All the President’s Dogs

A protest in the Angolan capital, Luanda on Saturday August 20, was broken up by security forces who set dogs onto the 30 or so demonstrators calling for the resignation of President José Eduardo dos Santos. António Francisco Diogo, 25, had a chunk ripped out of the back of his thigh by a bulldog unleashed by the military. President Dos Santos had just been reelected as leader of the ruling MPLA (Peoples’ Movement for the Liberation of Angola) with 99.6% of his party’s vote. His re-election means he will be the sole MPLA candidate for next year’s presidential election. The MPLA has ruled Angola for 40 years, since wresting independence from its colonial master Portugal in 1975. Widely derided as a tyrant, President Dos Santos, who has ruled the country for 37 of those years, is unable to tolerate any call for him to step down, however small or insignificant. […]

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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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Margoso: Urban Development for the Rich, Eviction for the Poor

José Agostinho Quiteque, 31, represents his family’s third generation to be born in the neighbourhood of Margoso, in the Maianga district of Luanda. Nestled on the hillside between the neighbourhoods of Prenda and Bairro Azul, and Avenida Revolução de Outubro, Margoso is to be demolished to make way for a new housing development for the wealthy. The Quiteque family has lived in the area for more than fifty years. Family patriarch Agostinho Quiteque, born in Kwanza Sul, saw the birth of his first child in Margoso in the wooden house that he built on the site now occupied by Prenda Clinic. The colonial authorities granted him another site a little lower down the hill where he built a permanent house of bricks and mortar in which he lived until he died four months ago at the age of 81. All four of his children were born in Margoso, and when […]

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Government Uses Military in Mass Forced Evictions

By Alexandre Neto Seven helicopters and an apparatus of more than 500 men, including military personnel, police and security forces, took part in a military-styled operation that forcibly evicted over 5,000 people from the residential neighborhood of Mayombe, in the Cacuaco municipality, in Luanda, on February 1. According to local residents, the joint military and police forces took the community by surprise at early dawn, causing widespread panic. “At around 5am the bulldozers started razing the houses to the ground, evicting more than 5,000 people”, said Mateus Virgílio Mukito, one of the residents left homeless. Pedro Sebastião, another evictee, told Maka Angola that two children died in the operation. “They were running from the helicopters and ended up falling into a drainage ditch.” Other residents corroborated this information. According to Mr. Sebastião, given the level of panic within the community, it wasn’t even possible to hold funerals in the area. […]

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Presidential Guards at the Service of Private Business

The trial of 15 Angolan presidential guards, accused in connection with a petition in which they demanded better salaries and working conditions, has drawn attention to a web of corrupt practices in which military officers set up private business with state funds as their capital, and using soldiers as their labourers. The guards on trial are members of the Central Protection and Security Unit (DCPS), a unit that was set up in 2004 under the auspices of the Military Bureau of the Angolan Presidency. Its supposed function was to protect infrastructure rehabilitation projects throughout Angola, as part of the National Reconstruction Office (GRN) that was attached to the Military Bureau under the leadership of General Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias “Kopelipa”. The DCPS was meant to protect the Chinese companies and workers who were involved in the projects. These projects have been worth more than US$10 billion, financed by the Chinese […]

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Land Rush End in Summary Trials

A rumour that the municipal administration of Cacuaco, Luanda, was to distribute land in the farming area known as Kilometre 30, resulted in almost 100 detentions and summary convictions by the Cacuaco municipal court on Monday, August 13. Maka Angola has confirmed that more than 40 people, 22 of them women, were sentenced individually to a suspended prison sentence of three months, converted to a 49,000 kwanza fine (US $490). The news that plots of land were to be allocated prompted multitudes of people to the area. But for no apparent reason, members of the National Police at the scene started arresting people at random. Roque Augusto, one of those present, explained that his family went to the site and claimed a plot in the zone that was supposedly being distributed. According to him, his family didn’t even occupy the plot. “Last Saturday, a large team from the National Police […]

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Angolan Parliament splashes over $43 million on BMWs

The Angolan ruling party, the MPLA, has over the last two years been repeating its promise to keep a watch on the administration, the management of public resources and the well being of Angolans. This article compares the promises with the reality, and shows how the members of parliament have been serving their own interests rather than the interests of the people they supposedly represent. On 16 June 2010, the National Assembly renegotiated a loan contract with the Banco do Comércio e Indústria (BCI) worth 3.21 billion kwanzas (equivalent to 35.7 million US dollars) for the purchase of 210 cars, the 2010 model of the BMW 535i series. These vehicles, valued at $168.9 thousand each, are for parliamentarians’ use on official business and are to be delivered by the end of the year only. The current budget for 2010, for the acquisition of vehicles for parliamentarians, officials and personnel of […]

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