Crashing Oil Prices, Propaganda and the Angolan Recipe for Disaster

Throughout the Angolan capital, Luanda, strategically located billboards announce a country being happily stewarded through development by the government. “Building a prosperous Angola based on solidarity”, is the boastful slogan across all ads celebrating the government’s achievements in all spheres of life. One such billboard celebrates “more electricity, more development”, in spite of the regular power outages. Such a massive propaganda exercise outside the electoral period has a precedent only in the early 1970s, when the Portuguese colonial authorities desperately tried to sell the idea that their rule was making people very happy, and independence could ruin all such great achievements. Nonetheless, this propaganda is in full swing at a time when the steady drop in the oil price on international markets could be good news for the Angolan people and a bad omen for their rulers. As a major countermeasure, last December the presidency decreed a 20 percent rise […]

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The Woman who ‘Invaded’ Military Barracks in Benguela

The Army Military Academy in Lobito municipality, Benguela province, is investigating Maria Alexandra de Vitória Pereira, a 48-year-old Angolan citizen who is accused of having invaded the academy’s premises on 22 December. Maria Alexandra is the daughter of the late MPLA parliamentarian Carlos Alberto de Vitória Pereira Mac-Mahon. She in turn has laid a complaint against the academy, saying she was beaten and subjected to racial abuse there. The case began with a parked car. Ms Pereira stopped her car in the street near the academy’s wall about 10 pm to attend to her seven-year-old daughter Ashanti, who was crying. She was on the way back from a dinner, accompanied by José Patrocínio, a civic activist and the director of the NGO Omunga. Some soldiers surrounded the driver, demanding that she remove the vehicle immediately. Ms Pereira says she asked for the soldiers’ understanding, and asked them to let her […]

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General Paihama: the Regime’s Firebrand

By Nelson Sul d’Angola   As a member of the MPLA’s Political Bureau, General Kundi Paihama, presided over an electoral rally held in the Ombaka National Stadium in the province of Benguela on August 4. Since the first multi-party elections were held in 1992, it has always been General Paihama’s role to coordinate the MPLA’s election campaign in Benguela, due particularly to his inflammatory rhetoric. General Paihama, who is the minister for Former Combatants and War Veterans, incited an audience of over 30,000 people. He employed the type of language used in the civil war, and that of a constructive MPLA in contrast to a destructive UNITA. In his speech, the general made reference to the incident which took place last Friday, and which culminated in acts of physical violence by UNITA militants against the MPLA provincial delegate for Education, in a dispute over the placement of campaign banners and posters. […]

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Scuffles and Arrests During Electoral Campaign in Benguela

By António Capalandanda,   The National Police, arrested Calisto Kavoli, the municipal secretary of UNITA for the province of Benguela, during a dispute which took place last Friday, between militants from his party and MPLA supporters, over the placement of election posters in Benguela. At around 2 PM, a group of over 20 members of Revolutionary Youth of Angola (JURA), the youth branch of UNITA, approached the Rotunda da Cruz Vermelha [Red Cross Roundabout], in the city of Benguela, and began tearing up MPLA pamphlets there. According to a report printed in the officious Jornal de Angola, the first secretary of the MPLA in Benguela, Armando da Cruz Neto, “deplored the attitude of UNITA leaders and militants.” In a public event which took place on August 4, the MPLA leader and governor of Benguela said, referring to the occurrence: “I cannot believe that after 10 years of peace, there are […]

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Political Violence in Benguela

By Nelson Sul D’Angola   Political intolerance forced seven families associated with UNITA to flee from Capupa commune on the night of Sunday, July 22. The families, totaling 31 people in all, arrived in the municipal town of Cubal, in Benguela province, around midday on Monday. According to Paulo Kananga, a member of UNITA who had to abandon his home at short notice with his wife and three children, “the [ruling] MPLA secretary in Cambulo village, Deolindo Dumbo, came to my house armed with a spear and arrows, while Felipe César from the local MPLA committee came with a machete in his hand to chase us out of the village”. “They came to the house with death threats, and told my family that the arrows were meant for us if we stayed in the area,” Kananga told Maka Angola. The MPLA members also visited the other influential local UNITA members, […]

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Fatal Victims in Clashes Between UNITA and MPLA

By António Capalandanda and Rafael Marques de Morais: Over the last few months there has been an increase in the level of violence between the ruling MPLA and UNITA supporters in Huambo and Benguela. These two provinces are electoral battlegrounds of extreme political symbolism for the two largest national political parties. Sparse coverage in the media and a lack of dialogue across society regarding this increasing tension foreshadows a climate of mistrust amongst citizens and growing fear with regard to the upcoming elections on August 31, as well as its aftermath. Maka Angola brings to light some recent incidents so that the public can be better informed about current focal points of tension. Supporters from both the MPLA and UNITA, and especially their leaderships, share a burden of increased responsibility in promoting political stability and maintaining peace. Three serious incidents took place in the province of Huambo in just two days. […]

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Journalist Ramiro Aleixo on Trial

Angolan journalist Ramiro Aleixo’s trial is scheduled to start on May 11, 2012, at the Luanda Provincial Court. At issue is an editorial Mr. Aleixo wrote in the newspaper Kesongo, in 2007, about General Miala’s case. Mr. Aleixo, formerly the director and owner of the weekly Kesongo, told Maka Angola that he only found out about the notification to be present in court through a notice published in Jornal de Angola. The journalist has not received any formal notification from the authorities. In September 2007, Mr. Aleixo published an editorial denouncing the mock trial of the former Director of the Exterior Information Services, General Fernando Garcia Miala, and three of his staff members. The defendants were convicted for the crime of insubordination and sentenced to jail. In the editorial, Mr. Aleixo voiced his outrage at what he considered to be a manipulation of the judicial system, conducted by the Angolan […]

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