Close general elections in Angola

Close general elections in Angola

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Fourteen million Angolans elect their deputies and the President of the Republic on Wednesday, August 24. Seven political parties and a coalition are presented. But the battle for power will once again be between the MPLA and the Unita, who fought during more than 25 years of civil war. The MPLA has governed without opposition since the country’s independence, but the game seems more open in these elections.

By Gaëlle Laleix, special envoy to Luanda

“The time is now!” shouts Aldaberto Costa Junior, a Unita candidate, before the thousands of supporters who came to see him at his last rally, in the Cassenda district.

This time Unita is convinced that political change is at the end of the road. Adalberto Costa junior himself acknowledges that “the planets have aligned” in her favor.

60 years old, charismatic and a good speaker, he has come to the head of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). By dusting off the image of the old guerrilla group, he has managed to win the sympathy of an important part of the youth.

Adalberto Costa Junior has also joined his candidacy with other opposition parties. Among them: CASA-CE of Abel Chivukuvuku, which obtained 10% of the votes in the 2017 elections.

The MPLA in decline

On the other hand, Joao Lourenço, the outgoing president, is in trouble. The one who was appointed by José Eduardo dos Santos as his successor has disappointed. Throughout his campaign, he highlighted his achievements and, in particular, his economic history: infrastructure construction, market opening, search for foreign investors… but the promised development is not there. Worse yet, the country has been suffering from the effects of the 2016 oil crisis and the Covid-19 crisis for some time. Currently, 40% of the population still lives in extreme poverty.

Another disappointment is its fight against corruption. Joao Lourenço made him the core of his campaign in 2017. To show his determination, he staged a real hunt against the family of Eduardo dos Santos, his mentor. But the operation did not have the expected judicial consequences and isolated the president from the MPLA apparatus, Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola.

“This electoral campaign was one of the most competitive since 1992,” explains political scientist Nelson Domingos. “So much so that Joao Lourenço sometimes stumbles. In a speech he described civil society as bandits”, continues Nelson Domingos. “Then he called Aldaberto Costa Junior a white rooster because he is mestizo. A clearly racist statement. When there is no creativity, no ideas, the political debate disappears and is replaced by violence, manipulation and false information”.

Since 1992, the MPLA has lost about 10% of the vote in each presidential election. In 2017 the party did not obtain a majority in Luanda, the capital.


Another difficulty for the MPLA is the credibility of these elections, which has already been highly questioned. “This time, cheating will pay,” warned Abel Chivukuvuku, president of CASA-CE, running mate of Adalberto Costa Junior’s candidate.

During his last meeting, the Unita candidate announced that he had already filed several official complaints to denounce the malfunctioning of the electoral process. Specifically, 2.7 million deceased people are registered on the voter list.

“It is a fact”, confirms Jorge Carlos Fonseca, former president of Cape Verde and head of the observer delegation of the CPLP, the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries. “The Minister of Territorial Administration gave us a technical explanation. He believes that this It’s not a danger because the dead don’t vote, and each party has observers at the polling stations,” he says.

However, this year the National Electoral Commission has only authorized 2,000 civil society observers to monitor the elections, for 26,000 polling stations. For this reason, the opposition and civil society organizations have launched the “voto, sento” (I vote, I stay) movement, asking each voter to ensure that these elections are followed up.

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