Thursday, 4 August 2016

Angola: promise or problem?

A year before next year's general elections, Angola is balanced between a 'promising' and a 'problematic state', according to Abel Chivukuvuku, leader of an opposition coalition which claims to be the country's fastest growing political movement, the Convergência Ampla de Salvação de Angola-Coligação Eleitoral. A former lieutenant of long-time rebel leader Jonas Savimbi, who was killed in 2002, Chivukuvuku founded CASA-CE in 2012 in a bid to break Angola's political logjam.

As economic pressures mount, the governing MPLA lacks the money to win over the electors, said Chivukuvuku at London's Chatham House think-tank on 1 August. Recent clashes between supporters of the MPLA and UNITA point to a resurgence of rivalries as the political payola machine grinds to a halt. In Benguela, UNITA activists disarmed the police and used their weapons against them. Nonetheless, UNITA has been coopted into the post-war political system and is unlikely to revert to military opposition, Chivukuvuku says.

Halting the economic slide is the problem for the MPLA, adds Chivukuvuku, and its congress on 17-20 August will see fresh demands for a more equitable share-out of state resources. Some of that pressure will be directed towards President José Eduardo dos Santos and family, after he announced this year his plans to retire from politics in 2018, just after the elections. The problem with that, says Chivukuvuku, is there is no trusted successor in waiting.

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