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To carry out its objective of reunification of the Imerina, Andrianampoinimerina applies a strategy as singular as it is original. And this, in order to stimulate the warrior qualities of his men, but also to win the hearts of his enemies. No one has ever doubted his rigorous good sense, his great sense of judgment, his profound sense of justice and humanity.
His first tactic consists in highlighting the fact that he was born on the first day of the moon of Alahamady of the year 1745 (), one day considered as violent. To be violent, the fate of Imboasalama is none the less loaded with happy augurs who announce his future greatness, like the great rulers who preceded him, such as Ralambo and Andriamasinavalona.
His people welcome him, moreover, when he is placed on the throne of Ambohimanga, especially as he refers to the latter’s words. “I am what Andriamasinavalona has promised you, I am the descendant endowed with horns, I am the master of the Imerina, I am the king-of-the-heart of Merina” (Andrina am-poin’ny Merina) .
His faith in his good fortune is based, moreover, on the order of succession established by his grandfather Andriambelomasina to prove that he is not a usurper. The great sovereign announced to his children before the Great of the kingdom that Andrianjafy, his eldest son, “will reign first”; Will succeed him Imboasalama, “the son of your sister”.
We know how the story ends. Pushed by his wife, Andrianjafy wants to modify this decision by appointing as successor his own son; Dethroned, he must flee and his nephew reigns before the hour.
Andrianampoinimerina also practices “lokanady”, a kind of motivation to incite his men to fight to conquer. This incentive, in fact, is addressed much more to their spouses than to the soldiers themselves.
Indeed, if their husbands show bravery in battle, apart from the material advantages obtained, they are placed on a pedestal in society. While the wives of the “bad soldiers” are pointed at and reduced to the rank of simple maidservants. This excites the pride of these ladies, who do not fail to use cuddles and threats of separation to awaken the warlike spirit of their men.
The great monarch, however, tolerates a “moment of cowardice”
– which somewhere amounts to treason – if the soldier catches up with feats. Otherwise, he decides, “he loses wife and children who come back to me.”
In all his expeditions, Andrianampoinimerina was accompanied by idols of the kingdom for the obvious purpose of victory, but also because he was preoccupied before any attack to seize the sacred fetishes of his enemies who “give them power and confidence in their Invincibility “. If it is a question of idols with happy virtues, he makes them his and ensures that they are well preserved and well respected. If not, he gives the order to destroy them.
He showed great magnanimity and gave a good treatment to the kites and
Lords who accept him at first as a sovereign, keeping them at the head of their fiefs with all the advantages that this entails. Moreover, he makes them “the children of Ambohimanga with all the honors that this entails”.
If the lord refuses to be “his child”, he engages in the battle and after the victory he concludes by marrying either the wife or daughter of the vanquished and places her at the direction of the fief. This explains the “Twelve Hills to the Twelve Women”. And if these new spouses give him descendants, they inherit the fief. In the contrary case, he undertakes to appoint a lord among his courtiers.
Sometimes the family and the people of the vanquished kings reluctantly accepted him as king and to avoid any impulse of insurrection, Andrianampoinimerina established settlers-soldiers from the Avaradrano, whom he called the “Voromahery”. It is the case for Ambohibeloma in the Mandiavato where it installs 800 men, the Valonjatolahy. It is the same in Ambohitrambo among the Tsimiamboholahy.