Unmasking the MPLA’s Very Own Apostle

Angolans witness every day that rewards flow to those who are faithful to the ruling party, the MPLA. Yet many in this nominally Christian nation might have hoped that men of the cloth would be immune to the lure of political corruption. Apparently not so. How else to explain Reverend Antunes Huambo’s recent good fortune? One day he happens to mention during a TV debate that Angola’s President, José Eduardo dos Santos should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Within days, the MPLA Governor for Luanda, General Higino Carneiro, appoints Reverend Huambo to the position of Administrator of the Urban District of the University City. Reverend Huambo’s devotion to the MPLA, which has held power for the past 41 years, can be assessed from remarks he made in December: “The red in the MPLA flag symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ”. And this: “The MPLA is the party blessed […]

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Nigeria and Angola Take Two Extreme Approaches to Corruption

In response to the growing public demand and to end the proliferation of protests against corruption in Angola, in 2009, President José Eduardo dos Santos announced his new policy of “zero tolerance” of corruption. More than 2200 days have passed since his announcement and not one major corrupt figure has been arrested. From his actions, it is clear that he prefers to arrest and punish those who speak out against uncontrolled corruption rather than those who are actually guilty of corruption. Angola and Nigeria are the two largest producers of oil on the African continent; both countries, by all accounts, are the most corrupt in Africa. Both Angola and Nigeria are suffering because of the dramatic drop in the price of oil. The different ways both countries are trying to overcome their difficulties, and solve the problem of the shortage of money, presents a fascinating contrast. Angola’s strategy is to […]

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After Dos Santos: More of the Same?

  In Angola’s only open and free election in 1992, the question on the minds of most voters was: Should I vote for the “Killers” or the “Thieves?” The former rebel movement UNITA of today bears no resemblance to the killers of old, but the ruling MPLA has taken stealing to a new and unprecedented level. Once MPLA leaders got a green light and carte blanches from their boss that they could steal with impunity, they plundered the national treasury without fear of punishment. President José Eduardo dos Santos made a famous speech in 2009 in which he said that he would have “zero tolerance for corruption!” The fact that no senior MPLA leader has been prosecuted suggests that either dos Santos’ campaign was successful in shutting down crime altogether or he has an acute case of myopia and is not able to see anything below his nose. The fact that […]

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Feeding Hungry People with More Weapons

In his recent address to the nation, President Dos Santos conveyed the idea that the Angolan Armed Forces and the National Police must produce their own food and uniforms to tackle the current economic crisis. He made no mention of a more practical solution. One obvious way to solve this problem is to purchase less military equipment. In the end it comes down to a question of priorities and values.  For many years Angola (in peacetime) has spent more money on military equipment than any other country in sub-Saharan Africa. Also, one has to question why Angola needs to maintain an army of 100,000 soldiers and not, for example, 50,000 or 25,000? Under no imminent military threat near or far, the President has prioritized spending on military equipment over feeding and clothing his soldiers and police.  In some African countries this has been a recipe for a coup! It is important […]

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Angolan Police Holds Six Children Aged Seven to 13 in Jail

Six children have been in detention since Thursday at the Luanda Provincial Criminal Investigation Directorate (DPIC), accused of setting alight a Toyota Corolla car. All of those detained are boys under 13 years old. Police from the Sambizanga Division seized them without warrant at 5h00 am on  June 18 in Ngola Kiluange district. Police say they were acting on a complaint by the supposed owner of the car, who allegedly had credible evidence but who “up to now has not been able to present it to DPIC”. Family members of the detained boys say that “the owner of the car in question was in the patrol car pointing out the houses to the police”. “The same man was in the police car when they came to get my son at 5am. It was he who showed them,” said António Domingos, whose seven-year-old son Costa Domingos was the youngest of those […]

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