Freedom of Expression: a Crime against the State Security in Angola

In the oil-rich enclave of Cabinda, in the northernmost part of Angola, three individuals share a prison cell, since March 14, charged with crimes against the state security and sedition, for a protest against bad governance and human rights abuses, which never took place.  Their arrests and the charges leveled against them,  are what illustrate the sophistication of the authoritarian rule in Angola. Members of the state security arrested Marcos Mavungo, a university lecturer and oil worker for Chevron, as soon as he exited the Catholic Church where he attended morning mass at 7h00. He was, in fact, the lead proponent of the protest.  The local government swiftly prohibited holding the protest the moment it was notified by the organizers several days before. The demonstration was supposed to be held in the afternoon but the ban, and the massive deployment of police officers in the small urban district of Cabinda […]

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Crisis, What Crisis in Angola?

As Angola’s economic crisis deepens, the country’s president has given priority to the construction of a war memorial at an estimated cost of US $72 million, and a further US $73 million going to a phantom category of “non-specific religious affairs and services”.  These projects fall under the Office of Special Works of the Presidency of the Republic. Both expenditures are part of the revised 2015 budget, passed by the National Assembly on March 20, which was slashed by 25 percent (over US $17 billion) – including cuts in the salaries of civil servants. Despite the reduction of the budget due to the fall in oil prices, the president’s  set of priorities are baffling. Oil accounts for approximately 95 percent of Angola’s total exports, and its economy is mono-dependent on this commodity. For instance, the largest state-funded religious project, the construction of the Sanctuary of Muxima for the Catholic Church, […]

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Chinese Couple Present Diplomas to Angolan Presidential Guards

A Chinese couple has had the honor of presenting diplomas to officers and soldiers of the Angolan Presidential Guard. The recipients of the diplomas had completed a 45-day military course at the Angolan presidency’s prestigious Chacal Instruction Center. Maka Angola obtained a lengthy video of the ceremony, which took place on August 15, 2014, during the celebrations of the ninth anniversary of the Central Detachment for Protection and Security of the Intelligence Bureau of the President (known as DCPS/CSPR).  The prominence accorded at the ceremony to Mr Wan, a construction contractor, and his love interest raises concerns about protocol within the Angolan Armed Forces and, by extension, in the presidency. No civilian authorities were in attendance at the ceremony. A snapshot of the video has been edited for public view, and this portal has asked for an expert opinion. The executive-secretary of the Intelligence Bureau of the President and commander […]

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National Director of State Assets in Major Land-Grabbing Fraud

On June 5, 2014, the national director of State Assets at the Ministry of Finance, Sílvio Franco Burity, successfully petitioned the governor of Kwanza-Sul, General Eusébio de Brito Teixeira, for the legalization of 8,974 hectares of land, to be used for his own private agricultural and cattle rearing projects. The land in question is located in the commune of Quimbalanga, in the municipality of Mussende, and consists of two contiguous holdings. Sílvio Franco Burity applied for the title deeds of the first holding, of 4,751 hectares, as the representative of Grano Gado Lda, a private company. The director formally owns fifty per cent of the shares in Grano Gado, while his partner and managing director of the company, Manuel dos Santos da Silva Ferreira, owns the other half. Unconcerned with current legislation, whether due to impunity or arrogance, Angolan leaders ignore the constitutional principle that the land belongs to the […]

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How Police Commanders Brutally Assaulted Laurinda Gouveia

One National Police officer grabbed Laurinda Gouveia’s mobile phone, and another punched her in the face. They dragged her a few meters, by the hair, to a National Police vehicle. Laurinda committed the crime of treason by attempting to take part in a demonstration demanding the resignation of president José Eduardo dos Santos. What followed is her personal ordeal. Last Sunday, November 23, at around 4pm, Laurinda, a 2nd year student of Philosophy at the Catholic University, and part-time street vendor of barbecued meat, went to Independence Square in Luanda, in the company of three other activists. While her companions were trying to get to the Agostinho Neto monument, Laurinda was taking pictures from a distance. “The National Police patrol car took me to the 1st of May School [Commercial Institute of Luanda], beside the Square. Six police commanders and plain clothes SINSE  (State Security and Intelligence Service) officials surrounded […]

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From a CIA Conspiracy Theory to the Murdering of Activists

The trial regarding the 2012 killing of Angolan political activists Alves Kamulingue and Isaías Cassule, which resumed on November 18, continues today. The central question still concerns who, in the chain of command of the state and the ruling MPLA, ordered their deaths? What is known is that the two had been involved in organizing a demonstration on 27 May 2012, which was intended to involve former members of the Presidential Guard and demobilized soldiers. After negotiations with and pressure from the Presidential Intelligence Bureau, the former presidential guards pulled out of the protests. A further question is why the alleged killers of both men are being charged in a single case, although each death involved a different group of suspects. A total of seven suspects have been detained. In the Kamulingue case, two National Intelligence and State Security (SINSE) officials have been charged: António Gamboa Vieira Lopes and Paulo […]

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Online Protest in Memory of Activist Ganga

Maria José Vitorino de Carvalho has one mission in life: to demand justice for the political assassination of her eldest son, Manuel Hilbert de Carvalho Ganga, who was shot twice in the back and killed by a member of the Presidential Security Unit (USP) on November 23, 2013. Maria José Vitorino de Carvalho believes that it is her right, as a mother and citizen, to demand justice. As a grandmother she feels that she has a responsibility, in time, to explain to her 3 year old grandson, Uriel Tomás, the efforts made by the family in the face of the impunity of the murderer and those who ordered the execution of his father. On the mother’s request, Maka Angola and Club-K are currently promoting a photographic protest online in memory of Ganga. Citizens who wish to express their solidarity with the victim’s family, those who wish to fully exercise their […]

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The MPLA: Speeding Angola up or holding it back?

The MPLA Political Bureau has welcomed the government’s program to speed up the diversification of the national economy, beyond its current domination by the petroleum industry. The Politburo’s statement on 31 March made a special recommendation: that the government should train the personnel necessary to put the plan into practice. However, there is a contradiction here that needs to be analyzed. Let’s start with the idea of “speeding up”. As long ago as 12 February 2009, President José Eduardo dos Santos said “it is necessary to speed up economic diversification by making and promoting investments in other areas of production”. Four years later, the idea of speeding up economic diversification was incorporated into the National Development Plan for 2013-2017, of which implementation began last year. If it is indeed a process of acceleration, it has been a very slow one. As its priorities for economic diversification, the plan aims to […]

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The Logic of Democracy in Angola

I am reading this and I can’t believe it. So I read it again: “When people, including some politicians, say that there is a dictatorial regime in Angola, this is not true”, says Paulo de Carvalho, professor of the Faculty of Social Science of the Agostinho Neto University, in Luanda. He made this statement at a conference organised by the Centre for African Studies of the Institute of Political and Social Science in Lisbon (ISCSP), under the theme “Democracy and citizens’ rights in Angola”. In order to substantiate his belief, Paulo de Carvalho referred to an event which had taken place a while back in the Mário Soares Foundation in Lisbon, where the journalist and human rights activist had criticised the Angolan regime, and the scholar had replied to him thus: “If there was a dictatorial regime in Angola, you, my friend, Rafael Marques, would not be here speaking on […]

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