Banco Espírito Santo Angola’s Toxic Loans to the Elite

Banco Espírito Santo Angola (BESA) is faced with serious financial problems caused by bad loans to the tune of US$6.5 billion including US$1.5 billion in interest, Maka Angola has learnt from reliable sources. During Álvaro Sobrinho’s tenure as chairman of the bank’s executive committee (2002-2013), BESA took to granting astronomical loans, mostly to well-known figures in the Angolan regime, including several members of the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) Politburo. Since 2013 the chairman of BESA’s board is an MPLA Politburo member, António Paulo Kassoma, who has served as prime minister and speaker of the National Assembly. According to information obtained by Maka Angola, the bank had made loans totalling nearly US$200 million with Álvaro Sobrinho as the main beneficiary. The bank now wants to recoup this loan. Eugénio Neto “Geny Neto”, the vice chairman of Espírito Santo Commerce (Escom) in Angola, has been named as […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

The President and the General Kangamba

For the first time in history, an Angolan general has been targeted with an international arrest warrant. General Bento dos Santos “Kangamba”, a member of the presidential family and a leading figure of the ruling MPLA party, is wanted in Brazil on suspicion of leading a gang involved in the trafficking of women for prostitution, conspiracy and forced confinement. Kangamba’s case is unprecedented, and the level of protection that he enjoys from the President beggars belief. Kangamba himself joked that he does not have magical powers. He made this joke to explain how he manages to deal with millions of dollars at a time, despite having no visible successful businesses. The secret of his success is the presidential favour that he enjoys. The warrant for Kangamba’s arrest has been met with deafening silence on the part of the Angolan presidency and the attorney general. The case damages the image of […]

Read more

Angola’s Scrapyard Arms Deals

Angola recently became the biggest African customer for arms purchases from Russia, with contracts valued at one billion dollars. Nevertheless, while weapons are being stock-piled, the Angolan Armed Forces experience a lack of basic resources at the majority of army bases.   According to the Russian newspaper Vedomosti http://www.vedomosti.ru/politics/news/17540901/oruzhie-dlya-starogo-druga, the contracts include the supply of 18 Sukhoi-30 fighter planes, as well as Mi-17 transport helicopters, light arms, munitions, tanks, pieces of artillery and the construction of an arms factory in Angola. “The Su-30 fighters will be form the backbone of the Angolan Air Force’s fighting power,” the newspaper said. But the aircraft mentioned in the contract were manufactured in the 1990’s, and delivered to the Indian Air Force while it was awaiting the manufacture of the more advanced Su-30MKI. The planes were returned to Russia in 2007, and since then they have been stored at a maintenance facility in Belarus. […]

Read more

A Bridge Too Far for the Opposition

Public officials, members and sympathizers of the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation in Angola (MPLA) have been very creative in undermining the opposition, while preserving the veneer of a multiparty political system in the country. But the latest demonstration of creativity has gone a bridge too far, in Huambo province. On August 25, the Ukuma municipal police commander, Superintendent Jorge Balú “Sankara”, armed with a chain saw, brought down the log bridge over the Capraia River, while a Chinese citizen assisted him with a sledgehammer. An opposition party convoy of about 150 people, traveling in nine vehicles and several motorbikes, was successfully stopped at the bridge, on the side of Ukuma town. The destruction of the bridge prevented the political activists from CASA-CE from holding a scheduled political rally in the village of Cacoma, some kilometers on the other side of the bridge. CASA-CE is a coalition of four […]

Read more

You Too, Lopo!

The story of the MPLA parliamentarian Lopo do Nascimento, as a moderate, credible and critical voice in Angolan politics, is worthy of a biography. For years, many sectors of society, both at the heart of the regime and in the opposition and civil society, nurtured the hope that Nascimento would be the ideal presidential candidate who would bring them together. They saw him as providing a moral centre that was otherwise lacking in national politics. Yet, at the same time, many people felt that Nascimento, who has served as prime minister and as secretary-general of the MPLA, lacked the courage to confront President José Eduardo dos Santos and the members of his powerful inner circle. Nascimento’s clean image was called into question in 2011 when he took on the position of chairman of the board of Coba, one of Portugal’s main civil engineering and environmental consulting firms. In 2010 Nascimento set up a business consortium with the Angolan national oil company, Sonangol, which […]

Read more

Alternating Demonstrations: Political Protest and the Government’s Response in Angola

In March 2011, at the height of the North African street protests, an anonymous letter went viral. It called for a mass demonstration in Luanda’s Independence Square, in the capital of Angola, on March 7, 2011. At this symbolic demonstration, the police arrested all seventeen individuals who attended, including three journalists and their driver who were there to cover the event. The ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) politburo accused Western intelligence services, as well as pressured groups in Portugal, Italy, France, Belgium, Great Britain, and Germany, of disseminating the online letter that demanded an end to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s thirty-two year rule. In an anticipated counter-offensive, the MPLA held pro-dos Santos demonstrations in several parts of the country on March 5, 2011, at a staggering cost of over $20 million from the party coffers. State media propaganda claimed that, in Luanda alone, the march […]

Read more

Bonfire for Censored Angolan Newspaper

This weekend’s edition of the weekly newspaper Semanário Angolense ended up in a bonfire. Last Saturday morning, Media Investe, the company that owns the Angolan weekly Semanário Angolense, decided to censor the edition, of October 27, because it included an almost full version of the speech of the National Union’s for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) leader, Isaías Samakuva, on the State of the Nation. Journalists from Semanário Angolense told Maka Angola that Media Investe, a company controlled by high-ranking officers of the State Security and Intelligence Services (SINSE), ordered the burning of the copies of the newspaper that had already been printed. Maka Angola obtained a digital copy of the censored newspaper edition, which includes the speech of Samakuva on pages 8, 9 and 10. The October 23 speech of the leader of the main opposition party, was in response to president Dos Santos’ refusal to address the […]

Read more

Electoral Fraud Allegations and Detentions in Bié

By António Capalandanda: UNITA is accusing the Provincial Electoral Commssion (CPE) in Bié of falsifying the consolidated results lists from polling stations and is contesting the provisional electoral results that give the MPLA a victory in the province, with 69.79 percent of votes. According to the provisional results, UNITA has 36.2 percent of the votes and CASA-CE has 0.98 percent. The UNITA spokesman in Bié, Kanjomba Leite, told Maka Angola that five false results statements had been found at polling station 029 (Helena de Almeida neighbourhood), polling station 11 (Boa Vista neighbourhood) and in one of the polling stations in Kunje in the Kuito municipality. In a letter to the Bié CPE, UNITA’s provincial secretary Elioty Ekolelo said that the statements of results from polling stations in Liwema, Njimba Silili, Ekovongo, Kamundongo and Tchikala, in the Kuito municipality, where UNITA has strong support, were not handed to the Municipal Electoral Commission. […]

Read more

Kangamba: the MPLA Convicted Candidate

The kick-start of the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), and president José Eduardo dos Santos campaign trail, on June 23, in the 11 de Novembro stadium, elicited the shadow and the real power of another dos Santos. Few people noticed it. On the stage erected outside the stadium, where several famous Angolan singers performed, and where the president was scheduled to address the crowds, another name was displayed on two huge posters on both sides of the stage: that of the controversial 47 year old political showman Bento Kangamba, whose real name is Bento dos Santos. The event was yet another masterful coup in the personal campaign of the self-proclaimed “businessman for youth” and president of Kabuscorp F.C. Bento Kangamba who is running for member of Parliament in the up-coming elections scheduled for August 31. The said candidate is the secretary of the MPLA’s provincial committee […]

Read more
1 4 5 6 7 8