General Paihama: the Regimes Firebrand
By Nelson Sul d’Angola
As a member of the MPLA’s Political Bureau, General Kundi Paihama, presided over an electoral rally held in the Ombaka National Stadium in the province of Benguela on August 4.
Since the first multi-party elections were held in 1992, it has always been General Paihama’s role to coordinate the MPLA’s election campaign in Benguela, due particularly to his inflammatory rhetoric.
General Paihama, who is the minister for Former Combatants and War Veterans, incited an audience of over 30,000 people. He employed the type of language used in the civil war, and that of a constructive MPLA in contrast to a destructive UNITA.
In his speech, the general made reference to the incident which took place last Friday, and which culminated in acts of physical violence by UNITA militants against the MPLA provincial delegate for Education, in a dispute over the placement of campaign banners and posters. As the National Police intervened, officers beat a UNITA delegate and several militants, and fired shots at two others, who escaped uninjured. The National Police arrested four members of UNITA, who remain in jail.
Referring to the case, the minister stated categorically that those who tried to fight against the MPLA or its president “will be wiped out.”
Inspired, the member of the MPLA’s Political Bureau recalled the current Syrian revolution against the dictatorial regime of Bashar Al-Assad. He appealed to his own party’s militants to redouble their efforts in defending the MPLA and the President, José Eduardo dos Santos. The Angolan dictator has been in power for almost 33 years, never having been elected by the people.
The general also railed against independent information in circulation on social networks like Facebook, exposing cases of corruption by high-ranking MPLA officials, including Kundi Paihama himself. One of those cases, previously exposed by Maka Angola, involves the luxurious mansion of General Paihama in the city of Lubango, Huíla province, with an estimate cost of US $10 million.
For the general, these accusations are merely attempts by envious individuals and people of bad faith, seeking to stall the country’s development under the stewardship, obviously, of president José Eduardo dos Santos and the MPLA.
Given the tense pre-electoral climate currently felt in Benguela and other parts of the country, and the episodes of violence that have already occurred, it is irresponsible for any party leader to make public statements that do not, unequivocally, condemn acts of violence. However, the inflammatory tone of General Paihama and his declarations about “wiping out” UNITA, only contribute to worsen the existing tension, thus amounting to incitement to violence which constitutes a violation of the Electoral Code of Conduct.