Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Full coverage of the Angolan Foreign Minister’s visit to the UK

February 26, 2012

After decades of domestic conflict a formerly inward-looking Angola is opening up to Africa and the world. Angola is an emerging regional and continental power with increasing ambitions and presence in Africa. At the same time Angola is seeking to diversify its international relations in a multipolar world without neglecting traditional key relationships. The Minister speaks on Angola’s policy agenda for Africa, Angola’s traditional alliances, and the opportunities and tensions that its emergence in Africa may create with other international partners. The transcript is available from the Chatham House website.

For more information please contact the Chatham House  Members Events Team.

Angola: Development leads to demands

February 14, 2012

By Louise Redvers in Luanda

The government is using its oil revenues to build new cities and hire more teachers, but hundreds of people are taking to the streets calling for political change.

The bay of Luanda is being transformed. New pedestrian- and jogger friendly pathways weave past patches of lush green grass, and a giant concrete flyover has thinned the once-notorious traffic jams that clogged the entrance onto the peninsula known as the Ilha.

After dark, wealthy Angolans and expatriates flock to waterside restaurants to sip overpriced cocktails and enjoy the view of the ever-expanding skyline. More………..

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Angola

February 3, 2012

By Shrikesh Laxmidas

LISBON Jan 10 (Reuters) – Long-serving Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is expected to confirm later this month that he will lead his MPLA party in a general election in the third quarter of the year.

This is unlikely to dispel intense speculation over a possible future successor to the 69-year-old leader, who is the second longest-serving ruler in Africa after Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

With Dos Santos apparently ready to go ahead with a re-election bid, the focus is on the MPLA’s choice for No. 2 on its candidate list for the election to be announced this month. This may signal the choice of a successor.

Anti-government protests last year showed that Angolan youths, inspired by uprisings in North Africa that toppled several leaders, are ready to take their grievances about human rights, social conditions and high unemployment to the streets.

But Angolan authorities have demonstrated they are willing to respond with force.

On the economic front, technical problems in oil production have led the government to slash its growth estimate for 2011, highlighting the need to diversify the economy.

 More………………

 

Angola – Assesssing Risks to Stability

December 20, 2011

 

A CSIS Report  by  Alex Vines and Markus Weimer, July 2011

Download paper here
  • Angola’s commodity-based economy is tied to global oil and diamond prices, and is thus highly susceptible to exogenous shocks. The ability of the government to diversify the economy and open the business environment to attract investment in other sectors, such as agriculture, will be vital to ensuring long-term stability.
  • Urban poverty is a source of social strife. The ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) will need to improve service delivery and quicken the pace of social reform to stave off potential unrest.
  • If mismanaged, the task of choosing a successor to President José Eduardo dos Santos could spark a destabilizing power struggle within the MPLA.

This is a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) report

Angola’s Eduardo Dos Santos offers help to Portugal

November 19, 2011

Angola is prepared to help its former colonial power Portugal cope with its financial crisis, the oil-rich nation’s President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos said.

After meeting visiting Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, he said solutions needed to be found. They should be “advantageous for both countries” and “in a spirit of solidarity and mutual help”, he said.

Analysts say Portugal’s economy is expected to contract by 2.8% next year and Angola’s to grow by 12%. More…….

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Angola

November 10, 2011

By Shrikesh Laxmidas

LISBON Nov 8 (Reuters) – The ruling MPLA’s December Central Committee meeting will be closely watched after media reports suggested long-serving President Jose Eduardo dos Santos had chosen a successor and may step down before or one year after a 2012 general election.

The weekly Novo Jornal said in September dos Santos had selected Manuel Vicente, head of state oil company Sonangol, as his successor, but a party spokesman said no decisions had been taken and the party would appoint its candidate in December.

Meanwhile, several anti-government protests organised this year show Angolan youths are ready to air their grievances about human rights, social conditions and high unemployment but also that the authorities are willing to respond with force.

On the economic front, technical problems in oil production have led the government to slash its growth forecast for this year, highlighting the need to diversify the economy. More…….

Reuters: FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Angola

April 2, 2011

LUANDA, April 1 (Reuters) – Tension between the ruling MPLA party and the main opposition UNITA party and questions over policy-making are worrying investors in the major African oil-producing nation of Angola.

The MPLA, which emerged victorious from a 27-year civil war against UNITA in 2002, has been accused of corruption and of not doing enough to tackle widespread poverty.

Other concerns include uncertainty about a successor to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and heavy dependence on oil revenue, although the spike in crude prices to above $100 a barrel is likely to alleviate government funding pressure. More…….

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Angola

March 13, 2011

Reuters 1 March 2011

LUANDA, March 1 (Reuters) – Tension between the ruling MPLA party and the main opposition UNITA party and questions over policy-making are worrying investors in the major African oil-producing nation of Angola.

The MPLA, which emerged victorious from a 27-year civil war against UNITA in 2002, has been accused of corruption and of not doing enough to tackle widespread poverty.

Other concerns include uncertainty about a successor to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and heavy dependence on oil revenue, although the spike in crude prices to above $100 a barrel is likely to alleviate government funding pressure. More……

Angola is stirred by the spirit of revolution

March 8, 2011

By Lara Pawson of the Guardian. Original article and subsequent comments are here

It may not be ready for an uprising on the scale of Tunisia or Egypt yet, but the tide is beginning to turn in Angola.

Since Tunisians rose up so heroically two months ago, a great deal has been written about the influence on the rest of the Arab world. Now, the spirit of revolution may be starting to blow south, stirring up protests in pockets of sub-Saharan Africa, too. In Angola, 17 people, including several journalists, were arrested on Monday at the start of a demonstration in Independence Square in the capital, Luanda. The protest began as an internet campaign two weeks ago when an anonymous group of individuals, announcing “a new revolution of the Angolan people”, set up a website calling for an end to the 32-year rule of President José Eduardo dos Santos.

Monday’s short-lived protest in Luanda is in no way comparable with the extraordinary scenes witnessed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Very few protesters showed up. However, people in Luanda say the atmosphere was extremely tense. There was a heavy police presence throughout the city and most people stayed at home fearing trouble. Even senior members of the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which has held onto power since independence in 1975, have been rattled by the surge in criticism.

“Angola is not Egypt. Angola is not Libya. Angola is not Tunisia,” the MPLA provincial secretary to Luanda, Bento Bento, has insisted. He has also accused western intelligence agencies and pressure groups in France, Portugal, Italy, Brussels and the UK of instigating opposition: “They have enacted … a proper operation against Angola, the MPLA and especially our comrade and president, José Eduardo dos Santos.”

In a bid to bolster confidence and outmanoeuvre the critics, MPLA officials organised pre-emptive “pro-peace” rallies across the country on Saturday. State radio said 500,000 supporters took to the streets of Luanda waving MPLA flags, wearing MPLA T-shirts and drinking MPLA-funded beer and fizzy drinks. The Associated Press estimated a lower figure of 20,000 participants. Whatever the number, this was not an authentic outpouring of adoration for the regime. State employees were ordered to attend, and beyond the capital all did not go well. For example, in the north-east diamond-rich province of Lunda Norte, MPLA supporters were attacked by other members of the public, and the provincial governor, Ernesto Muangala, fled to safety.

Meanwhile, in direct contradiction to article 47 of the new Angolan constitution, approved in January 2010, which grants all citizens the right to demonstrate peacefully, Bento Bento announced: “Whoever tries to demonstrate will be neutralised because Angola has laws and institutions and a good citizen understands the laws, respects the country and is a patriot.” The secretary general of the party, Dino Matross, was only marginally more blunt: “Anyone who demonstrates,” he said, “we’re going to get you.”

This is not idle rhetoric. The MPLA has long relied on excessive brutality to quash opposition. As Sousa Jamba, a journalist and member of Angola’s main opposition party, Unita, wrote this week: “The scars of 1977, 1992, etc, have still not disappeared. We have a history in which demonstrations in the streets, particularly in the capital, end in tragedy.”

Jamba is referring to 27 May 1977, when two senior members of the MPLA led an uprising against the administration of President Agostinho Neto. The government’s response – supported by the Cuban army – was extreme. Violent retaliations went on for months, killing thousands – some say tens of thousands – of innocent people. Many men and women were arrested and tortured, and some were held in concentration camps for years. In 1992, following Angola’s first attempt at multiparty elections, civil war erupted once again when Unita leader Jonas Savimbi refused to accept the results. Hundreds of people in Luanda who were thought to have voted for Unita were attacked or killed by MPLA supporters.

This state-sponsored violence, coupled with the fact that the 27-year civil war ended only in 2002, helps explain why opposition parties in Angola have been so reluctant to support this week’s demonstration. Unita leader Isaías Samakuva has described the protest as “a trap” set by the government to test the political temperature of the country. He is also suspicious of the fact the organisers are anonymous. Smaller political parties agree it would be foolhardy to participate in a demonstration called for by unknown figures. The Democratic Block, which comprises several respected political figures, said it would be “extremely naive” to participate in a protest that could lead to the sort of purges that took place in 1977 and 1992.

The response from the political class this week may indicate a growing generation gap within Angolan society. Luaty Beirão, a popular Angolan rapper also known as Ikonoklasta, was one of the protesters arrested on Monday morning. He believes the political parties are out of touch with the majority of Angolan people, and are either too lazy or too old-fashioned to take action for their political beliefs. At a gig on 27 February in Luanda, he called for President Dos Santos to leave power. Each time he did, a large audience of mainly young men chanted “Fora!” (“Out!”). To the delight of his fans, he described the regime as “a son of a bitch government” and ended his performance holding up a banner which read: “Ti Zé Tira o Pé: Tô Prazo Expirou Há Bwé!” (Uncle Zé [the president], get out: your time ran out ages ago!). The crowd erupted into wild applause.

Although Angola is not ready for a revolution like Tunisia’s or Egypt’s, the past week suggests that the tide may be beginning to turn. As Rafael Marques, a journalist with an excellent track record for exposing corruption and human rights abuses across Angola, observes: “Opposition is frail, but unhappiness with the MPLA is overwhelming.” And a new generation is finding its voice.

Angola: Opposition parties’ vigil rejected

March 5, 2011

 

Luanda – The government of Luanda (GPL) rejected on Thursday here the proposal of holding of a vigil of the opposition parties of PDP-ANA, POC and the People’s Party set for 6 March 6 from 4 p.m at Luanda’s Independence Square. According to a press release, which reached Angop on Thursday, the opposition parties wanted to hold the referred vigil accompanied by gospel songs and prayers. The document states that in accordance with what is written in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 6 of Law No. 2/2004 of 21st May on freedom of conscience, cult and religion, an activity that is entitled to religious institutions, and therefore they do not need the notification of any institution, as long as the vigil is held in churches or appropriate places. The document reads that the decision of the coalition in holding the vigil should be reported to the Constitutional Court for its notification.

Source: http://www.portalangop.co.ao/motix/en_us/noticias/politica/2011/2/9/Opposition-parties-vigil-rejected,a8e3285d-5700-491d-bca1-f9af08a5d872.html

Angola Call to Protest Won’t Trigger Revolt, Control Risks Says

March 4, 2011

By Colin McClelland and Candido Mendes – // Mar 4, 2011 2:14 PM GMT

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-04/angola-call-to-protest-won-t-trigger-revolt-control-risks-says.html

Calls to protest against Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos are unlikely to trigger mass demonstrations against the three-decade ruler of sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest oil producer, Control Risks said.

Angola lacks a discontented middle class capable of rallying disaffected groups and sustaining the momentum necessary to force regime change,” the London-based advisers said in a report on its website.

An anonymous call has circulated via the internet, text messages and e-mails urging Angolans to demonstrate at midnight local time on March 6 against Dos Santos, who has ruled the southern African nation since 1979. The move echoes similar protests in North Africa that deposed long-time rulers in Egypt and Tunisia, and sparked a civil war in Libya.

Angola’s ruling party, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, has called for a pro-government rally tomorrow, with supporters to wear white clothes and wave white handkerchiefs. Both rallies come as Luanda, the capital, hosts its annual carnival parades and festivities March 5 to 8.

“The demonstrations are unlikely to lead to any serious deterioration in the security environment,” said Control Risks. “Police are likely to use robust measures to disperse any unsanctioned or disruptive demonstrations.”

Interior Minister Sebastiao Martins said March 1 the government would not tolerate public disorder, government-run newspaper Jornal de Angola reported.

Angola pumps about 1.8 million barrels of oil a day as the second largest crude supplier in sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria. With a booming construction industry since Angola ended a civil war in 2002, Luanda is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most expensive cities while containing millions of poor in makeshift housing.

To contact the reporter on this story: Colin McClelland in Toronto at cmcclelland1@bloomberg.net; Candido Mendes in Luanda, Angola at cmendes6@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

Angolan ruling party calls for march to back president

March 4, 2011

(AFP)
LUANDA — The ruling party in Angola is to organise this weekend a march in support of the regime of President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, shortly before a planned demonstration by his opponents, the state media said Thursday.
The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) aims to organise a “grand patriotic march for peace” on Saturday in the capital to condemn “the wave of disinformation launched on Luanda,” according to the daily Jornal de Angola.
Provincial committees of the MPLA will stage simultaneous rallies of support from the president in several cities, among them Malange, to the east of Luanda, Uige on the north and Huila in the south, according to the Angolan national radio (RNA).
These demonstrations are designed to counter a call for marches against the regime during the night of March 6 to 7, which has been circulating on the Internet, drawing inspiration from the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.
The chief opposition party, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), has said it does not want to take part in any demonstration but backs the movement.
“We encourage and we back all efforts of democratic struggle which remain within the boundaries of the constitution but we shall not be present at this demonstration because we do not know who is organising it,” UNITA member of parliament Alcides Sakala told AFP.
At a ceremony to mark the 35th anniversary of the national police at the start of the week Interior Minister Sebastiao Martins insisted that the police would crack down severely if events got out of control.
“We shall not tolerate any attempt to prejudice public order and security in any way at all on the national territory,” he told state media.
According to a Facebook page called “The Angolan People’s Revolution”, the protest will take place at midnight on March 6 (2300 GMT) at Independence Square in the capital city, Luanda, and throughout the country.
Under the pseudonym Agostinho Jonas Roberto dos Santos — the first names of the leaders of Angola’s three independence movements and the surname of the current president — the organiser called on Angolans to “march with posters demanding the departure of Ze Du (Dos Santos’ nickname), his ministers and his corrupt friends.”
The call has been picked up by several Internet sites, but no opposition or civil society leaders have publicly endorsed the plan, and the Facebook page currently has just 100 members.

Protest plan in Angola draws warning from ruling party

February 25, 2011

(AFP)

LUANDA — An anonymous call for a mass protest in Angola on March 6 has drawn a warning from the ruling MPLA party, which threatened to take “serious measures” against anyone seeking power in the streets.

Rumours have been circulating on the Internet for several days of a protest against President Jose Eduardo dos Santos who has been in power since 1979.

According to a Facebook page called “The Angolan People’s Revolution”, the protest will take place at midnight on March 6 (2300 GMT) at Independence Square in the capital city, Luanda, and throughout the country.

Under the pseudonym Agostinho Jonas Roberto dos Santos — the first names of the leaders of Angola’s three independence movements and the surname of the current president — the organiser called on Angolans to “march with posters demanding the departure of Ze Du (Dos Santos’ nickname), his ministers and his corrupt friends.”

The call has been picked up by several Internet sites, but no opposition or civil society leaders have publicly endorsed the plan, and the Facebook page currently has just 100 members.

A spokesman for the MPLA, the party that has ruled Angola since independence in 1975, declined to comment on the planned protest, saying there was “nothing formal” about it.

“There are a lot of lies and a lot of truths on the Internet. We only comment on serious matters,” MPLA spokesman Rui Falcao Pinto de Andrade told AFP in a telephone interview Tuesday.

But the party’s secretary general on Sunday issued a call on state radio “not to confuse what is happening in north Africa with the reality of Angola”.

“In these circumstances (a protest), serious measures can be taken, because power cannot be in the streets,” said Juliao Mateus Paulo Dino Matross.

Source

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Angola

February 2, 2011

Feb 1, 2011 11:23am GMT |

LUANDA Feb 1 (Reuters) – Tension between the ruling MPLA party and the main opposition UNITA party and questions over policy-making are worrying investors in the major African oil-producing nation of Angola.

The MPLA, which emerged victorious from a 27-year civil war against UNITA in 2002, has been accused of corruption and of not doing enough to tackle widespread poverty.

Other concerns include uncertainty about a successor to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and heavy dependence on oil revenue, although the return of crude towards $100 a barrel is likely to alleviate government funding pressure. More……….

Border Focus: Angola and DRC

December 12, 2010

What is disputed?

The irregular shape of both Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has resulted in numerous conflicts between the two countries.

Many of the problems come from the fact than Angola is divided in two by a narrow strip of DRC territory. This narrow piece of territory is DRC’s only access to the sea, giving it a coastline of only 37miles. Angola’s territory north of DRC is an exclave, Cabinda, a region that has been engaged in a secession dispute for over 30 years.

Angola and DRC have both land and maritime disputes, and while they seem to be inching towards resolution on both fronts, continued political instability in the DRC and expulsions of nationals from both countries means full resolution is probably still many years away. More……..

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Angola

December 4, 2010

LUANDA Dec 1 (Reuters) – Rising tension between the ruling MPLA party and the main opposition UNITA party and questions over policy-making are worrying investors in the major African oil-producing nation of Angola.

The MPLA, which emerged victorious from a 27-year civil war against UNITA in 2002, has been accused of corruption and of not doing enough to tackle widespread poverty.

Other concerns include uncertainty about a successor to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and heavy dependence on oil revenue, feeding demands for more transparency as Angola tries to regain investor confidence after the global financial crisis. More…..

Angola closes its consulate in Washington over a banking row with US

November 20, 2010

The Angolan consulate in Washington has closed as a result of the US authorities closing the Angolan Embassy’s bank account in a row over money laundering regulations. The Angolans may need to close the consulates in Houston, New York and their mission to the United Nations for the same reasons.

37  diplomatic missions in the US have had their accounts closed. The deepening row means that US citizens are not able to obtain visas for Angola from the consulate. The Angolan Ambassador to the US has been recalled to Luanda for consultations and according to this news report (in Portuguese), the Angolans may take reciprocal actions affecting the US Embassy and multi national companies operating in Angola. 

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Angola

September 2, 2010

 By Henrique Almeida LUANDA, Sept 1 | Wed Sep 1, 2010 8:46am EDT

(Reuters) – Angola’s ruling MPLA party emerged victorious from a 27-year civil war in 2002 promising a better life for Angolans but this dream is fading as corruption is rife and the government is seen failing to help the poor.

Despite their nation’s vast oil resources, millions of Angolans live in poverty with an estimated two-thirds of people in the country living on less than $2 a day.

Other problems include uncertainty around a possible successor to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, liquidity problems in the banking sector and heavy dependence on oil.

Many of the issues feed demands for more government transparency and accountability as Angola tries to regain investor confidence after the global financial crisis. More……….

Angola and DR Congo: Gas troubles flare

August 21, 2010

A delegation from US oil giant Chevron visited Kinshasa several weeks ago to discuss the building of a natural gas pipeline from its Block 0 off the Cabinda coast (see map) to Soyo in northern Angola. Initially the pipeline was supposed to go through the water, but it turned out to be too expensive, so the pipeline will have to cross Congolese territory around the mouth of the Congo river. According to some people close to the meeting, the Congolese government demanded a huge sum of money, a sum so large that Chevron had to walk away and the Angolan government, who is helping develop the $4 billion plant in Soyo, was reportedly furious. The Angolans reportedly said something like: “After everything we have done for the Congo, this is how you thank us?” More….

Amnistia Internacional lançou um apelo para a libertação em Angola de um grupo de mais de 30 prisioneiros, na província da Lunda Norte

August 14, 2010

O grupo de direitos humanos Amnistia Internacional lançou um apelo para a libertação em Angola, por motivos de saúde, de um grupo de mais de 30 prisioneiros, alguns deles detidos há mais de um ano na província da Lunda Norte.

O grupo encontra-se detido na unidade prisional do Conduege, no Dundo, a capital provincial, por crimes contra a segurança do Estado, segundo a correspondente da BBC em Luanda, Louise Redvers. Mais…..