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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MPLA Gives Opposition a Beating

As Angola prepares for next year’s general election, reports are already emerging of acts of political violence. Representatives of opposition parties attempting to scrutinize the electoral registration process have alleged they were subjected to intimidation and violence in the village of Luremo, in the northeastern province of Lunda Norte. “Village chief Ngana Mussanga, who is an MPLA member, turned up with 20 young men wielding staves. They slapped my face, and then I was grabbed, thrown to the ground where they held me down by my hands and feet while the chief beat me around the head, and the back.” The victim, UNITA member Pedro Muiungulenu Zambicuari, says the incident took place on September 8. The UNITA man had been assigned to check the electoral registration process. “It was barely 8.30 in the morning when the village chief first showed up. He asked my name and where I was from. […]

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The MPLA’s election plan

The action plan for the electoral campaign of the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which formally starts on July 31, contains strategies that need to be made plain for all to see, in the interests of peace, political stability, and the distinction between party and state. For the first phase of the campaign, MPLA defines the need to pay special attention “critical areas to ensure order and tranquillity among voters”. To this end, MPLA envisages to “instruct activists, sympathizers and friends of the MPLA and other voters not to take part in any actions that may suggest electoral impropriety, and to refrain from practising any kind of violence against other political parties or their activists.” It also underscores the need to “denounce political parties, civil society organizations and citizens who incite voters to violence, disturbance or electoral fraud.” The communications and security committee of MPLA’s electoral […]

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General Zé Maria’s Partisan Plot to Destabilize the Army

For the last few months the head of Angola’s Military Intelligence and Security Service (SISM), General António “Zé” Maria, has created a secret discussion group aimed at fostering a climate of instability within the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA), in such a way as to justify purges. This strategy is known as the “purification of the FAA”. The scheme also aims to divert attention away from the ever-deteriorating socio-economic situation of most Angolan citizens and the government’s inability to deal with it. It also serves as a distraction from the uncertainty over when and how President dos Santos will relinquish power. Maka Angola has learnt from insiders that the other main participants in the discussion group are the Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Patriotic Education, General Egídio de Sousa Santos “”Disciplina””, and Lieutenant-General João António Santana “Lungo” of the Security Studies Office within the Intelligence Bureau of the Presidency. […]

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The Attempted Coup in Angola

The second-in-command of the Angolan National Police, Chief-Commissioner Paulo de Almeida, recently surprised many Angolans when he claimed there had been a coup attempt against President José Eduardo dos Santos. Interviewed by the Angolan Catholic broadcaster Rádio Ecclésia shortly before Christmas, Chief-Commissioner Almeida said the demonstration that took place on November 23, in protest at the deaths of political activists Cassule and Kamulingue, had ulterior motives. “We have proof that [the demonstration] was in order to seize power. We have proof that it was an attack on power,” he said. “This was not a demonstration.” He said that the demonstration had been repressed in order to prevent a seizure of power, and insisted that the various attempted demonstrations that have taken place in Angola since 2011 have not been peaceful. From his point of view, the idea of a peaceful demonstration is simply an excuse for grabbing power. I enjoyed […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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General Paihama: the Regime’s Firebrand

By Nelson Sul d’Angola   As a member of the MPLA’s Political Bureau, General Kundi Paihama, presided over an electoral rally held in the Ombaka National Stadium in the province of Benguela on August 4. Since the first multi-party elections were held in 1992, it has always been General Paihama’s role to coordinate the MPLA’s election campaign in Benguela, due particularly to his inflammatory rhetoric. General Paihama, who is the minister for Former Combatants and War Veterans, incited an audience of over 30,000 people. He employed the type of language used in the civil war, and that of a constructive MPLA in contrast to a destructive UNITA. In his speech, the general made reference to the incident which took place last Friday, and which culminated in acts of physical violence by UNITA militants against the MPLA provincial delegate for Education, in a dispute over the placement of campaign banners and posters. […]

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Scuffles and Arrests During Electoral Campaign in Benguela

By António Capalandanda,   The National Police, arrested Calisto Kavoli, the municipal secretary of UNITA for the province of Benguela, during a dispute which took place last Friday, between militants from his party and MPLA supporters, over the placement of election posters in Benguela. At around 2 PM, a group of over 20 members of Revolutionary Youth of Angola (JURA), the youth branch of UNITA, approached the Rotunda da Cruz Vermelha [Red Cross Roundabout], in the city of Benguela, and began tearing up MPLA pamphlets there. According to a report printed in the officious Jornal de Angola, the first secretary of the MPLA in Benguela, Armando da Cruz Neto, “deplored the attitude of UNITA leaders and militants.” In a public event which took place on August 4, the MPLA leader and governor of Benguela said, referring to the occurrence: “I cannot believe that after 10 years of peace, there are […]

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