Vote Counting in Angola Marred by Irregularities

The Angolan National Electoral Commission (CNE) announced yesterday that it has already processed the tallying of the final results of the August 23 elections in 11 of the 18 provinces, according to its spokesperson, Júlia Ferreira. These are the provinces of Bengo, Benguela, Cabinda, Cuando-Cubango, Cunene, Huíla, Kwanza-Norte, Kwanza-Sul, Luanda, Moxico and Zaire. However, the Angolan opposition parties claim that 11 of the country’s 18 provinces – Bengo, Bié, Cuando-Cubango, Cunene, Huambo, Kwanza-Sul, Luanda, Lunda-Norte, Lunda-Sul, Malanje, Moxico – have still not verified their results as the law requires. This list includes five of the provinces in which the CNE declares the counting is complete: Bengo, Cuando-Cubango, Kwanza-Sul, Luanda, and Moxico. The various provincial electoral commissions have declared that they have completed their task, but the commissioners appointed by opposition parties are refusing to approve the vote tallies from these provinces. According to the list that Maka Angola had access […]

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Observers Reserve Judgement on Vote Counting Irregularities

International observers to the 2017 elections in Angola have issued positive assessments of the electoral campaign and voting process, but their statements do not mention the vote counting process, which opposition parties have pointed out was conducted in a way that flouted the electoral law. The African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) issued statements on Friday 25 August, two days after the election date. They did not comment on events that took place after the polls closed on 23 August. Although Angolan state media have selectively quoted the observers to create the impression of unequivocal endorsement, the EU and SADC both made clear that their statements were provisional and a final assessment of the elections would be made after the process was completed. The brief EU statement was couched in diplomatic language but hinted at the ongoing controversy over the count, warning […]

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Elections: MPLA Majority Hangs in the Balance

Of the more than 1.1 million votes already counted, the ruling MPLA has 51%, followed by UNITA with 36% and CASA-CE with 11%. These results reflect a parallel count carried out by UNITA based on official copies that it has obtained of the results posted by individual polling stations. Half of the votes already counted are in Luanda. In the capital city the MPLA and UNITA are neck-and-neck with 40% each, followed by CASA-CE with 13.6%. These Luanda results do not include the most populous districts, Viana and Cacuaco, where the opposition is strongest. So far, the count from these districts suggests that UNITA is heading for a large majority. Maka Angola has learned that the National Electoral Commission (CNE) has stopped releasing provisional results, on the orders of the President of the Republic. The MPLA has expressed surprise at the results. If the trend of increasing opposition votes continues, […]

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Chopper Crashes While Delivering Election Kits

The crew and ten passengers aboard an Angolan Air Force helicopter, a Russian Mi-171Sh, have had a lucky escape, after it crashed on take-off. The accident happened in Caiundo, in the southeastern province of Kuando-Kubango. Witnesses say the crew and passengers walked away with minor injuries though the aircraft and its cargo exploded minutes later. Military sources attributed the crash to pilot error. One source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Maka Angola that the pilot failed to achieve sufficient height on take-off and as he maneuvered, he hit trees obscured by the dust cloud lifted by the helicopter blades. The aircraft was delivered in June last year as part of investment to modernize the Angolan Air Force. It was carrying five Air Force personnel, three election agents and two policemen. They had been delivering materials for the August 23 general election. Witnesses said the election kits were destroyed in […]

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Police Use Lethal Force to Repress Diamond-Area Protest

Reports from the diamond-rich province of Lunda Norte in north-eastern Angola say police opened fire without warning on peaceful demonstrations by separatists on Sunday, killing one bystander and wounding others. Protest marches in the region had been organized by a banned political organization, the ‘Movimento do Protectorado Lunda-Tchokwé’ (MPL-T, Movement for the Lunda-Tchokwé Protectorate), which advocates independence for the Tchokwé peoples who live in the former ancient kingdom of the Lundas. The separatists have argued for a measure of autonomy, similar to that accorded to Scotland within the United Kingdom. Insiders say the MPL-T wrote to Angola’s President José Eduardo dos Santos earlier this month to ask for dialogue and for permission to hold a public demonstration. It appears that no march permit was sought from the local authorities. Up to a thousand supporters are said to have turned out in the town of Luzamba at 7am with the aim […]

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Isabel dos Santos and the Right of Reply

Isabel dos Santos, self-described ‘African billionaire businesswoman’ and head of the Angolan national oil company, Sonangol, (appointed by her father, the President of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos) was clearly rattled by the report published here on Maka Angola last week, entitled ‘Sonangol’s Slush Fund Salaries’ and has sent an official response. Maka Angola is delighted to afford the Sonangol President the right of reply. Sonangol’s ‘Official Reaction’ states (without offering proof) that the report was incorrect. And yet, instead of supplying alternative data, the response serves to confirm the inside information supplied to Maka Angola. (1) Sonangol’s whistleblowers reported elevated salaries for the board. And outrageous expenses and consultancy fees for a cabal of Portuguese nationals, effected overseas to avoid paying Angolan tax. The President’s daughter confirms that fees for the board of directors were raised to keep pace with inflation – in effect at the very least a […]

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Sonangol “Can’t Even Afford Toilet Paper”

Employees at the Angolan oil giant have flushed out some startling news about Sonangol’s continued decline. Since President José Eduardo dos Santos put his daughter, Isabel (Africa’s first female billionaire), in charge the oil giant’s fortunes “are in the toilet”. At the company’s headquarters, in a custom luxury US $400 million  building, in which over-invoicing reached hallucinatory levels, officials are confronted with a stark reality. Apparently, Angola’s most important enterprise can’t afford to supply its own washrooms. “Every worker has to bring their own toilet paper from home because Sonangol has been unable to pay its suppliers and we have a toilet paper crisis,” one official resignedly told Maka Angola. Staff fear they’ll become the butt of jokes. They say the situation is out of hand. Only the denizens of the 18th, 19th and 20th floors – where Isabel and her coterie of expatriate ‘consultants’ have their dens – are […]

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MPLA Gives Opposition a Beating

As Angola prepares for next year’s general election, reports are already emerging of acts of political violence. Representatives of opposition parties attempting to scrutinize the electoral registration process have alleged they were subjected to intimidation and violence in the village of Luremo, in the northeastern province of Lunda Norte. “Village chief Ngana Mussanga, who is an MPLA member, turned up with 20 young men wielding staves. They slapped my face, and then I was grabbed, thrown to the ground where they held me down by my hands and feet while the chief beat me around the head, and the back.” The victim, UNITA member Pedro Muiungulenu Zambicuari, says the incident took place on September 8. The UNITA man had been assigned to check the electoral registration process. “It was barely 8.30 in the morning when the village chief first showed up. He asked my name and where I was from. […]

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The Dos Santos Brand Turns Toxic

In Angola it is a crime to speak ill of the President. The man, who for the past 37 years has led the ruling MPLA party (the Peoples’ Movement for the Liberation of Angola) is accustomed to hearing only praise from within his party’s ranks. Yet on the eve of what was expected to be a slickly-organized party congress, aiming to re-establish José Eduardo dos Santos as the party’s sole candidate for President in next year’s elections, there has been an unprecedented public condemnation from a senior party cadre. “The popular appeal of the MPLA – the party of the President and head of state [José Eduardo dos Santos] – is at an all-time low thanks to his ‘shenanigans’. He gives the party a bad name – and when he falls, he will drag the innocent members of the MPLA down with him.” This stunning denunciation from Ambassador Ambrósio Lukoki, […]

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Mothers Denied Justice Due to Traditional Beliefs

A petition for clemency by mothers of two of Angola’s prisoners of conscience has gone unheard by the judge notorious for presiding over the show trial of the 17 Luanda Book Club activists. The mothers are pleading for the release of their sons, 19 year-old Nito Alves and 27 year-old Francisco Mapanza, who remain in jail in spite of a Supreme Court ‘habeas corpus’ ruling that forced the release of fellow activists convicted last March over an alleged conspiracy to incite political rebellion.. Nito Alves is one of the 17 Luanda Book Club activist, sentenced to four and a half years in prsion, who are appealing their conviction on the conspiracy charge.  He has not been freed because he is serving an additional six-month sentence for contempt over his remark in court that the show trial was a sham. Francisco Mapanza, who was attending the trial, became the unwitting 18th victim in the case, when he echoed Nito Alves’s comment. Judge Januário […]

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