MPLA Gives Opposition a Beating

As Angola prepares for next year’s general election, reports are already emerging of acts of political violence.

Representatives of opposition parties attempting to scrutinize the electoral registration process have alleged they were subjected to intimidation and violence in the village of Luremo, in the northeastern province of Lunda Norte.

“Village chief Ngana Mussanga, who is an MPLA member, turned up with 20 young men wielding staves. They slapped my face, and then I was grabbed, thrown to the ground where they held me down by my hands and feet while the chief beat me around the head, and the back.”

The victim, UNITA member Pedro Muiungulenu Zambicuari, says the incident took place on September 8. The UNITA man had been assigned to check the electoral registration process.

“It was barely 8.30 in the morning when the village chief first showed up. He asked my name and where I was from. I replied that I am an Angolan citizen,” said Zambicuari. “Then the chief, Ngana Mussanga, said the MPLA didn’t want any opposition here (in Luremo) and he warned me to take my things and get out. I explained I was there to scrutinize the electoral register, not to play politics.”
Zambicuari tried to report the incident to the Electoral Registration Mobile Brigade in the local administrative offices. He alleges he was told by the chief of staff of Luremo’s administration “you have no business scrutinizing the electoral register – go scrutinize the UNITA leadership, and to leave Luremo right away.”

The UNITA officer insisted on staying. Upon his return to his accommodation, he was accosted and assaulted by the village chief. He managed to get away amid a hail of stones thrown in his direction and had to take refuge at the police station where the Chief again turned up to threaten to kill him, before colleagues came to his rescue.

The opposition parties (UNITA, CASA-CE e PRS) suspended their electoral registration scrutiny yesterday as a protest against the intimidation and violence shown to their members.