A New Angolan President

On September 21 we will have a new president, after 38 years with José Eduardo dos Santos. The National Electoral Commission has named João Lourenço president-elect, without legally validating the votes in 15 of the 18 provinces. The MPLA, already in power for 42 years will continue to rule for a further five-year term. Anyone who things that the law is worth when MPLA’s leaders’ interests are at stake, is mistaken. It is worth taking a look back at the history of presidential power in Angola and its popular legitimacy. In 1975, Agostinho Neto became president through the unilateral declaration of independence, after expelling the other liberation movements, FNLA (led by Holden Roberto) and UNITA (led by Jonas Savimbi), from Luanda. The three movements had formed a transitional government, and the process of declaring independence ought to have happened only after elections were held. Instead, the most cunning and strategic […]

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Angolan Opposition Unites to Challenge ‘Illegal’ Election Results

Four Angolan opposition parties have jointly declared that the results of the 23 August election announced by the National Electoral Commission were illegal and unconstitutional. In a joint statement issues on Sunday, UNITA, CASA-CE, PRS and FNLA stated they would not recognize “any results produced on the margins of the law”. The party leaders demanded a recount at provincial level “on the basis of the law and the constitution”. They declared that only three of Angola’s 18 provinces, Cabinda, Uíge and Zaire, had processed the election results in accordance with the Electoral Law. “The supposed count was limited only to checking the spoiled, blank and contested ballots. The process became even more shady with the disappearance of ballot boxes, the emergence of new ballot boxes, the disappearance of votes, and other irregularities,” the opposition leaders declared. The party leaders, who were also the presidential candidates of their respective parties, said […]

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UNITA Says 14 Provincial Results Invalid

Angola’s largest opposition party, UNITA, has declared that 14 of the country’s 18 provinces have not yet delivered results from last week’s elections in accordance with the law. UNITA’s intervention comes a day after the National Election Commission declared that the provincial verification process had been concluded, following voting on 23 August. Yesterday, the Constitutional Court also ruled against a complaint lodged by the Coalition for the Salvation of Angola (CASA-CE), which also ran in the elections. CASA-CE, like UNITA, demanded that CNE tally the votes in each province according to the electoral law. “The provincial verification carried out in terms of [the law] happened only in the provinces of Cabinda, Uíge, Zaire e Malanje,” UNITA’s Political Commission said in a statement issued on Thursday. The statement added that the verification process conducted in two further provinces, Benguela and Moxico, could not be considered conclusive. “In the provinces of Cuanza […]

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Vote Counting in Angola Marred by Irregularities

The Angolan National Electoral Commission (CNE) announced yesterday that it has already processed the tallying of the final results of the August 23 elections in 11 of the 18 provinces, according to its spokesperson, Júlia Ferreira. These are the provinces of Bengo, Benguela, Cabinda, Cuando-Cubango, Cunene, Huíla, Kwanza-Norte, Kwanza-Sul, Luanda, Moxico and Zaire. However, the Angolan opposition parties claim that 11 of the country’s 18 provinces – Bengo, Bié, Cuando-Cubango, Cunene, Huambo, Kwanza-Sul, Luanda, Lunda-Norte, Lunda-Sul, Malanje, Moxico – have still not verified their results as the law requires. This list includes five of the provinces in which the CNE declares the counting is complete: Bengo, Cuando-Cubango, Kwanza-Sul, Luanda, and Moxico. The various provincial electoral commissions have declared that they have completed their task, but the commissioners appointed by opposition parties are refusing to approve the vote tallies from these provinces. According to the list that Maka Angola had access […]

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Observers Reserve Judgement on Vote Counting Irregularities

International observers to the 2017 elections in Angola have issued positive assessments of the electoral campaign and voting process, but their statements do not mention the vote counting process, which opposition parties have pointed out was conducted in a way that flouted the electoral law. The African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) issued statements on Friday 25 August, two days after the election date. They did not comment on events that took place after the polls closed on 23 August. Although Angolan state media have selectively quoted the observers to create the impression of unequivocal endorsement, the EU and SADC both made clear that their statements were provisional and a final assessment of the elections would be made after the process was completed. The brief EU statement was couched in diplomatic language but hinted at the ongoing controversy over the count, warning […]

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Angolan Vote Count Flouted The Rules

Members of Angola’s National Electoral Commission (CNE) have described how the legal procedures for collecting and tabulating the results of Wednesday’s election were flouted by officials who reported favorable results to the MPLA, with no indication of how these results were calculated. Opposition leaders have accused MPLA of inventing the results. The reports of malpractice come as opposition parties release the results of parallel counts, calculated by adding up the results posted at individual polling stations. These parallel counts show the MPLA in first place, but without an outright majority. The CNE began to announce the preliminary election results on Thursday afternoon, before results from the provinces had been approved either at local level or by the National Counting Center. According to the numbers the CNE announced, the MPLA won a majority with 64.57%, more than double the total of UNITA, which was in second place with 24.4%. CASA-CE took […]

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Angola: The Stolen Elections

Something has happened with the Angolan elections of August 23 that may well be a first in Africa, if not universally. The spokesperson of the National Electoral Commission (CNE) yesterday announced “preliminary results” of the general elections when votes had not been tallied at municipal, provincial, or national levels. The CNE official simply read a statement saying that the ruling MPLA, in power for the last 42 years, had won the elections by 64.57%, a landslide. According to the official, the main opposition UNITA trailed behind with 24.04%, the coalition CASA-CE came in third with 8.56%, while three other parties split the remainder of the votes. With the 63% of the votes the CNE claims to have been counted, it has already gone ahead to allocate the 220 parliamentary seats, giving the ruling MPLA a two-thirds majority with 154 seats. After the public’s disbelief, CNE lowered MPLA’s majority to 61.10% […]

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Elections: MPLA Majority Hangs in the Balance

Of the more than 1.1 million votes already counted, the ruling MPLA has 51%, followed by UNITA with 36% and CASA-CE with 11%. These results reflect a parallel count carried out by UNITA based on official copies that it has obtained of the results posted by individual polling stations. Half of the votes already counted are in Luanda. In the capital city the MPLA and UNITA are neck-and-neck with 40% each, followed by CASA-CE with 13.6%. These Luanda results do not include the most populous districts, Viana and Cacuaco, where the opposition is strongest. So far, the count from these districts suggests that UNITA is heading for a large majority. Maka Angola has learned that the National Electoral Commission (CNE) has stopped releasing provisional results, on the orders of the President of the Republic. The MPLA has expressed surprise at the results. If the trend of increasing opposition votes continues, […]

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All Aboard the Gravy Train

Angola’s gravy train has been rumbling along one set of tracks for the past 37 years, with all-encompassing corruption tainting the ruling MPLA party under President José Eduardo dos Santos. Those at the apex of the pyramid have diverted billions of dollars from the economy to their own bank accounts, while ensuring the loyalty of those beneath them by dispensing cash, goods and favors as needed. With just over two months to go to the presidential election that will see a change of leadership, members of the National Assembly (Angola’s parliament) are being given a sign that it will be ‘business as usual’. The National Assembly is chaired by veteran MPLA politburo member, Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos “Nandó”. Nandó is a rather sinister character with a smile likened to that of a cat which has just devoured its prey. His official job titles (police chief, Interior Minister, Prime […]

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Unmasking the MPLA’s Very Own Apostle

Angolans witness every day that rewards flow to those who are faithful to the ruling party, the MPLA. Yet many in this nominally Christian nation might have hoped that men of the cloth would be immune to the lure of political corruption. Apparently not so. How else to explain Reverend Antunes Huambo’s recent good fortune? One day he happens to mention during a TV debate that Angola’s President, José Eduardo dos Santos should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Within days, the MPLA Governor for Luanda, General Higino Carneiro, appoints Reverend Huambo to the position of Administrator of the Urban District of the University City. Reverend Huambo’s devotion to the MPLA, which has held power for the past 41 years, can be assessed from remarks he made in December: “The red in the MPLA flag symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ”. And this: “The MPLA is the party blessed […]

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