War Veterans Protest in Menongue

Four thousand Angolan war veterans took to the streets of the city of the south-eastern city of Menongue, Kuando-Kubango province, on Saturday, March 31, in protest at delays in the payment of their pensions. The demonstrators eventually received the money owed to them, but only after two were injured in a confrontation with police and firemen. According to Maka Angola’s sources in the city, the veterans of the former liberation army and government defense forces, FAPLA (People’s Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola), marched down Rua 1º de Maio to the local branch of the Banco de Poupança e Crédito in order to demand their pension arrears. The marchers gave no prior notice to the local authorities. The authorities summoned the police who failed to stop the demonstration, and in turn called on the fire brigade to use water to disperse the protesters as they attempted to break into […]

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The U.N. and Ban ki-Moon’s Propaganda in Angola

Article by guest blogger Rob Pires: Angola is a country that works hard to portray the right image abroad. As we have read on this very website, millions of dollars are being spent on television advertising campaigns and the government really doesn’t like it when foreign media criticise its failings or points out its faults. Thus any high level visit to the country is always a double-edged sword for Angola. On the one-hand they will receive the endorsement and diplomatic niceties from their visitor, which they can use to fill up the airtime and column inches of the state media. But at the same time the foreign media have an excuse – and an expense account – to visit and if they are halfway decent, will be scrutinising closely. And so it was with the visit of United Nations (U.N.) Secretary General Ban ki-Moon, which saw plenty of photographed handshakes […]

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Understanding President Dos Santos Rule and the Gaming of His Succession

The past year witnessed a critical shift in Angolan politics with regular youth-led public protests calling for the President’s resignation. Two factors made the outcry for Dos Santos to step down the main challenge to both the conventional political discourse and public perceptions of power: the 2010 Constitution and the popular uprisings in North Africa. This paper provides a brief narrative of the power struggles between the President and his own party, since the establishment of a multiparty system in 1991. It addresses the deployment of constitutional coups, patronage and legal measures to address such internal rifts, as well as the consequences that reverberate today. The Opportunity The 2008 legislative elections offered President Dos Santos the most legitimate, ambitious and unique opportunity to extend his grip on power, as well as to reform the state and its political economy. His ruling party, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola […]

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Rapper MCK in the Banana Republic

Eight years ago, a brutal murder committed by members of President José Eduardo dos Santos’ praetorian guard served to bring an Angolan rapper known as MCK into the political limelight at the young age of 22. On November 26, 2003, soldiers from the Presidential Guard Unit (UGP) tied up and dragged a man called Arsénio Sebastião “Cherokee”, into the sea at Mussulo quay in Luanda. They drowned him, ignoring the pleas for mercy from the crowd gathered at the scene. What crime could Cherokee possibly have committed to deserve such a public, summary execution? The soldiers heard Cherokee humming “A Téknika, as Kausas e as Konsequências” (Techniques, Causes and Consequences), by MCK, which was a scathing criticism of the Dos Santos government. The guards killed Cherokee on the spot as a lesson to everyone. MCK’s album was an improvised, underground production, distributed by street vendors. Minivan drivers, who transport the […]

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The Business Dealings of the Attorney General

His Excellency President of Republic Hon. José Eduardo dos Santos Excellency, As an Angolan citizen, who has been monitoring the acts of your government, I write to you to express my deepest concern with the institutional silence over the recent public denunciation of the attorney general’s co-ownership of, and managerial duties in the private company Imexco. Excellency, I would like, first and foremost, to explain the rationale for bringing this case to your direct attention. According to current legislation, the Attorney General’s Office is subordinate to the President of the Republic, as Head of State (…).” The same law establishes that the President of the Republic gives direct instructions to the attorney general, which must be complied with. Excellency, You have insisted, throughout the years, on the need for the authorities to stem corruption and the abuse of power by public office holders, and for public office holders to act […]

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