Misery and Magic Fuel Mayhem in Cafunfo

‘MISERY AND MAGIC FUEL MAYHEM IN CAFUNFO’: A new book from Angolan journalist and human rights defender Rafael Marques reveals why a supposedly ‘peaceful protest’ in a diamond-rich but dirt-poor north-eastern town erupted into bloody violence and shocked the nation. (Read full book here.)  Amid public outrage, there were claims that the security forces had used excessive force against peaceful demonstrators – but the truth lay elsewhere. “Within a day of the news of terrible bloodshed during a protest march in the diamond-mining town of Cafunfo, some people had already drawn conclusions,” says Rafael Marques.  “It took me months of investigation to get to the truth.” The undisputable facts were these:  when participants in a banned march clashed with security forces in Cafunfo on January 30th, 2021, at least a dozen people were killed and many more were injured.  Two members of the security forces were lucky to survive a […]

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Angolan Minister Faces Investigation over Real Estate Deal

Angola’s Attorney-General has been asked to open an immediate criminal investigation into a multi-million-dollar real estate deal involving the Angolan Transport Minister and a close friend.  It is alleged the deal not only violated the Law on Public Probity but may also have involved a conspiracy to defraud the government of tens of millions of dollars.  Maka Angola‘s Rafael Marques reports on a burgeoning scandal. In September 2021, the office of the President of Angola issued Decree 159/21 authorizing the purchase of two privately-owned buildings (the Welwitschia Business Centre and the Chicala) in the capital, Luanda, at a total cost of 114 million US dollars to provide office space for the Ministry of Transport and a Regulatory Agency.  A subsequent investigation by Rafael Marques of Maka Angola, has reported to the Attorney-General’s Office allegations that a)  the buildings, which include luxury penthouse residential space, were not fit for the purpose […]

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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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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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Angola’s J-Lo Talks the Talk, Doesn’t Walk the Walk

On being sworn in as President of Angola last September, João Lourenço vowed he would crack down on the rampant corruption that flourished under his predecessor, José Eduardo dos Santos. He has, indeed, taken some steps towards honouring that promise. But in reality, those in power continue to benefit from self-awarded perks, favouritism and influence peddling while ignoring conflicts of interest. But is it all just a distraction? On February 12th, Finance Minister Archer Mangueira ordered the sale of five light aircraft owned by the Angolan state: three Beechcraft 1900s and two Twin Otters, as per his ministerial despatch 47/18. It orders the National Director of State Patrimony, Mr Valentim Joaquim Manuel, to draw up contracts for the sale of the aircraft with SJL-Aeronautica, EAPA and Air Jet. Imagine our surprise then to find out that SJL-Aeronautica was set up in 2010 by General Sequeira João Lourenço, the current President’s […]

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Valter Filipe and José Filomeno dos Santos indicted

José Filomeno dos Santos (son of former presidente José Eduardo dos Santos, known as Zenú), and the former governor of the National Bank of Angola, Valter Filipe, were indicted two weeks ago by the Attorney General’s Office for their involvement in the 500-million-dollar fraud. This refers to the transfer last September of 500 million dollars from the National Bank of Angola to an account with Crédit Suisse in London as a guarantee for a supposed funding of 30 billion dollars. In fact, as already investigated by Maka Angola early in January the operation would turn out to be a fraud against the Angolan State that was carried out by José Filomeno dos Santos. To carry it out, he used his dummy company, Mais Financial Services. London’s financial authorities suspected the fraud and blocked the funds in London. The referred transfer led to the resignation, on October 27, of the then […]

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Angola’s Death Squads

Nearly two years ago, rumors began circulating in the Angolan capital, Luanda, that police officers working for the Criminal Investigation Service (SIC) were routinely rounding up suspected petty criminals and killing them. Human rights journalist Rafael Marques de Morais began an investigation, taking oral and written testimony from dozens of witnesses, family members, friends, and even from the occasional survivor. He says “Compelling testimony points to a systematic SIC death squad operation targeting young men merely suspected of undesirable or criminal behavior.” Over a period of months, a clear pattern emerged with eye-witnesses naming individual police officers who had been seen to kill victims in broad daylight and in view of members of the public.  It was alleged that specific SIC units were acting as death squads with impunity. “The SIC death squads are blamed for the summary executions of hundreds of young Angolans, without even a cursory investigation of […]

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WHO Alarm: Zika Virus on the Rise in Angola

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a health emergency alert about a possible Zika outbreak in Angola, urging the Angola Ministry of Health to immediately begin implementing its planned interventions to minimize the impact. The WHO’s alert is particularly alarming because it is issued in response to a growing number of cases of microcephaly among newborns in Angola particularly in Luanda. Microcephaly is a rare neurological condition in which an infant’s head is significantly smaller than the heads of other children of the same age and sex. Sometimes detected at birth, microcephaly is usually the result of the brain developing abnormally in the womb or not growing as it should after birth. An infected pregnant women can transmit Zika to her fetus, which can lead to brain abnormalities. As of 29 November 2017, a total of 42 cases of microcephaly had been reported, of which 39 occurred in live […]

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