Another Day in Court

Across the street, a police camera van monitors the movements outside the courthouse. The trial of the 17 activists charged with plotting a rebellion and attempting to assassinate the president by discussing literature on nonviolence, has attracted many other activists who want to express their support for the defendants. There is also another element of sophistication in this trial. The Military Intelligence and Security Service of the Angolan Armed Forces has deployed 80 officers to the trial. Half of them pose as either unknown relatives of the defendants or law students to fill the courtroom and, thus, enable the police to keep the unwanted activists, diplomats, observers and public away, with the excuse of the courtroom lacking space. The other half is deployed in the vicinity. Each defendant has the right to have two relatives in the courtroom, to whom the police issue credentials. No credentials no entry. That is […]

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Youth Activists Charged with Rebellion and Coup Plotting

The Angolan activist Rafael Marques told Lusa (Portuguese News Agency) this week that the charge of “rebellion” against the youths who have been detained in Luanda is a sign of desperation on the part of the Angolan authorities. “The charges did not surprise me because anything can be expected from a regime is so unpredictable and erratic,” said Mr Marques, who met the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield this week in Washington. “This charge shows that the authorities are increasingly desperate”, he said. The Angolan public prosecutor’s office charged 17 youth activists with preparing to rebel and to overthrow the president of the republic by attending workshops on barricading the streets and civil disobedience. According to the charges, which Lusa had access to, “the accused were planning to overthrow the legitimate bodies of sovereignty, create what they called a National Salvation Government and to write […]

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Kenyan and Angolan Journalists Awarded Prize for Integrity

Two African journalists known for exposing corruption in their respective countries of Kenya and Angola have been named the joint recipients of the 2015 Allard Prize for International Integrity. The Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia presented John Githongo and Rafael Marques de Morais with the Allard Prize at a special ceremony last night. The $100,000 prize is one of the world’s largest awards recognizing efforts to combat corruption and to promote human rights. As joint recipients, Mr. Githongo and Mr. Marques de Morais were each awarded $50,000 for their brave efforts in protecting human rights and fighting corruption. “It is a singular honour and a humbling experience to be selected for the Allard Prize,” says Mr. Githongo. “This recognition serves as an encouragement and as an important recognition that there is across the world a partnership between all people who care about human […]

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Attempts at Peaceful Protests are Now “Undemocratic” in Angola

The families of Angolan political prisoners are appealing against the decision of the Luanda Provincial Governor, Graciano Domingos, banning the protest and vigil set for the 26 of September.   Graciano Domingos argued that the gathering would be undemocratic. This is yet another episode in the famous case of the young activists who were arrested last June on politically motivated charges that they were plotting a coup against President Dos Santos. The youth had assembled at a book club reading, and were discussing materials on non-violent strategies against repression when they were detained. “We would like to make it known that the case is still going through the appropriate  legal procedures; therefore, we need to wait patiently for the final decision on the basis of the law, and for the defence of the accused on the basis of their constitutional rights,” the governor said. The law permits 90 days of preventive […]

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Sharks or Crocodiles: How to Get Rid of an Activist in Angola

Since June 20, much has been said and written about the detained Angolan book club activists, accused of attempting to bring about a coup d’état.  State officials, including Attorney-General Joao Maria de Sousa and Interior Minister Angelo Tavares, have emphasised In their statements to the media that they will zealously uphold the law, make arrests or take any and all other appropriate action against those who conspire to overthrow President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s government. But their treatment of another activist, 28 year-old Mario Faustino, detained since May 27, exposes the shambolic nature of the Angolan Justice system. In an exclusive interview for Maka Angola, from his prison cell in the National Police provincial headquarters in Luanda, Mr Faustino alleges that when he was detained, he was subjected to torture at a military installation, carried out in person by a Brigadier in the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA).  According to the […]

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Angolan Authorities Detain Youth Protesters as “Coup Plotters”

For the Angolan authorities, the very thought of an Angola without President José Eduardo dos Santos at its helm, let alone any protest against his rule, continues to be a matter of crime and punishment. President dos Santos has been in power for 36 years and wants to be celebrated as the architect of peace and guarantor of stability, though opponents say he is ruining the country. On Wednesday the attorney general of the Republic, Army General João Maria de Sousa, confirmed the detention of 15 youths for allegedly preparing acts of collective disobedience to overthrow the government, and unseat president Dos Santos. “These acts constitute crimes against the security of the state, as a crime of rebellion. As such, the competent bodies of the state must take action to avert the worst”, General João Maria de Sousa told the press. Several youths have been undergoing interrogation sessions since Monday […]

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Crashing Oil Prices, Propaganda and the Angolan Recipe for Disaster

Throughout the Angolan capital, Luanda, strategically located billboards announce a country being happily stewarded through development by the government. “Building a prosperous Angola based on solidarity”, is the boastful slogan across all ads celebrating the government’s achievements in all spheres of life. One such billboard celebrates “more electricity, more development”, in spite of the regular power outages. Such a massive propaganda exercise outside the electoral period has a precedent only in the early 1970s, when the Portuguese colonial authorities desperately tried to sell the idea that their rule was making people very happy, and independence could ruin all such great achievements. Nonetheless, this propaganda is in full swing at a time when the steady drop in the oil price on international markets could be good news for the Angolan people and a bad omen for their rulers. As a major countermeasure, last December the presidency decreed a 20 percent rise […]

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Generals demand $1.2 million damages and jail for Rafael Marques

The head of the Intelligence Bureau at the Presidency, General  Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias “Kopelipa,” six other Angolan generals and the mining company Sociedade Mineira do Cuango (SMC) are jointly demanding damages of US$1.2 million from Rafael Marques de Morais, the journalist whom they have accused of defamation. Marques de Morais went to the Luanda Provincial Court on Tuesday morning to sign the formal acknowledgement of the charges against him. The trial date will be set in the coming weeks. The generals’ complaint of criminal libel is solely based on the public prosecutor’s decision to set aside a complaint that Marques de Morais brought against the same group of generals in 2011 on the grounds of alleged crimes against humanity committed in the diamond-producing Lunda Norte province. In addition to Kopelipa, the generals who brought the complaint are Carlos Alberto Hendrick Vaal da Silva, Adriano Makevela Mackenzie, João Baptista de […]

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Isabel dos Santos’ Campaign, her Father, George Soros and Me

Isabel dos Santos Portuguese communication consultants, led by Luís Paixão Martins, have for several months been trying to wage a campaign against the author of this article. They have presented no evidence to disprove what I have revealed about the president’s daughter business dealings, particularly acts of corruption by her father. Attempted defamation   Instead, so desperate are they to find a way of attacking me, the author of Maka Angola,  that they have tried to find impropriety in his former links to the NY-based Open Society Institute (OSI), funded by the billionaire philanthropist George Soros. The same ruse has already been attempted without success by the Angolan regime’s own propaganda machine. Nevertheless, the deviousness with which the Portuguese public relations consultant took up this theme is in itself revealing, though more for the crass propaganda campaign than by its content. At the same time, the scheme offers an opportunity […]

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Alternating Demonstrations: Political Protest and the Government’s Response in Angola

In March 2011, at the height of the North African street protests, an anonymous letter went viral. It called for a mass demonstration in Luanda’s Independence Square, in the capital of Angola, on March 7, 2011. At this symbolic demonstration, the police arrested all seventeen individuals who attended, including three journalists and their driver who were there to cover the event. The ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) politburo accused Western intelligence services, as well as pressured groups in Portugal, Italy, France, Belgium, Great Britain, and Germany, of disseminating the online letter that demanded an end to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s thirty-two year rule. In an anticipated counter-offensive, the MPLA held pro-dos Santos demonstrations in several parts of the country on March 5, 2011, at a staggering cost of over $20 million from the party coffers. State media propaganda claimed that, in Luanda alone, the march […]

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