31 janvier 2023

Angola: Following a tight victory, President Lourenço is sworn in for a second term

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Joao Lourenço, the president of Angola, will take the oath of office for a second term on Thursday in Luanda after his party narrowly won the legislative elections in August, which the opposition contested.

On August 24, Angola had its most contested election in history. The leader of the party that wins the most seats in the legislature immediately becomes the head of state in this southern African nation since there are no presidential elections. With 51.17% of the vote, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which has been in power since its independence from Portugal in 1975, won the elections.

The National Union for Independence (Unita), the major opposition group, received 43.95% of the vote. The 68-year-old Mr. Lourenço will take the oath of office during a formal ceremony in the capital's historic Republic Square, which hosted the state burial of his contentious predecessor and former mentor, former President José Eduardo dos Santos, in the middle of election week.

The inauguration is anticipated to draw a number of leaders of state and government, including Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the president of Portugal. Adalberto Costa Junior, the head of Unita, announced on the eve of the event that his party will accept the inauguration of its lawmakers on Thursday despite previously refusing to acknowledge the results of the polls, which he claimed were tainted by "irregularities." Unita appealed the findings in court, but the constitutional court dismissed its appeal earlier this month after finding that there was insufficient justification to do so.

Overuse of police

An AFP journalist saw that there was intense police monitoring on the streets of Luanda on Thursday. On the day of the inauguration of "a president without legitimacy," Unita said that the police, who had been stationed "all throughout the nation and were armed with heavy weapons," were attempting to "intimidate civilians who intended to demonstrate." 

High school student Joao, who only revealed his first name to AFP, said, "I will remain home tomorrow; there are too many police in the city." As a consequence of four of the electoral commission's 16 members refusing to certify the results and international observers from Africa voicing "concerns" about the electoral roll, rights groups have also questioned the fairness of the vote. Adalberto Costa Junior, a charismatic 60-year-old leader of the opposition, earned support by making reform and the fight against poverty and corruption pledges. The electorate of Luanda, which is abundant in natural resources, was won by the opposition.

Despite having a plethora of natural resources, Angola is one of the world's poorest and most unequal nations. Oil money primarily benefits a small elite close to dos Santos, and half of the 33 million Angolans who live in poverty. After being elected, Lourenço astonished many of the leaders of organizations, businesses, and the security apparatus by focusing on dos Santos' family members, notably his daughter Isabel, who was given the moniker "the princess."

Many, though, think the effort was politically driven and biased. A "witch hunt" has been decried by the dos Santos family. The opposition attempted to overturn the 2017 election results, however they were unsuccessful. The opposition attempted to overturn the 2017 election results, however they were unsuccessful.

 

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© Photo Credits : Business Africa Online