Rememberance of the Activist Shot Dead by the Presidential Guard

Your Excellency, the president of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos,

By 23 November 2015, my brother Ganga will have been dead for two years. Your presidential security unit killed my brother. The National Police issued a statement the next day, in defense of my brother’s killer that read as follows:

“The Police General Command would like also to inform that in the early hours of the [November] 23 [2013] , around 01.30, here was a violation of the presidential security cordon, at Rua do Povo, by eight elements of  CASA-CE, who were  unlawfully posting subversive propaganda against the state and it’s leaders, the same having been promptly neutralized by a patrol unit from the presidential palace guards, resulting in their detention.

“Meantime, during the transfer of this group to the Presidential Security Unit, to be presented to the officer in charge, who would have forwarded them to the National Police, one of the group, named Manuel Hilberto de Carvalho Ganga, urged on by his colleagues, tried to flee, by jumping from the car. In turn, a member of the unit fired a shot which, sadly, hit him, causing his eventual death at Maria Pia/Josina Machel hospital, despite the prompt medical assistance he was given.”

This account is not true. Ganga was not putting up posters and he did not flee. The soldier who fired the shot is currently on trial. We ought to let the legal process take its course.

The posters were being put on walls at Coqueiro’s Stadium which is not at the Rua do Povo. They were asking for justice for the Cassule and Kamulingue case. The writing on the posters, which had images of the deceased, was simple, “Angolan people, justice now” and “Who is the true murderer?”

What are more significant, though, are the entities who command the individual who pulled the trigger. Who ordered the soldier to shoot? Who, ultimately, is politically responsible for the act?

Could it be that you, your Excellency, are guided by policies that have blood on their hands? Who ordered the Police General Command to mislead the nation so blatantly and to try and prevent us from carrying out my brother’s funeral?

Some are shot in the back, others are thrown to the crocodiles, and others are arbitrarily detained and tortured in prison. What kind of state do we have?

By 22 November 2015, it will have been two years since my brother Ganga died. My parents are suffering; the state does not care about them. A family loses a breadwinner, and nothing is done to mitigate the situation. The Angolan people need bread and peace. Your Excellency, you have not done anything for the parents of someone your guards killed. The nation owes them so much.

This being 23 November 2015, it is time for you, your Excellency, to uphold the rule of law.

Ganga died after being shot in the back. The Presidential Guard should not kill perceived suspects by shooting them in the back. The Presidential Guard should only react adequately and proportionately;  and in legitimate self-defense. Where is the proportionality? Where is the legitimate self-defense? Even if Ganga had fled, which he did, the shots should have been aimed at his legs. Who has been teaching the soldiers to operate in this way? Who is finally responsible for this kind of behavior?

It has been said that Ganga was on the perimeter wall of the presidential palace. That is not the case: he was near Coqueiro Stadium. We are hearing so many contradicting statements.

Your Excellency, I will say it once again.

Ganga was shot in the back; he was defenseless.  Others were thrown to the crocodiles; others were detained and tortured. How far will this kind of repression go? As the sister of Ganga I want justice — public justice, according to the law. We demand that, as the Commander-in-Chief, you give orders for the security forces to behave in accordance to the law and the democratic principles. After all, you are ultimately responsible for their acts.

He who gives general instructions, as well as tactical orders is as answerable for them as those who carry them out.  This doctrine has been spelled out by the terms of the Nuremberg Trial, by the legal terms of the International Criminal Court, and by the trial of Mubarak.

Your Excellency, as President of the Republic, you are responsible for these deaths.

You certainly would not want to be put on trial one day. The Angolan judicial system cannot just be the strong arm of the Executive; the Angolan judicial system must protect the weak. You should be aware that we are living through a phase of abuses, deaths, arbitrary imprisonments, and having to depend on an unreliable judicial system. All these factors will hold back the Angolan nation and prevent you from having a place in history as a man of progress and peace.

Do you, your Excellency, want to remembered in history within the gallery of tyrants? Or would you rather be remembered as a man of peace?

What I want is justice. Justice should be done to honor my brother Ganga’s death.