Andry Nirina Rajoelina is a Malagasy businessman and politician who is the President of Madagascar.
On Thursday, July 22, 2021, media houses reported that there was an attempted assassination on the Malagasy president, but the attempt was foiled by the police.
The incident became the second attempt on the life of a sitting president in Africa in less than a week following a similar attempt in Mali.
Background & Education
Rajoelina was born on May 30, 1974 in Antsirabe, Madagascar. He hails from a wealthy family.
His father retired Colonel Yves Rajoelina holds dual citizenship and was a soldier in the French Army during the Algerian war.
Rajoelina decided not to pursue his studies into college after attaining his baccalauréat despite his family being wealthy. Baccalauréat is a French national academic qualification that students can obtain at the completion of their secondary education.
Instead, he settled for life as an entrepreneur.
Rajoelina met his wife Mialy Razakandisa in 1994 while she was in her final year of High School in Madagascar’s capital of Antananarivo.
They courted for six years, long-distance, as she pursued her undergraduate and masters studies in Finance and Accounting in Paris, France.
She returned to Madagascar in 2000 and the two got married the same year. They have three children, two sons and a daughter. Their eldest Arena is 19, Ilonstoa is 18, and the lastborn daughter Ilona is 16.
Career & Businesses
Rajoelina began his entrepreurial journey immediately after High School. He set up a small event production company called Show Business in 1993 when he was 19.
He organised live events that brought together musicians and artists from Madagacar and beyond.
In 1999, the Head of State launched Injet, the first digital printing technology company in Madagascar. The company’s fortunes were propelled even further with the introduction of billboard advertising.
In 2000, he and his wife acquired a billboard advertising company that was owned by one of his in-laws. Rajoelina ran Injet while his wife ran the advertising company, Domapub.
In May 2007, Rajoelina bought Ravinala television and radio stations, and renamed them Viva TV and Viva FM.
In 2007, he founded a political party and named it Tanora malaGasy Vonona (TGV), meaning “determined Malagasy youth”. Using the party he declared his bid for mayor of Antananarivo.
On December 12, 2007, Rajoelina was elected Mayor of the capital, dethroning the incumbent.
His fame grew by day, and in 2008, two major scandals in the President Ravalomanana administration set a stage for his political growth to a national scale.
He led and organised meetings with other opposition leaders in which they demanded that the then government adhere to the rule of law and the country’s Constitution.
Rajoelina through Viva Tv had organised a live interview with an opposition leader who was in exile. This was considered by the government as a move to disturb the peace and the station was shut down by the military.
He organised rallies in the capital demanding that the government lift the suspension of the channel.
During a rally on January 31, 2009, Rajoelina gathered a crowd of 30,000 people and announced that he would be in charge of the country’s affairs, alleging that the government had failed to take responsibility.
The move, however, discredited his democratic claims and his followers shrunk. His subsequent rallies commanded crowds of between 3,000 to 5,000 people.
On February 3, the Ministry of Democratic Affairs removed Rajoelina as the Mayor of the capital and appointed a special delegation to head Antananarivo.
He was later appointed as President of the High Transitional Authority by a military council and served at the capacity until 2014.
Rajoelina vied for presidency in 2018 in an election that featured 36 presidential candidates including former President Ravalomanana who had been convicted in 2010.
He emerged vicotirous in the first round garnering 39 per cent of the votes while Ravalomanana came second with 35 per cent of the votes.
The two faced off in a re-run and Rajoelina won the election with over 55 per cent of the votes. He was inaugurated as president of Madagascar on January 19, 2019.
On July 22, 2021, Reuters reported that the police in Madagascar had foiled an assassination attempt of President Rajoelina.
Police have have since arrested six individuals including a foreign national in connection with the assassination attempt. The authorities say that the arrests followed months of investigations.
“According to the evidence in our possession, these individuals had devised a plan for the elimination and neutralisation of a number of people including the head of state,” the attorney general was quoted by Reuters as saying.