from PEDRO AGOSTO in Luanda, Angola
LUANDA, (CAJ News) – ANGOLA’S ruling party appears headed for victory following polls held on Wednesday but the opposition looks likely to reject the outcome.
This risks fuelling tension in the oil-rich nation.
Provisional results at the time of publishing indicated the governing People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) of the incumbent, Joao Lourenco, was ahead with 52 percent of the vote, ahead of the rival Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), which had 43 percent.
The results are as of the 86 percent of the votes counted by the National Electoral Commission (CNE), a day after 14 million of Angolans were set to vote.
Following elections that were projected to be the closest living to their billing, MPLA is therefore on course to extend its grip on power, which dates back to independence in 1975.
UNITA is already contesting the results.
Abel Chivukuvuku, running mate of UNITA leader, Adalberto Costa Júnior, dismissed the count thus far.
Speaking at a news conference, he alleged the CNE’s results did not tally with those of the party’s.
This also includes results from the Diaspora vote. More than 22 000 voters participated from abroad as the Southern African country for the first time made provision for the Diaspora vote.
Angolans in 12 countries in the continent, Europe and America, participated in polls that featured five other parties.
Speaking at a press conference earlier, CNE spokesman, Lucas Quilundo, expressed the organisation’s confidence in the way it conducted the election.
“Our satisfaction and conclusion that elections were conducted smoothly, transparently and legally are also backed by reports and views of observers,” he said.
There were qualms over the alleged displacement of voters and reduction of the voting period, from 08h00 to 19h00 to 8h00 to 16h00.
Elections came 20 years after MPLA and UNITA secured a peace agreement that ended Africa’s longest civil war (1975-2002). This year also marks 30 years since the advent of multiparty politics.
Among the highlights of the provisional results, UNITA appeared headed for victory in the province of Luanda, where the national capital city of the same name is situated.
“If the results are confirmed in Angola, we may have a very complex situation,” said analyst, Bruno Ferreira Costa.
He added, “(It will signal a) historic victory for UNITA in Luanda, but MPLA winning at national level.”
Sociologist and researcher, Miguel de Barros concurred.
“The provisional results at the level of the capital Luanda, where the opposition wins with more than 60 percent of the votes counted, is a great sign of the world and the mobilization of a youth that increasingly demonstrates its determination to change its destiny,” de Barros stated.
Angola’s population is youthful, with the 0-14 years the largest and the 25-54 years the second most dominant, meaning a majority of the 30 million were born after independence.
“Regardless of the final results, the future parliament should be more dynamic and with democratic debate, having the responsibility to legislate on processes of de-partisanship of the state, paving the way for local elections,” de Barros added.
Partisanship is the legacy of the then-president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who led Angola between 1979 and 2017. He died last month in Spain.
MPLA won 61 percent (150 out of 220 seats in Parliament) to UNITA’s 26,68 percent (51 seats) in the last elections in 2017, when Lourenco came to power.
He straightaway initiated a crackdown on corruption, leading to a fallout with his predecessor.
Lourenco’s pledge to deliver an “economic miracle” has met mixed fortunes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the worst drought in four decades and fragility of the oil sector globally.
– CAJ News