News

    Angola's UNITA Party Threatens Protests

    The Unita leader Isaias Samakuva remains optimistic for his party's chances in upcoming elections, despite many challenges
    The Unita leader Isaias Samakuva remains optimistic for his party's chances in upcoming elections, despite many challenges
    Nico Colombant

    After being a U.S.-backed rebellion for decades in Angola, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, or UNITA, is now struggling as a political entity.  Its leader, Isaias Samakuva, is threatening massive street protests if there are no guarantees for free and fair elections expected later this year.  Samakuva spoke at a Washington event on Tuesday.  

    At the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Samakuva said that protests in recent months in Angola have not included UNITA members or supporters.  But he warned that could change soon, if measures are not taken to ensure a credible election.

    "We prefer to work for a peaceful change at the elections," said Samukva. "But if we realize that the government is not willing to have a clear and a transparent electoral process, then we will be in the streets.  This is a possibility now.  We are already mobilizing our people.  And in May, if the government does not change the situation, we will be in the streets."

    Legislative elections could be held by early September.  Following the vote, the leader of the party with the most seats will become president of Angola.

    But there are concerns by UNITA and other groups that the chairperson of the national electoral commission is part of the ruling party and a lawyer, rather than a judge as the law stipulates.  And voter registration began before new electoral legislation was passed.

    In the most recent election, in 2008, the ruling People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA, won more than 80 percent of the vote and 191 of 220 legislative seats.  UNITA won only 16 seats.

    The head of the MPLA, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, has been in office since 1979.

    Samakuva alleges voting during the president 's rule has been repeatedly rigged, but that in recent years UNITA has accepted what Samakuva called "electoral fraud" to preserve peace and stability after three decades of civil war.

    In a speech earlier this month, President dos Santos celebrated 10 years of peace, while repeatedly denying claims the coming elections were being rigged.  He said those who are strong do not need to cheat to win.

    In Washington, Samakuva called on foreign election observers to be accepted and to quickly go to Angola to monitor the entire process.

    "We feel it gives more credibility to the elections and the presence of observers serves as well as a dissuasion measure for the tendency of rigging the elections," he said.

    The UNITA leader said his party's platform will highlight the economic disparities and extreme poverty in Angola, despite the country's production of nearly 2 million barrels of oil per day.

    Samakuva dismissed concerns that UNITA had been weakened by the decision of former party officials, led by Abel Chivukuvuku, to create a new organization, the Convergence of Angolan Salvation.  Samakuva said UNITA has registered some 250,000 new members in recent months, as it prepares to be more competitive in the elections.   

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora