grab: another license to steal”

  1. I think that the current government runs out of money and seizes at first opporunity of a foreign investment. aren’t they aware that it may jeopardize their admnistration ? Obviousely they do but I think they have the usual weapon that is the media. I presume that they will succeed as long as they know to handle it and influence public opinion. well, the mistake of ra8 was having kept the partnershîp with daewoo in silent But it would have been different if he let the media to work upon it and campaign its positive aspect.
    It ‘s true that media in madagascar trend in a specific political party ; But it is not something new , it has always been so .
    And I dare say that it is a crucial mean to get to power. The promise to give to journalists liberty is just a routine among the leader;but the most brilliant of them are often hired to issue mainstream media on behalf of the government in power.

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