Bonfire for Censored Angolan Newspaper

This weekend’s edition of the weekly newspaper Semanário Angolense ended up in a bonfire. Last Saturday morning, Media Investe, the company that owns the Angolan weekly Semanário Angolense, decided to censor the edition, of October 27, because it included an almost full version of the speech of the National Union’s for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) leader, Isaías Samakuva, on the State of the Nation.

Journalists from Semanário Angolense told Maka Angola that Media Investe, a company controlled by high-ranking officers of the State Security and Intelligence Services (SINSE), ordered the burning of the copies of the newspaper that had already been printed. Maka Angola obtained a digital copy of the censored newspaper edition, which includes the speech of Samakuva on pages 8, 9 and 10. The October 23 speech of the leader of the main opposition party, was in response to president Dos Santos’ refusal to address the inaugural session of parliament, as constitutionally required. Instead, Dos Santos ordered that copies of his inaugural speech, of September 26, be delivered to the members of parliament. The opposition labeled this action as unconstitutional and several analysts criticized it as an act of arrogance and disrespect towards the presidential office, the parliament and the country.

Angola went to the polls on August 31, and president dos Santos and his party, the People’s Movemento for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), claimed nearly 72 percent of the votes. The recent elections tested a new system enshrined in the 2010 Constitution in which the President of the Republic is not elected by means of direct popular election or by Parliament. Mr. Dos Santos won the presidency by being the first name on the closed list of MPLA. Critics and constitutionalists have been arguing that this system “conflates the elective roles of two independent sovereign bodies: the Presidency and Parliament.”

In order to give its readers access to full information, Maka Angola distributes here the censored edition of Semanário Angolense and the full version of Isaías Samakuva’s speech (in Portuguese only).