‘Operation Thunderclap’: At Least Five Dead in Separatist Attack on Angolan Prison

An armed attack on a prison in the north-eastern Angolan province of Lunda-Sul which resulted in the deaths of at least five people, has been blamed on a misguided attempt to free a self-styled independence leader. Responsibility for the attack is said to lie with a man calling himself “Commander Thunderclap” (*see below) who says it is the opening salvo in a liberation war for the independence of the Lundas.  The diamond-rich region comprises twin provinces – North Lunda (Norte) and South Lunda (Sul), largely inhabited by descendants of the Tchokwe nation.  It is no stranger to separatism.  Local communities have long displayed discontent with Angola’s central government.  While politicians, generals and foreign interests have carved out immense fortunes over decades, the lot of local people has not improved since colonial times, leading to simmering resentment and a growing appetite for self-rule.  Zero tolerance for separatism The Angolan authorities are […]

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Unveiling Corruption Is Indeed Donkey Work

A Forbes article once obliged Isabel dos Santos by repeating her claim that she was Africa’s richest woman: a self-made billionaire who said she began her mercurial business career by selling eggs in the street on her way to school.  Perhaps she did sell eggs, once upon a time though knowing the origins of her later seed capital does make you wonder who it was that owned the hens.  And I can guarantee there was no egg selling in the streets around Brook Green, London when the daughter of Angola’s then President was attending the US$ 15,000 a year fee-paying St. Paul’s Girls School.   Isabel has an affinity for the British capital which is a favoured destination for the world’s money launderers. With her husband Sindiko Dokolo, she owns (via a shell company) at least one multi-million-dollar property in an exclusive gated community in the Royal Borough of Kensington […]

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Angola’s San Community under Threat from Burning Forests

In many parts of Angola the end of the cooler, dry season known as ‘cacimbo’ is traditionally the right time for burning brush. Fire clears the land ready for planting ahead of the rainy season, produces the charcoal on which many families still depend for their cooking fuel, and sends wildlife into the path of hunters. But unregulated and uncontrolled, this practise is one of the major factors leading to widespread deforestation in the most remote southeastern corner of Angola, where hundreds of kilometres of virgin forest are on fire, threatening the very existence of the San people. The San, dubbed “Bushmen” by the European colonizers of the region, are the descendants of some of the most ancient peoples on Earth. Their forefathers have roamed the southern African forests for tens of thousands of years. To this day the San communities follow their ancestors’ tradition of living in harmony with […]

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NO MAGIC – ANGOLA’S BANKING SYSTEM IS JUST SMOKE AND MIRRORS

What happened to the US $2 billion injection of funds from Angola’s central bank (BNA) in 2014 that was supposed to refinance the Banco Económico (BE) as it emerged from the ashes of the failed Banco Espírito Santos (BESA)? Surely José de Lima Massano must have some idea? He was Governor of the Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA) then and is again now. Did he keep track of where the money went? Because the BE is failing again and he seems all too ready to throw good money after bad: ordering majority shareholder Sonangol to inject a further US $1.2 billion of public money into it. So who does this bailout benefit? Mr. Massano is the master magician tasked by President João Lourenço with restoring good governance to the Angolan banking system. Is he not up to the job? Or is he actively sabotaging it? According to Diamantino de Azevedo, […]

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Défenseurs de la Démocratie de 52 Pays Africains Écrivent une Lettre au Chef de L’État Érythréen

Plus de 100 défenseurs de la démocratie de 52 pays africains, dont le lauréat du prix Nobel Wole Soyinka, écrivent une lettre au chef de l’État érythréen. Luanda le 10 Juin 2019—-DES ÉCRIVAINS, DES JOURNALISTES, DES ACADÉMICIENS, DES MILITANTS DES DROITS HUMAINS ET DES FIGURES DE LA SOCIETE CIVILE DE 52 PAYS AFRICAINS DEMANDENT À RENDRE VISITE À LEURS COLLÈGUES INCARCÉRÉS EN ÉRYTHRÉE. Cent (100) éminents défenseurs de la démocratie venant de 52 pays d’Afrique, y compris le lauréat du prix Nobel Wole Soyinka, le romancier, journaliste, poète et universitaire de renom Alain Mabanckou et le chanteur et député d’opposition ougandais Bobi Wine, ont saisi l’occasion de la Journée de l’Afrique, le 25 mai 2019, pour écrire une lettre ouverte au président érythréen Isaias Aferwerki. Ele a été publiée le 10 juin 2019. Ils ont demandé au chef de l’État la possibilité de rendre visite à leurs collègues incarcérés en […]

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Press Release: African Activists Sign Letter to Eritrean President

Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka joins over 100 African activists and academics from 52 of 54 African countries, including Ugandan musician and opposition MP Bobi Wine, award winning Kenyan anti-corruption activist John Githongo, Egyptian actor Amr Waked, award winning human rights lawyer Alice Nkom, novelist Alain Mabanckou, award winning investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas in signing a letter to Eritrean head of state. DEAR MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE WELCOME US TO ERITREA AFRICAN DEMOCRACY ADVOCATES, JOURNALISTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS ASK TO VISIT THEIR INCARCERATED COLLEAGUES IN ERITREA. One hundred (100) leading African journalists, democracy and human rights advocates took the opportunity on Africa Day – May 25th 2019 to write an open letter to Eritrea’s President Isaias Aferwerki. It is released today Monday 10th June 2019. They requested the head of state an opportunity to visit their colleagues incarcerated in Eritrea. In a message of solidarity with all the people […]

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Open Letter to the Eritrean Head of State

Your Excellency, President Isaias Aferwerki: We write to convey our most sincere congratulations upon your country’s normalization of diplomatic relations with Ethiopia. This is a development much appreciated by all Africans of goodwill. We write to you in our capacity as citizens of Africa to pledge our unequivocal solidarity with all the people of Eritrea. This includes the many Eritreans we see enduring all manner of risk and suffering in search of a better life outside their homeland. We acknowledge that we too hail from nations with varying governance and developmental challenges.  We write to you, in the spirit of Pan-African solidarity, to seek common solutions to our shared problems. Africa’s many disparate nation states have undergone significant and diverse changes over the course of the last two decades.   [Today, many more Africans live in freedom than under repression].  Importantly, those African countries that have made the most progress – […]

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Vincent Miclet’s Angolan (Mis)Adventures

When Le Monde profiled the African-born businessman Vincent Miclet in November 2018, it called him the “Gatsby” of Francophone Africa. The inference was clear: opulence and decadence combined in a single name. Gatsby was the fatally-flawed eponymous character of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, whose fabulous wealth was obtained through mysterious, possibly illegal, means and whose machinations led to his downfall. Vincent Miclet (on the main foto) was presented as somewhat exotic: a slick, fifty-something millionaire playboy, born and educated to Baccalaureate level in Africa, his business acumen, in his own words, “self-taught”. In a self-serving interview with Le Monde, Miclet hoped to portray himself as a business genius cheated by Angola’s corrupt Generals. Publication ensured numerous commentators would take a closer look. The French businessman did not respond the questionnaire . This is the first in a series of investigations by Maka Angola. BUDDIES AND BRIBES According to Liberation, Miclet […]

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They called me crazy!

They called me crazy! They also branded me “frustrated”, “anti-patriotic”, “a CIA agent”, “a sell-out”, and “a traitor”. I endured endless political harassment and countless run-ins with the police. I had to cope with smear campaigns, economic deprivation and social isolation. I was put on trial for exposing their human rights abuse and corruption. Who are “they”?  “They” are the members of the Dos Santos Administration:  the individuals who were the beneficiaries of, and accomplices in, then-President José Eduardo dos Santos’s regime.  They’re the ones who embodied the institutionalized corruption and the state capture of the economy, the repression and the fear that pervaded Angola during the 38 years Dos Santos held power. Then in September 2017, Dos Santos’s chosen successor João Lourenço was elected President and decided that the stench of corruption was too much to bear. The result is that a number of high-profile and high-ranking malcreants within […]

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An Anguished Cry for Justice in Angola

The family of a man tortured to death by Angolan police have petitioned President João Lourenço for justice.  As reported by Maka Angola, João Alfredo Dala was beaten and mutilated during a 15-hour police interrogation as part of an investigation into the alleged kidnapping of an elderly pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Angola.   Evidence supplied to Maka Angola suggested that the pastor in question, Daniel Cem, had staged his own kidnapping as a form of revenge on the Church hierarchy after being sacked from his administrative role and losing his status and privileges.   Pastor Cem told officers investigating the case that the kidnappers bundled him into a truck he recognized as belonging to a member of his congregation, João Dala.     Mr Dala was taken in for questioning and a number of the officers from Angola’s Criminal Investigation Service (Serviço de Investigação Criminal – SIC) recorded the interrogation […]

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