Military Police Arrests 51 War Veterans

Angolan military police have quietly detained 51 war veterans, following demonstrations on June 21. The detainees are in the Military Judicial Police (PJM) garrison in Luanda. Gonçalves Alberto, 46, told Maka Angola that the police had arrested the men at the Signals Regiment Headquarters, where they had gathered after being promised a solution to the problem of their unpaid pensions. “My brother João Alberto, 44, was with me at the Signals. As there were many of us, I didn’t notice he was missing. I only learnt from a text message that he was already detained in a police car with the others,” Gonçalves Alberto said. “If we had been aware that our brothers were being captured in this treacherous manner we would have protested and we would all have ended up in prison.” The following day, June 21, Gonçalves Alberto visited his brother and his friends Francisco Manuela and Freitas […]

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Deloitte Angola: Auditing and Conflict of Interest

Elections in Angola are only three months away. More attention needs to be given to how they will be carried out, if the processes of voting and counting are to respect the will of the people. In order for citizens to be better informed, the electoral process deserves a deeper and more independent discussion, one which goes beyond official statements and the claims of the opposition. The most recent and significant event in the run-up to elections has to do with the Territorial Administration Ministry’s (MAT) handing over of the Electoral Register Central Database (FICRE) to the National Electoral Commission (CNE) on 15 May. FICRE contains the details of more than 9.7 million voters. According to the Law on General Elections, the transfer of custody and management of FICRE, which contains all the data related to the electoral process, “is preceded by an audit to be performed by an independent […]

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War Veterans Protest in Menongue

Four thousand Angolan war veterans took to the streets of the city of the south-eastern city of Menongue, Kuando-Kubango province, on Saturday, March 31, in protest at delays in the payment of their pensions. The demonstrators eventually received the money owed to them, but only after two were injured in a confrontation with police and firemen. According to Maka Angola’s sources in the city, the veterans of the former liberation army and government defense forces, FAPLA (People’s Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola), marched down Rua 1º de Maio to the local branch of the Banco de Poupança e Crédito in order to demand their pension arrears. The marchers gave no prior notice to the local authorities. The authorities summoned the police who failed to stop the demonstration, and in turn called on the fire brigade to use water to disperse the protesters as they attempted to break into […]

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Understanding President Dos Santos Rule and the Gaming of His Succession

The past year witnessed a critical shift in Angolan politics with regular youth-led public protests calling for the President’s resignation. Two factors made the outcry for Dos Santos to step down the main challenge to both the conventional political discourse and public perceptions of power: the 2010 Constitution and the popular uprisings in North Africa. This paper provides a brief narrative of the power struggles between the President and his own party, since the establishment of a multiparty system in 1991. It addresses the deployment of constitutional coups, patronage and legal measures to address such internal rifts, as well as the consequences that reverberate today. The Opportunity The 2008 legislative elections offered President Dos Santos the most legitimate, ambitious and unique opportunity to extend his grip on power, as well as to reform the state and its political economy. His ruling party, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola […]

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Kero: Manuel Vicente Goes Shopping with State Money

The Kero hypermarket, probably the biggest in Angola, might be considered a model of private investment due to the way it has improved the range, and quality of consumer goods available in the country. But it has also proved to be a model example of how Angola’s top officials continue to ignore the distinction between public and private property and have turned themselves into the country’s top entrepreneurs. Kero has been operating for a year, in Luanda’s Nova Vida suburb. In an interview with the weekly paper O País, Kero’s Brazilian Director-General, João Santos, revealed how much MONEY had been invested by a group of Angolan businessmen in partnership with Banco Privado Atlântico: “The US$35 million is a combination of private capital and resources freed up by the partnership with Atlântico.” The hypermarket occupies a surface area of 7,500 square metres and a total area of 11,000 square metres. A […]

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Manuel Vicente’s Raid on Sonangol

In 2008, Manuel Vicente, the chairman of the board and director general of the Angolan state oil company, Sonangol, restructured the company’s main subsidiaries to his personal benefit. The same year, petroleum exports exceeded $62 billion, according to the World Bank: 97.7% of Angola’s exports. These figures demonstrate the crucial role of Sonangol in the country’s political economy, as the only Angolan concession-holder in the industry. Manuel Vicente did a business deal with himself when he illegally transferred a percentage of Sonangol Holding into his own name, thus making himself a formal (private) shareholder in almost all the multi-million dollar deals of a state-owned business. This move by Sonangol’s top manager must first be put into context in the light of current legislation and the MPLA’s rhetoric on the supposed zero tolerance policy towards corruption. On 30 March 2010, the President of the Republic, José Eduardo dos Santos, signed into […]

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MPLA, Corporation

During the ruling MPLA’s Central Committee meeting in Luanda, in November 2009, President José Eduardo dos Santos defined his challenges facing his party in terms of three fundamental questions: keeping watch on government, the irresponsibility of government leaders, and fighting corruption with a policy of zero tolerance. In this investigation I deal with the transfer of state assets to the MPLA’s private businesses through a company called GEFI (Sociedade de Gestão e Participações Financeiras / Management and Business Participation Company), and the consequences of its involvement in such money-making activities. In order to make clear the gap between the leadership’s words and its deeds, I will analyse those three main questions that Dos Santos, both President of the Republic and leader of the MPLA, put forward during his speech when he opened the party Central Committee meeting on 29 November 2009. Download the full text here.

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The business dealings of Angolan Members of Parliament

It has become common practice for Angolan Members of Parliament to set up commercial companies with members of the government and with foreign investors for personal gain, in the same way that they have done with state contracts. This practice potentially creates situations that prevent them from conducting their duties as parliamentarians, as well as conflicts of interest and influence peddling. In short, it risks making corruption an institution inside parliament. On 24 December 2008 the Chairperson of the National Assembly, Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos, promised during the end-of-year celebrations that members of parliament would play a role in monitoring the government’s actions, as a contribution to good governance and transparency in the country. While the country awaits the result of such a promise, this article reveals a reality that calls for greater attention and monitoring by the Chairperson of the National Assembly and by society at large. […]

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