Angola Peace Monitor - DOC by tyndale


									      Angola Peace Monitor                                                   Issue no.9, Vol.XIV
                                                                             July 2008
      Published by ACTSA

Constitutional Court set up                       registration. This followed earlier grants of
                                                  $200,000 and $100,000 for costs during the
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos on 24           registration period.
June swore into office the seven judges that
make up the newly created Constitutional          To register as a political party it is necessary
Court, which is to adjudicate on issues related   to collect the signatures of 75,000 citizens
to the constitution, elections, and issues        over the age of 18. In 2007 the Supreme
relating to political parties.                    Court deregistered 19 parties after finding that
                                                  many of the signatures were fraudulent. It is
The legislation setting up the Constitutional     doubtful that many of the remaining parties
Court was adopted by the country’s                would survive a rigorous analysis of their
parliament, the National Assembly, on 10          activities by the Constitutional Court.
June, during which the Assembly elected
three judges to sit on the Court. One further     In order to take part in the election, parties will
judge is chosen by a plenary session of the       need to collect a minimum of 500 signatures
Supreme Court. The President chooses the          in each province, with a total of not less than
other members.                                    14,000 signatures. This is going to prove to be
                                                  too difficult for many of the smaller parties that
There are currently several issues relating to    have no organisational capacity, or are
political parties that need to be dealt with by   regionally based.
the Court.
                                                  Those parties that take part in the election will
In an important issue requiring a judgement,      face closure if they fail to get more than 0.5
one of the historic liberation movements, the     per cent of the vote.
FNLA, has an unresolved internal crisis. The
conflict arises from the refusal of the founder   The chief judge of the Constitutional Court is
of the movement, the late Holden Roberto, to      Rui Ferreira, and he is joined by Agostinho
cede power to others within the party. After      Antonio dos Santos, Luzia de Almeida
Roberto’s death in August 2007, Ngola             Sebastiao, Maria Imaculada Melo, Miguel
Kabangu was elected to replace him.               Correia, Ifigenia Lima Clemente and Onofre
However, that election is not recognised by       Martins dos Santos
the wing of the party led by Lucas Ngonda.
There cannot be two parties operating under       MPLA questions election day
the same name, so the Constitutional Court        decision
will have to decide which faction gets to call
themselves the FNLA.                              The ruling MPLA has questioned the decision
                                                  of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos to hold
In another case awaiting a decision, the Social   the legislative elections on one day only. On 4
Renewal Party (PRS) is being challenged by        June President dos Santos called the
its former leader, Antonio Mauchicungo, over      elections for 5 September, and he stated that
his expulsion a dozen years ago.                  this should only run over to two days in
                                                  exceptional circumstances when not everyone
Another pressing issue is the need to confirm     gets the opportunity to vote on the first day.
that the many political parties operating in
Angola are abiding by the law, and that they      Speaking at a rally on 15 June,
are entitled to receive the generous state        parliamentarian Norberto dos Santos stated
subsidy. In March it was announced that each      that the MPLA would raise the issue in
of the 108 registered political parties was       parliament.
going to be awarded $75,000 to cover the cost
of supervising the updating of the electoral
Electoral Commission to train                           June the Luanda Provincial Committee put
250,000 clerks                                          forward a list of five candidates and five
                                                        substitute   candidates.    The   substitute
The huge task of training the officials that are        candidates are to be used in cases such as
going to run September's elections is                   the    death   or   resignation of   sitting
underway.                                               parliamentarians.

On 24 June the National Electoral                       Where the Central Committee decided the
Commission (CNE) approved the guidelines                MPLA's list, the UNITA list is to be approved
for the training of the polling station staff.          by its leader Isaias Samakuva. He too is
                                                        expected to include a number of non-UNITA
The training programme was launched on 23               candidates to broaden the party's appeal.
June at a ceremony led by the head of the               Although names have not yet been released,
CNE, Caetano de Sousa. In his opening                   it is expected that this will include a number of
remarks he revealed that the polling stations           "civil society" representatives.
will be staffed by 256,000 people, all of whom
must be trained.                                        The FNLA has also been holding provincial
                                                        meetings to select candidates on 26 June it
The method used will be to train trainers, who          held a meeting in Cabinda to chose
then will fan out across the country to impart          candidates. On 30 June a similar meeting was
their knowledge so that all the electoral               held in Zaire province. The final list is to be
personnel have sufficient knowledge about the           drawn up at the FNLA national conference in
electoral     legislation,    including     an          Luanda.
understanding of the role of observers and
monitors.                                               The Cabinda Forum for Dialogue has decided
                                                        not to stand in the elections. The decision was
Around the country the local electoral                  announced on 28 June by its president,
commissions      are      continuing    their           Antonio Bento Bembe, who explained that the
preparations. On 28 June a ceremony took                Forum is still in the process of transforming
place in Bie province for the opening of the            itself into a political party.
headquarters of Kuito's municipal election
office.                                                 Meanwhile, the Social Renewal Party (PRS)
                                                        on 25 June launched its manifesto in Luanda.
Meanwhile, in Kwanza Norte province the
provincial electoral commission has been                Rail line reopened
checking its readiness for polling day by
checking the status of preparations in ten              The railway service between Luanda and
districts.                                              Malanje was reopened on 24 June after a
                                                        break of 16 years. The 400-kilometre line was
Parties select candidates                               destroyed during the civil war. Work is still
                                                        being carried out on the stations that will deal
Political parties have been selecting their lists       with passengers once the service is
of candidates for September's elections.                relaunched in August.

The two main contenders, the MPLA and                   The rehabilitation of the line was carried out
UNITA, have been holding meetings around                by China Railway 20 Bureau over a three-year
the country to select candidates.                       period, and included branches to Zenza do
                                                        Itombe and Dondo.
On 27 June the ruling MPLA held a meeting of
its Central Committee to draw up its list in the        The reconstruction of the railways is part of
light of suggestions from the provinces. As a           the huge investment in infrastructure, which
result there will be a huge difference in its           last year totalled $7 billion. Investment in
parliamentarians in September. Only 39 of its           industry is expected to total $6.5 billion
current 129 parliamentarians will be standing           between 2009 and 2013 according to Angola's
for re-election, reflecting a desire by the party       industry minister, Joaquim David. Most of this
to bring in new faces. There will be an                 would be from private sources, although the
increase in the number of female candidates,            state is expected to contribute $800 million.
and a number of non-party candidates will               Government projections suggest that the
also be brought into the parliament.                    growth in the sector will directly result in
                                                        70,000 new jobs with a further 200,000 jobs
Some of the candidates were put forward by              created indirectly.
the provincial committees of the party. On 24

OECD report positive about                             The report points out that the government
economic growth                                        reached an agreement with the International
                                                       Fund for Agricultural Development to provide
This year's Africa Economic Outlook,                   $45 million to 200 000 farmers to strengthen
published by the OECD, African Development             agricultural production and investment.
Bank    and United     Nations Economic                However, the report warns that there are still
Commission for Africa, has given a positive            large obstacles to agricultural development,
reading to Angola's economic record.                   including a lack of credit and the thorny issue
However, it states, "higher growth than                of land titles.
expected has not brought poverty levels
down".                                                 The agriculture sector is receiving a lot of
                                                       interest from outside investors. The report
According to the authoritative report, the             mentions the fact that Angola is on course to
Angolan economy grew by almost 20 per cent             become one of the most important African
last year, an increase over the 18.6 per cent          producers of biofuels following the agreement
growth achieved the previous year. The                 to invest $200 million on a 30,000-hectare
growth was largely the result of record high oil       sugarcane plantation.
prices, but the report points out that the non-
oil sector also performed well "notably                According to the report, to tackle the high cost
construction, agriculture, manufacturing and           of living the government has been focussing
financial services".                                   its attention on supporting the expansion of
                                                       trade outlets that is due to result in the
The report found that the annual inflation rate        opening of 10,000 retail sales outlets, 163
has remained steady over the last two years            municipal markets, 31 "Nosso Super"
at around 12 per cent.                                 supermarkets and 8 distribution centres. This
                                                       could create 200,000 jobs by 2012.
The analysis predicts that growth will slow to
11.5 per cent this year and 5.1 per cent in            The authors of the report doubt that the
2009. This would be the result from Angola             government will be able to reach its target for
slowing down its growth in oil production to           public investment due to a lack of capacity. As
meet OPEC quotas of 1.9 million barrels a              a result it is expected that the government will
day. However, it is expected that the non-oil          have a large surplus of 9.2 per cent of GDP.
sector will continue to expand rapidly.                To deal with these constraints the government
                                                       has launched a pilot scheme to fund 68 of the
This growth will be driven by the need for the         country's 167 municipalities to accelerate the
country to continue its reconstruction. The            delivery of basic services.
report expects that new sources of funding for
this reconstruction will become available as a         The      OECD      report  also    mentions
result of the country reaching agreement with          improvements in the control of government
the Paris Club creditors on its external debt.         expenditure including the computerisation of
                                                       expenditure management, and the auditing of
The oil sector will continue to dominate the           the state oil company Sonangol.
economy, and the report states "the
challenges ahead are the continued                     The unemployment rate is estimated to have
development of the private sector (particularly        fallen from 39.8 per cent in 2002 to 25.2 per
in non-extractive sectors), poverty reduction          cent in 2006. According to the report 3 million
and improvement in access to basic services".          new jobs are to be created in 2007 and 2008
It continues, "failure to spread the benefits of       (this does not seem possible as the population
growth could cause increasing social                   of Angola is estimated to be around 13
tensions".                                             million).

On a more positive note, the report found that         The reports concludes that the impact of
with the return of displaced people and the            growth on poverty has "probably been
rehabilitation of rural infrastructure, the            favourable" with living conditions "probably
agricultural sector is gradually recovering with       improved due to the increase in employment
a growth rate of 9.3 per cent during the 2006-         (stemming from an expansion of private and
2007 agricultural season (and it is estimated          public investment), the reintegration of
that the current season will show a growth of          displaced people into the workforce and a
12.5 per cent). The government has made this           renascent agricultural sector".
a priority for public investment due to its
importance for employment and poverty

Angolan led observers criticise                        the widespread rallies and promotional
Zimbabwe election                                      material of the ruling ZANU-PF and the
                                                       disruption of the MDC opposition campaign
The      Southern      African    Development          and the "regrettable inaction of the law
Community (SADC) observer mission to the               enforcement agencies, despite the court order
presidential run-off in Zimbabwe has released          authorising such rallies". It also complained of
its preliminary statement, which concluded,            one-sided coverage of one candidate on the
"the elections did not represent the will of the       part of the state media.
people of Zimbabwe". This conclusion was
presented by the head of the observer team,            The observer team also condemned
Jose Marcos Barrica, who is the Angolan                pronouncements     by     both    Presidential
Minister of Youth and Sports.                          candidates to the effect that they would not
                                                       accept and respect the results of the
There had been speculation that the mission            elections.
would be affected by Angola's close friendship
with Zimbabwe, but the statement made clear            The observers also reported being harassed
that the team found that the elections were not        in the course of their duties.
held in line with standards set out by SADC.
                                                       Although the election result recorded a large
The Zimbabwean government had invited                  majority for Mugabe, after Tsvangirai pulled
SADC to observe the run-off, and the team              out of the contest, the observers note that
arrived in Harare on 28 May. The observer              some spoiled ballot papers slogans written on
mission was made up of 413 members, and                them such as "No to dictatorship" an
was deployed in all the ten provinces.                 expression of voter dissatisfaction at how the
                                                       elections were conducted. It also noted the
The run-off follows the election in April that         low turn out, which could be interpreted as a
failed to select an outright winner after the          massive response to the boycott called by the
Zimbabwe Election Commission announced                 MDC.
that Morgan Tsvangirai had gained 47.9 per
cent of the vote compared with Robert                  In a sign of the magnitude of the conflict, the
Mugabe's 43.2 per cent.                                observer statement "wishes to express its
                                                       profound sympathy to those Zimbabwean
The observer mission found that the period             families who have lost their loved ones and
leading up to the run-off election was                 their property".
"characterized by politically motivated violence
resulting in loss of life, damage to property,         The observer mission kept in close contact
and serious injuries sustained and hindering           with the observer missions organised by the
political activities".                                 African Union (AU) and the Pan-African
Although the statement does not attribute
blame for this violence, it points out that "on        The Pan-African Parliament mission in its
numerous occasions victims of politically              statement released on 29 June also found that
motivated violence allege that the security            the elections were neither free nor fair, with an
forces did very little to stop the violence of         electoral campaign "marred by high levels of
arrest the perpetrators of violence".                  intimidation, violence, displacement of people,
                                                       abductions, and loss of life".
In terms of the elections, the observers found
that "politically motivated violence led to the        The mission pointed out that "hate speech,
internal displacement of persons and                   incitement of violence and war rhetoric
impacted negatively on the full participation of       instilled fear and trepidation amongst voters.
citizens in the political process and freedom of       Statements made by esteemed leaders in
association".                                          Zimbabwe make it difficult to dismiss claims of
                                                       state-sponsored violence and it is highly
The observers found a stark contrast between           regrettable".

                       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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