Angola’s Lawless Lawmen

In Angola there is a well-known Portuguese saying that sums up the disconnect between appearance and reality: “para o Inglês ver” (literally “for the Englishman to see”). How apt. For it appears that the entire state apparatus under President José Eduardo dos Santos’s rule – constitutional guarantees, democratic principles and the rule of law –exist only for appearances’ sake. The latest example of blatant disregard of the law involves none other than Angola’s most senior lawman, the Attorney General of the Republic, General João Maria Moreira de Sousa. Maka Angola has documentary evidence that in 2011 three-star General Moreira de Sousa bought from the state a three-hectare parcel of ‘rural land’ with a prime sea view in Tango, in the municipality of Porto-Amboim in the province of Kwanza-Sul. Given its ‘rural’ designation, the land cost a mere 600,000 kwanzas (US $3,600). Thus, the Attorney General personally executed the transaction in […]

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Meddling With Angola’s Electoral Register is Unconstitutional

Why does Angola need a new Electoral Registration Law?   Particularly one which would transfer control of the electoral register from the independent National Electoral Commission to the Ministry of Territorial Administration under the tutelage of Bornito de Sousa, one of the President’s staunch supporters in the ruling MPLA (People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola)? It’s a contentious move both in political and legal terms. Politically, it attributes to the party in power, the government of the day, the power to determine who can, and who can’t, vote. Legally, it violates the Angolan Constitution which explicitly attributes oversight of the electoral process to an independent body.  Article 107, Clause 1 of the Angolan Constitution states: “The electoral processes are organized by independent electoral administrative bodies whose structure, function, composition and competence are defined by law”. It is an internationally-accepted principle that the “electoral process” includes the compilation and upkeep of […]

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Supersonic Nepotism: Illegalities at the Speed of Light

Angola’s President, José Eduardo dos Santos, has just appointed his daughter Isabel dos Santos as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the state oil giant, Sonangol.  He had already appointed her half-brother, José Filomeno dos Santos, back in 2012 as Chairman of the Board of the Angolan Sovereign Wealth Fund.  This means that the country’s sovereign fund and the state’s main source of income are now both in the hands of children of the President. In plain English, this is the very dictionary definition of nepotism: ‘the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them top jobs’.  No doubt there will be many analyses and critiques of Angola’s particular brand of nepotism but from the strictly legal point of view there is one indisputable conclusion to be drawn:  President dos Santos’s actions are unconstitutional and illegal. Unconstitutional and illegal The Angolan […]

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Journalist Banned from Practicing in Cunene Province

On 7 January, the provincial government of Cunene informed journalist Paulo Kuza that he was to cease all professional activity in the province for an indeterminate length of time. According to Mr Kuza, the provincial director of Information, Faustino Ndasuamba, handed him the ban during a meeting they had. Last December, the journalist joined the staff of Rádio Despertar, the only radio station to openly criticize the government. The station has been transmitting on FM to the greater Luanda area since 2006, as part of the Peace Agreement between the government and the former rebel movement UNITA. Stunned by the information Rádio Despertar called the provincial director to confirm the ban. Maka Angola heard a recording of the telephone conversation between the deputy director of Rádio Despertar, Queirós Anastácio Chilúvia, and Faustino Ndasuamba. The provincial director confirmed that he had held a meeting with Mr Kuza.  In a language reminiscent […]

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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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