Angola Peace Monitor - ACTSA.doc by zhaonedx


									      Angola Peace Monitor                                                   Issue no.5, Vol.XIV
                                                                             March 2008
      Published by ACTSA

Samakuva warns of election problems                conformity with the Law. It needs to have full
Since becoming President of UNITA in 2003          access to the data base and perform its duty
Isaias Samakuva has sought to transform            before the new registration starts in April. Voter
UNITA from a guerrilla movement into a solely      rolls need to be published and certified in a
political party. UNITA once had widespread         timely, professional and transparent fashion".
backing in western nations including from
apartheid South Africa, but its founder leader     Samakuva raised doubts as to whether the
Jonas Savimbi's refusal to accept the results      remaining tasks can be completed properly
of the 1992 elections and flouting of              before September. He accepted that much
international law ended in international           had been done, with tenders out for
sanctions and pariah status. Savimbi was           purchasing the election material and setting
killed in 2002. Isaias Samakuva has been           up the 13,000 election stations. But he pointed
carefully rebuilding its international image and   out that the recruitment, selection and training
his calm style contrasts starkly with Savimbi's    of over 300,000 electoral agents who will
bellicose sabre-rattling.                          operate the voting stations has not yet started.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Angola        The UNITA president also raised questions
Peace Monitor, Samakuva warned that much           about the independence of the CNE, and
remains to be done for this year's                 complained that "the Law obliges the CNE to
parliamentary elections to be a success, but       invite political parties to attend their meetings,
pledged that should UNITA win elections the        which shall be public: we are still waiting for
economy "will continue to flourish".               such an invitation".

Isaias Samakuva revealed that he has been in       On the question of whether President dos
contact with the leader of the FLEC faction        Santos was right to stagger parliamentary and
that is continuing its guerrilla struggle for      presidential elections, Samakuva argued that
independence for the Cabindan province. He         delaying the presidential elections will mean
stated that "Nzita Tiago, the leader of FLEC,      that "the institution President da Republica will
has approached me to find an inclusive, real       continue to 'illegitimate' for one more year".
peaceful solution for Cabinda", and that he        The effect is that this "non-elected institution"
has offered his help to Angola's president,        will head the Council of Ministers (the Angolan
Jose Eduardo dos Santos.                           Cabinet) after the parliamentary elections.

Samakuva had several complaints about the          Although UNITA is by far the largest opposition
manner in which the voter registration process     party, it is seeking an electoral union to avoid
has been carried out in preparation for this       splitting the vote. Samakuva argued that "the
September's parliamentary elections. He            Angolan people are tired of 30 years of social
pointed out that the CIPE, which is the            exclusion, bad management and corruption. In
government body in charge of voter                 every corner of the country people call out for
registration, has not yet published the names      change. As a leading party, UNITA's role is to
of the voters – contrary to the law. He also       find convergence and synergies to avoid the
argued that 72,000 registered voters have not      dispersion of the vote for change. The form
yet received their voter ID cards.                 that these convergences will take may include
                                                   pre-electoral or post-electoral alliances,
The independent body in charge of the              agreements on common policies or the
elections, the National Electoral Commission,      integration of small parties into a bigger party.
CNE, has received the voter rolls from the         These discussions are underway".
CIPE. But according to Samakuva the "CNE is
unable to certify these because voter rolls are    Samakuva was optimistic that UNITA will do
in a non-verifiable, PDF format. The CNE           well in the elections, pointing out that recent
cannot perform random tests to assert              independent opinion polls indicate that "UNITA
will be favoured by the massive dissatisfaction           Electoral Commission              meets      to
of the Angolan people with current government             draw up strategic plan
policies and the lack of a leadership sensitive           The National Electoral Commission, CNE, met
to the peoples needs and aspirations".                    in Luanda in mid February to draw up its
                                                          strategic   plan     for this   September's
In the past UNITA has been portrayed as a                 parliamentary elections.
right-wing political movement with close ties to
the Heritage Foundation in the United States.             One of the key priorities of the meeting was to
It also received support from a diverse range             draw up a budget for buying the necessary
of countries such as apartheid South Africa,              electoral material, which includes the ballot
the Peoples Republic of China and Romania.                papers and ballot boxes. The CNE has been
But under Samakuva it has been moving to                  working on putting together a specifications
seize the political centre, with him characterising       book that will form the basis for the tender for
the party as a social democratic party. He                voting material.
argued that "under a UNITA government the
Angolan economy will continue to flourish, but            The CNE has also been discussing setting up
economic growth will not only be measured by              the electoral civic education campaign to
business statistics but will also be evident in           inform voters how and where to vote. The
the well being of the Angolan people. While               provincial electoral commissions will now
investments from all countries will continue to           discuss civic education.
be welcome, the social path followed by
European Nordic countries will be the right               One thing that the CNE will not be finalising is
model for development".                                   the exact number of polling booths and their
                                                          positions. It will only be working on indicative
Despite this significant shift to the centre,             numbers. This is because the registration
UNITA continues to maintain its links with the            process has not been finalised, with a further
centre-right parties, being a member of the               period in April and May available for people
Centrist Democrat International and the Union             who have newly turned 18 to add their names
of African Political Parties for Democracy and            to the register, along with anyone else who
Development. This puts UNITA alongside                    has not managed to get onto the register.
mainstream parties such as German president
Angela Merkel's CDU and French president
Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP. But it also allies it
                                                          Disarming Civilians
with Gatsha Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha                The Minister of the Interior, Roberto Leal
Freedom Party and Afonso Dhlakama's                       Monteiro "Ngongo", has confirmed that the
Renamo in Mozambique.                                     Ministry of the Interior will soon launch a
                                                          campaign to educate society about the need
Samakuva pointed out that the elections                   to disarm civilians.
would herald the end of the Government of
National Unity and Reconciliation, which was              According to the Angolan news agency
set up in April 1997 to form a multi-party                Ngongo made this announcement on 28
government. However, despite UNITA serving                February at a ceremony marking the 32
in this government over the last eleven years,            anniversary of the National Police.
Samakuva argued that it acted as “the
government of MPLA”. He lamented that                     After the educational campaign there will be a
"social and economic policies are dictated, not           phase in which civilians can hand over illegally
discussed nor agreed upon. Business                       held weapons on a voluntary basis. However,
opportunities, access to State funds, and                 after that phase the Angolan police will take
privatisations are made secretly for the benefit          steps to enforce the law that prohibits the
of a handful of families, all of them connected           holding of unlicensed weapons.
to MPLA. The main investments were
selected to benefit the MPLA social base.                 In 1992, when Jonas Savimbi led UNITA back
UNITA shares a formal presence in GURN,                   to war, having rejected the results of the
but does not share real power".                           elections, the Angolan government distributed
                                                          hundreds of thousands of AK47 assault rifles
Note: The Angola Peace Monitor plans to                   to civilians to fight off a coup attempt in the
feature a series of interviews with leading               capital, Luanda and several other cities.
players in Angola's political scene in the run            During this time atrocities took place as some
up to this September's parliamentary                      people took the opportunity to settle old
elections.                                                scores or attack others for xenophobic

Although there have been several attempts to            accusation and illegal imprisonment of a
recover these weapons, there are still a huge           journalist.
number of illegally held weapons. Last month
Minister Ngongo announced that in 2007                  The case dates back to 2003 when Valentim
8,479 firearms were collected.                          was Minister for Tourism, when Jorge Artur
                                                        Tunda Catende, a journalist with the private
Agricultural inputs for ex soldiers                     paper Folha 8, was arrested after attempting
The programme to reintegrate former UNITA               to interview Valentim. The journalist was
soldiers took another step in February when             arrested, accused of stealing $400 from
the      Institute     of    Socio-Professional         Valentim – even though he had no money in
Reintegration for Ex-combatants (IRSEM)                 his possession – and held for 34 days before
donated agricultural inputs valued at $500,000          being released without charge.
to a project in Huila province.
                                                        The National Assembly refused to suspend
The inputs will help 800 former UNITA                   Valentim on the grounds that the Supreme
soldiers in the districts of Lubango, Chibia and        Court did not give a date for the trial.
Humpata, and includes ploughs, cattle and
seeds.                                                  Valentim was one of the founders of UNITA,
                                                        but broke ranks in 1998 when it became clear
The reintegration programme is intended to              that Jonas Savimbi would not allow a peaceful
help 138,000 former soldiers, including                 settlement to Angola's conflict.
105,000 former UNITA soldiers and 33,000
former government soldiers. As of May 2007              Despite this break, Valentim remains a UNITA
there were 97,390 demobilised former UNITA              parliamentarian. All efforts by the main block
soldiers, of whom 72,165 were receiving                 of UNITA parliamentarians to remove him
reintegration support through 121 projects.             have failed, and in March 2006 UNITA
                                                        expelled him from its ranks.
It is now over six years since the end of the
war and the demobilisation of UNITA soldiers.           Rwanda relations
According to a study published last year by             The relationship between Angola and Rwanda
the Institute for Security Studies – From               strengthened in February with the visit to
Soldiers to Citizens, based on a survey of              Rwanda of Angola's Foreign Minister Joao
former UNITA combatants concluded in 2005,              Bernardo De Miranda. Relations between the
although the majority (77 per cent) considered          two countries were severely affected by the
themselves to be reintegrated into civilian life,       two countries being on opposite sides during
almost half of them still considered                    the civil war in the Democratic Republic of
themselves to be "demobilised" rather than              Congo. This led to accusations that Rwanda
civilians. Only half of the former soldiers had         was supporting the rebel movement of UNITA
received their demobilisation subsidy and 60            prior to the death of its leader, Jonas Savimbi,
per cent had received their demobilisation kit.         in battle in February 2002.

However, an independent evaluation team                 The visit of Joao Miranda to Rwanda follows
working for the funders of the Angola                   the meeting held between the two countries
Demobilization and Reintegration Program                Presidents during the summit in Lisbon of the
found that the program "is achieving its goals,         African Union and the European Union in
especially in relation to the social and                December 2007.
economic reintegration" and "in general, ex-
combatants     and     community      members           The Angolan army was part of the multi-
acknowledge the progress made in their own              national force that, along with Rwanda and
economic and social reintegration and a                 Uganda, helped Laurent Kabila to power in
significant number of beneficiaries say they            1997 after the former president, Mobutu Sese
achieved better social and economic                     Seko, fled the country. Angola objected to the
conditions than the rest of their community".           Congo being used as a rear base for UNITA,
                                                        whilst Rwanda acted against Hutu extremists
Parliament rejects suspension of                        who had fled to the Congo after President
Jorge Valentim                                          Paul Kegame came to power.
On 26 February the Angolan parliament, the
National Assembly, rejected a request by the            According to Rwanda's Foreign Affairs
Supreme Court for the suspension of Jorge               Minister, Charles Murigande, President Jose
Valentim. Such a suspension would allow the             Eduardo dos Santos will visit Rwanda on an
court to call him to answer charges of false            official trip later this year.

PRD re-elects leader                                   MEND leader extradited to Nigeria
The Democratic Renewal Party on 17                     Henry Okah and Eduarto Atata were extradited
February re-elected Luis dos Passos da Silva           from Angola on 14 February following a request
Cardoso as president. The decision took place          from the Nigerian government.
at its third Congress that was held in Luanda.
                                                       Okah is a founding member of the Movement
The party elected Manuel Joaquim Noy da                for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta that
Costa to the position of Secretary General.            has been responsible for attacks on the oil
                                                       industry in the Niger Delta. He was arrested in
In Angola's last presidential elections, held in       Luanda in September 2007 and accused of
1992, Luis Dos Passos received 1.47 per cent           carrying a shopping list of war materiel.
of the vote, putting him in sixth place.
                                                       Okah is expected to appear in court on
Advocacy groups call for                               terrorism charges on 5 March.
investigation into missing millions                    President accredits British Ambassador
Action Place Financière Suisse, Berne
                                                       President dos Santos 25 February formally
Declaration and Global Witness on 12
                                                       accredited Britain's Ambassador Pat Phillips,
February called for the Public Prosecutor and
                                                       who took up her appointment in November
the Investigating Judge of Geneva to take
                                                       2007. Previously she had been Deputy Head
action against the alleged misappropriation of
                                                       of Mission in Amman.
$600 million of Angola oil revenues originally
destined to repay debt to Russia.
                                                       Between 1998 and 2000 she was the Private
                                                       Secretary to Peter Hain when he was Minister
The three organisations state that from 1997
                                                       of State for Africa. During this time Peter Hain
to 2001 $774 million of Angolan oil revenues
                                                       played an important role in getting
were paid into an account at UBS Geneva
                                                       international sanctions imposed on UNITA
belonging to Abalone Investment Limited, a
                                                       with increasing effectiveness. These sanctions
shell company run by businessman Pierre
                                                       weakened the military structures of UNITA
Falcone and his associate Arcadi Gaydamak.
                                                       that along with improvements in the Angolan
These funds were intended to repay Angola’s
                                                       army, led to the military defeat of UNITA.
bilateral debt with Russia.
                                                       The president also formally accredited Han
The groups claim that only $161 million was
                                                       Jae Young of South Korea, Afonso Sena
transferred from Abalone to the Russian
                                                       Cardoso of Brazil, Ismael Obaid Al-ali of the
Ministry of Finance. In a press release the
                                                       United Arab Emirates and Chrissie Mughogho
campaigners repeat allegations from the
                                                       of Malawi.
French satirical magazine Le Canard Enchaine
that the missing funds ended up in the private
accounts of high-ranking Angolan officials.            TAAG hopes to regain flights
                                                       The national airline of Angola, TAAG, hopes
However, despite a two-year investigation in           that in April the European Commission will
Switzerland, the Swiss prosecutors dropped             remove the ban on its flights into Europe.
the case in December 2004.
                                                       TAAG was banned from flying into European
Falcone has strenuously denied any                     airspace in July 2007 on safety and security
wrongdoing, arguing that "Russia received              grounds. Since then it has been working on
every cent of every dollar it was due to               developing systems to conform to European
receive. The two sovereign governments                 standards, with President dos Santos setting
signed an agreement so that, for their mutual          up an Inspection Commission for TAAG.
benefit, they could renegotiate a debt that was
affecting not only the economies of their              On 20 February an evaluation team, headed by
countries but the economic relations that              Roberto Salvani of the European Commission
could be developed between them, and also              and including experts from the European
facilitate Angola’s future access to financial         Aviation Safety Agency and Member States,
markets, as a result of being less indebted".          met with TAAG officials in Luanda.

                       The Angola Peace Monitor is produced every month by
                               ACTSA – Action for Southern Africa.
                       ACTSA, 231 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 1EH
                            tel +44 20 3263 2001, fax +44 207 931 9398


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