Angola's ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation
of Angola (MPLA) party is
overwhelmingly expected to win last week's parliamentary election with over 80
percent of the votes counted so far. But the main opposition Union for the
Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) disputes the results, saying the balloting
was hugely flawed. UNITA also claimed there were too many irregularities,
including some polling stations opening late or not at all and some
officials failing to properly confirm the identify of voters on the
registration lists. VOA Scott Bobb is monitoring the election as results
trickle in. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from Angola's capital, Luanda that
the ruling party performed well beyond expectations.
electoral commission continues to count the votes from the balloting on Friday
and Saturday. And as of late Sunday night, it had counted more than two thirds
of the ballots. These two thirds of the ballot counted the MPLA, the ruling
party of President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos is way in the lead with more the 80
percent of the total vote, and appears destined to win by a landslide and even
control the next parliament by more than a two- thirds majority," Bobb
He said the main opposition
party performed below expectation in the election.
"UNITA has done more poorly
than in 1992, the last elections when it scored something like 35% and has been
basically struggling along at about 10%. FLNA (National Front for the
Liberation of Angola) has also gone down. Of course, there are some new parties
that have come up. A couple of them are regionally based and one is a group of
middle class intellectuals in Luanda; they are still very small, just one of
two percent of the total votes. But these are what people were looking at last
night," he said.
Bobb said the leader of the
opposition UNITA is not pleased with the way the election was conducted.
leader Isaias Samakuva, on election day called it a mess and said that there
were serious problems. On Sunday, he spoke to reporters and seemed to back down
a bit and he said that they (opposition) had registered their complaints with
the electoral commission that there were many flaws and that he suspected that
perhaps the will of the Angolan people has not been fully respected at the
polls because of this," Bobb noted.
said the opposition UNITA leader called for calm despite his reservation about
"He urged his supporters to remain calm, and
indicated that he would continue to support the process saying there would be
elections in four years time rather than 33 years as before. And that Angola
must go forward and progress and reconstruct. Asked was he formally challenging
the results he said he would wait until the final official tally is released,
which is what he has to do y law," he said.
Bobb said notwithstanding the inconsistencies during the election, most
observers expressed their satisfaction that it was credible.
"We've heard from African observers mostly in the
last 24 hours. First the consortium of or network of Angola observers called
PLATAFORMA or platform that fielded 13 hundred observers all across the country
held a press conference. They noted many irregularities, but mostly logistical
and technical. And they said that however, despite these problems, in their
view the overall will of the people was respected and therefore they delivered
their preliminary seal of approval. SADC (Southern African Development
Community) also delivered similar evaluation, as did the Pan-African
Parliamentary Union, which late Sunday delivered its verdict saying they listed
over a dozen types of problems. But it also included problems of government
patronaging dominance of the news media, but also said that in their view
overall and in general, these were free and fair," Bobb noted.
media reportedly lashed out at the leader of the opposition UNITA saying that
his complaints about unfairness in the parliamentary election amount to sour
grapes and urged him to reconsider for the sake of all Angolans. But others
said it was important that the former rebel group's complaints be investigated.
observers of the election have been watching the vote closely after tarnished
elections in Zimbabwe and Kenya, reportedly hoping that Angola would defy its
own history and emerge from the election with political consensus.