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Venâncio Rodrigues

Luanda, Angola
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About Venâncio
Venâncio Rodrigues has been a VOA correspondent journalist since 1996. He has covered major political and military events. He did several reports during the civil war in Angola, until 2002. He participated in several workshops and professional training in Angola and the United States of America
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Angolan analysts classify the UK's sending of migrants to Africa as 'degrading business'

22 Apr 2024  |  www.voaportugues.com
Angolan political analysts in Luanda have criticized the UK government's intention to negotiate the reception of illegal immigrants in other countries as a 'degrading business' that shames Africa and could violate the rights of the individuals concerned. Last week, British media reported that Angola and Cape Verde were on a list of potential countries to be contacted by the UK for this purpose, but both governments have denied any such contact. Legal and international relations expert Sebastião Vinte e Cinco condemned the UK's intention as shameful, while political analyst Ilídio Manuel called it inhumane and urged African governments to address migration issues. Journalist and lawyer Jorge Eurico warned of potential inhumane treatment and human rights violations. The UK House of Commons recently voted on a controversial bill allowing the deportation of migrants to Rwanda, which the Prime Minister intends to proceed with.

UN Department Acted Partially in São Vicente Case, NGOs Say

14 Feb 2024  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan human rights organizations have criticized the United Nations for requesting the release of Angolan businessman Carlos São Vicente, accusing the UN of bias and double standards in addressing violations in Angola. A UN working group concluded São Vicente's detention was arbitrary and violated his right to a fair trial. NGOs like Omunga and SOS Habitat expressed concerns about the UN's impartiality, while the Associação Justiça, Paz e Democracia acknowledged the UN's call for release but also accused it of partiality. The UN's conclusion, detailed in a 16-page document, highlighted violations regarding São Vicente's pre-trial detention and the need for an impartial and independent trial. São Vicente, who is married to the daughter of Angola's first President Agostinho Neto, is currently serving a prison sentence for embezzlement, tax fraud, and money laundering.

Angola in 2024: Promises of a better life must be accompanied by pragmatic actions

27 Dec 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The Angolan government's announcements for 2024, including a public sector wage increase, VAT reduction, and the opening of a new international airport in Luanda, are met with skepticism by analysts and union leaders. They doubt these measures will significantly improve living conditions, citing a need for more pragmatic policies that address employment and the improvement of education and health services. Despite the criticism, some still encourage hope for progress in the coming year.

Angola: Analysts and Opinion Makers Consider New Political and Administrative Division 'Inopportune'

26 Dec 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan analysts and opinion makers find the new Political and Administrative Division (DPA) proposed by the government to be untimely. The plan, announced by the Executive, includes the creation of two new provinces, increasing the total to 20, and the number of municipalities to 325. The number of deputies will also rise from 220 to 230. Moxico and Cuando Cubango provinces will be divided. Critics argue the division will not address regional disparities and question the public consultation process. The government assures that the DPA will not require constitutional changes and that it will not interfere with the establishment of local power. The implementation is set to begin in 2025 and will be phased, including preparations for the respective budgets.

João Lourenço says there are attempts to divide the MPLA and UNITA responds that the President knows who he is talking to

18 Dec 2023  |  voaportugues.com
João Lourenço, President of Angola's ruling party MPLA, accused the main opposition party UNITA of misinterpretation and of trying to stimulate internal division within the MPLA. He made these remarks without naming UNITA directly, during a political bureau meeting. Lourenço also criticized those who, instead of supporting anti-corruption efforts, claim nothing is being done. In response, UNITA's Secretary for Communication and Marketing, Evaldo Evangelista, stated that the MPLA leader's comments were not directed at UNITA and that the process of removing the President is not closed. Journalist Ilídio Manuel suggested that Lourenço is attempting to externalize his party's internal issues and blame others for provoking them. He also criticized the selective nature of the anti-corruption process, which he believes has stalled and involves current collaborators of the President.

Angolan economists and businessmen do not see the country taking advantage of China's import tax exemption

14 Dec 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan economists acknowledge that the country may not have the internal production capacity in the short term to economically benefit from China's decision to cancel import tariffs on 98% of Angolan products. While some see China's intention as a great opportunity to export quality agricultural products to the Chinese market, others are skeptical about the immediate results for the Angolan economy. The measure, which also affects Gambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Mali, and Mauritania, will take effect on December 25. Experts like Carlos Rosado de Carvalho view it as a political gesture, while José Severino believes it opens doors for Chinese economic operators who benefit from financing from Chinese banks to invest in Angola. Estevão Gomes suggests that without internal policies to increase agricultural production, the benefits will be limited. Nataniel Fernandes sees it as good news but questions Angola's capacity to take advantage of the opportunities. Galvão Branco believes Angola can introduce agricultural products into the Chinese market if they are of competitive quality.

Angolan authorities say vandalism of power towers falls under terrorism

12 Dec 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angola faces the risk of spending the festive season in darkness due to vandalism of power towers that transport electricity from north to south. Over 52 high-tension towers have been damaged from January to November, with losses exceeding $5 million. RNT's CEO, Rui do Amaral Gourgel, describes these acts as sabotage. The Ministry of Energy and Water and the Office of the Military House of the President have also expressed concerns, with the latter classifying such acts as terrorism. President João Lourenço and social activist Domingos Cazombo have condemned the destruction of public property. The ongoing rains further threaten to impact the festive season by damaging infrastructure, including electricity.

Cabinda: Planned Saturday demonstration lacks police security guarantees

07 Dec 2023  |  voaportugues.com
A civil society organization in Cabinda, Angola, accused the municipal administration of not providing security guarantees for a demonstration planned for Saturday to mark Human Rights Day. The leader of the Sociedade Civil Organizada (SOCO), Clemente Cuilo, stated that despite the lack of police presence, the protest would go ahead as legally planned. The demonstration aims to protest against high living costs, human rights violations, social degradation, arbitrary detentions, police brutality, unemployment, movement restrictions, and poor governance.

Freedom of the press, political parties, and elections are minimal principles of democracy, says American ambassador in Angola

06 Dec 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The American ambassador in Angola, Tulinabo Mushingi, emphasized support for the application of basic democratic principles in Angola but stated that the U.S. cannot dictate how the government should implement them. During a press conference, he addressed freedom of expression, political party freedom, and local government elections. Mushingi also discussed bilateral investment agreements and minimized the presence of investors from other countries in the Lobito Corridor. He expressed satisfaction with Angola's stance on the war in Ukraine and between Israel and Hamas, highlighting Angola's role in promoting world peace.

Experts say Angola has everything to gain from meeting between Biden and Lourenço in Washington

27 Nov 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angola stands to benefit from the upcoming meeting between President Joe Biden and President João Lourenço in Washington, according to experts. The meeting is seen as a culmination of Angola's economic reforms, aligning with the U.S. government's strategy on human rights, transparency, anti-corruption, and gender equality. Angola aims to secure a portion of the $200 billion the U.S. has committed to invest in African countries over the next five years, from a total package of $600 billion approved by the G7. Economists believe the investment could propel Angola into the G30, the group of the world's 30 most developed countries. The meeting is also viewed as part of the economic competition between the U.S. and Russia for influence in Africa. The White House stated that the meeting will discuss ways to deepen bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, climate, and energy, including the Lobito Corridor investment project.

Kopelipa Case: Defense of the accused tries to weaken the accusation with contradictory instruction

22 Nov 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The defense for the accused in the case involving General Hélder Vieira Dias 'Kopelipa' has requested a contradictory instruction from the Supreme Court to weaken the prosecution's case. The request was made as part of a legal strategy to potentially suspend or dismiss the process. Benja Satula, representing Chinese companies Plansmart International Limited and Utter Right International Limited, seeks a judicial decision from an impartial judge regarding the preparatory instruction led by the Ministry of Public. These companies are allegedly part of a scheme set up by 'Kopelipa' during his tenure as director of the Office of National Reconstruction, causing significant financial harm to the state. The contradictory instruction began on Tuesday, with the former Minister of State and Head of the Military House of the government of former President José Eduardo dos Santos being accused of embezzlement, fraud, document forgery, influence peddling, criminal association, money laundering, and abuse of power. The session included testimonies from witnesses for 'Kopelipa' and lawyer Fernando Gomes dos Santos.

Angola: Lawyers of 'Kopelipa' in Contradictory Instruction Behind Closed Doors

21 Nov 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The Supreme Court of Angola is conducting a closed-door contradictory instruction session involving former Minister of State and Head of the Military House, General Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias Júnior 'Kopelipa', who is accused of embezzlement, fraud, document forgery, influence peddling, criminal association, money laundering, and abuse of power. The session, requested by the defendant, could lead to a trial or dismissal of charges. Assets including stakes in Biocom, Damer, Kero, and other properties allegedly built with state funds were returned to the state. The case may affect Angola's debt arguments with China. The Biden Administration imposed sanctions on 'Kopelipa' in December 2021 for diverting government funds.

MP wants to prosecute UNITA deputy for alleged crimes committed before being elected

20 Nov 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The Supreme Court of Angola, led by Judge-Counselor President Joel Leonardo, has requested the National Assembly to suspend the mandate and lift the parliamentary immunity of UNITA deputy and political activist Nuno Álvaro Dala. Dala is accused of criminal denunciation, insult, slander, and defamation related to allegations from 2021, when he was not a deputy, involving supposed irregularities by a deputy attorney of the Republic. Dala has expressed willingness to go to court and considers the accusation as an attempt to block opposition figures. UNITA's Secretary for Communication, Evaldo Evangelista, criticized the Supreme Court's action as a setback for freedom of expression in Angola. The National Assembly must decide on the lifting of Dala's immunity to allow him to respond to the process.

Corruption: Former Deputy Governor of Cuando Cubango on Trial, but Many Cases Await

14 Nov 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The Supreme Court of Angola has begun the trial of former Lunda Sul governor Ernesto Kiteculo for alleged involvement in various crimes during his tenure as deputy governor for the Economic and Productive Sector of Cuando Cubango province from 2012 to 2017. President João Lourenço reaffirmed his commitment to fighting corruption, noting the initiation of 527 cases since 2017, with 247 concluded. Meanwhile, the trial of former Military House chief General Manuel Vieira Dias 'Kopelipa' and former presidential consultant Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento is anticipated. Legal experts express skepticism about the impartiality of trials, especially for high-ranking MPLA members. Several high-profile cases remain unresolved, including those involving former vice-president Manuel Vicente and former Luanda governor Higino Carneiro. Convictions have been secured against former minister Manuel Rabelais and former transport minister Augusto Tomás, while José Filomeno 'Zenu' dos Santos and Valter Filipe await appeal decisions. Businessman Carlos São Vicente was sentenced to nine years in prison in March 2022.

It is necessary to control Chinese immigration, say Angolan jurists

09 Nov 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan jurists express concern over uncontrolled Chinese immigration, linking it to an increase in serious crimes involving Chinese nationals. The Angolan Criminal Investigation Service detained nearly 40 Chinese and Vietnamese citizens for various crimes between February and November. The Interior Minister, Eugénio Laborinho, has called for cooperation from Chinese associations in Angola to report serious crimes. Despite assurances from the Chinese ambassador of good communication and conditions for Chinese citizens, jurists like António Kangombe warn of risks to national security. The article also highlights Angola's strong economic ties with China, with significant Chinese investment in various sectors.

New Luanda Airport is a Sadness for Many Who Lost Their Homes

08 Nov 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The inauguration of the new Dr. Agostinho Neto International Airport in Luanda brings sorrow to hundreds of Angolans who lost their homes in 2022 due to demolitions around the airport. Despite promises from the government and a presidential decree authorizing the construction of 1,500 social housing units, affected citizens, represented by Domingos José Cazombo and supported by the NGO S.O.S. Habitat, claim they have been abandoned and are without information on the housing developments. The government of Luanda had previously justified the demolitions as necessary for the airport's certification.

New Luanda Airport Seen as 'Grandeur Complex', but Government Calls It 'Powerful Engine for the Economy'

07 Nov 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The new Dr. António Agostinho Neto International Airport in Angola, costing around $3 billion, is set to open for cargo operations. With a capacity for 15 million passengers annually, it is seen as five times larger than needed compared to the current 4 de Fevereiro International Airport. While the Angolan authorities view it as a regional aviation hub and economic driver, critics label it a potential 'white elephant' due to high maintenance costs and low foreign passenger traffic. Journalist Graça Campos and economist João Maria Chimpolo question its utility and profitability, while journalist Ilídio Manuel doubts Angola's tourist attraction capabilities. Economist Carlos Rosado de Carvalho calls it 'luxury amidst poverty,' and business manager Galvão Branco believes its success depends on the operational model. Transport Minister Ricardo de Abreu defends the investment, citing interest from operators like TAAG and international cargo companies. The airport project, started in 2013 and taken over by the Angolan state in 2017, was partly financed by China.

Angola: Social activists and trade unionists consider public sector wage increase insufficient

02 Nov 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The Angolan government has proposed a 5% wage increase for the public sector in the 2024 budget, which has been deemed insufficient by social activists and trade unionists who suggest increases between 10 to 20 percent. Finance Minister Vera Daves described the increase as a cross-cutting measure that includes provisions for hiring additional health and education professionals. The budget anticipates a 2.8% economic growth, driven solely by the non-oil sector, and projects a decrease in oil production by 2.6%. The government acknowledges the challenges facing the national economy and has included a broad package of temporary, permanent, and structural measures in the budget. The budget also allocates funds for social inclusion of women and prioritizes social sectors such as education, health, and housing, while reducing general public services expenses.

Fuel smuggling in Angola is a result of corruption

31 Oct 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Political analysts in Luanda suggest that fuel smuggling in Angola will persist unless fuel prices are revised and the involvement of government officials, armed forces, and national police is addressed. This follows the government's decision to introduce legislation to combat petroleum product smuggling, which has been blamed for fuel shortages in many provinces. Most smuggled fuel reportedly comes from legal stations, and the Minister of Mineral Resources, Petroleum and Gas, Diamantino Azevedo, has acknowledged the need for specialized legislation to tackle the issue more effectively. Journalist Manuel Ilídio argues that combating fuel smuggling is challenging due to Angola's low fuel prices and the complicity of border security forces.

Lourenço asks for respect for Justice, politicians and jurists point to the influence of the President

28 Oct 2023  |  www.voaportugues.com
Angolan President João Lourenço has called for respect for the country's laws and institutions, arguing that constant suspicion undermines their credibility and hinders democratic consolidation. However, political analysts and jurists in Luanda argue that the lack of trust in public institutions stems from Lourenço's influence over political power. Jurist Lindo Bernardo Tito views the President's message as self-protection against accusations of judicial interference, while UNITA deputy Maurilio Luiyele attributes the credibility issues to impunity in corruption cases. CASA-CE president Manuel Fernandes highlights the judiciary's dependence on the executive power as a key problem.

North Korea Closes Embassy in Angola

26 Oct 2023  |  voaportugues.com
North Korea closed its embassy in Angola on March 24, as announced by the Angolan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The closure, not officially explained by North Korean authorities, aligns with the end of Ambassador Jo Pyong Chol's five-year mission. Experts Osvaldo Mboco and Sebastião Vinte e Cinco suggest the decision reflects changes in North Korea's foreign policy strategy and financial constraints, rather than a severance of diplomatic ties. The two countries have a history of cooperation in military, health, construction, and technology since Angola's independence in 1975, including North Korean military support against South Africa's Apartheid regime.

Arrests in Moxico and Cuando Cubango

25 Oct 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Citizens accused of rebellion are being detained in the provinces of Moxico and Cuando Cubango, following similar events in Lundas Norte and Sul. Guilherme Neves of the human rights association 'Mãos Livres' expressed concern over arbitrary detentions and advised the government to opt for dialogue over force. José Macumba Muambumba, 79, is among those placed under house arrest by Judge Dilma Solange do Nascimento. Social media reported 18 beneficiaries of procedural cautionary measure changes. Zecamutchima, leader of the Protectorado Português Lunda Tchokwe, confirmed only two releases, noting citizens' fear of providing information about detained relatives. Police spokesperson Florêncio de Almeida acknowledged legal defense would be provided for detainees. Over 200 citizens were arrested 17 days ago following a protest described as a 'rebellion attempt.' No formal charges or trial dates have been confirmed. Lawyer Serra Bengo criticized the delay in summary proceedings, while Defense Minister João Ernesto dos Santos 'Liberdade' stated the government's intent to maintain order. The protest supported the autonomy proclamation of the Lundas by Jota Filipe Malakito, leader of a pro-autonomy faction.

Lunda Tchokwe Activist Accuses Angolan Police of Illegally Detaining 11 Citizens

18 Oct 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The leader of the Movimento do Protetorado Português da Lunda Tchokwé accuses the Lunda Norte Police of having illegally returned 11 citizens to jail after their release by the Cuango municipal court due to lack of evidence connecting them to the October 8th riots in Saurimo. Around 200 people were detained for allegedly supporting the autonomy proclamation of the Lundas by Jota Filipe Malakito, leader of a pro-autonomy faction. Activists José Mateus Zecamutchima and Jordan Muacabinza expressed concern and disappointment over the continued detention without formal charges.

Legal Experts Disagree on Parliament's Rejection of Motion to Impeach the President, UNITA and MPLA Exchange Accusations

16 Oct 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Legal experts in Angola have differing opinions on the legality of the National Assembly's decision to block a motion to impeach President João Lourenço, which was initiated by 90 UNITA deputies. The MPLA, with 123 votes, and the abstention of the PRS/FNLA group, rejected the creation of a commission to address the impeachment initiative. Jurist Serra Bango and lawyer Salvador Freire argue the decision is not legal, while jurist Albano Pedro suggests UNITA should persuade MPLA deputies to support their cause in the future. UNITA's parliamentary group leader, Liberty Chiyaka, and jurist and deputy Mihaela Webba claim procedural violations occurred and announce plans to appeal to the Constitutional Court. Former MPLA deputy and jurist João Pinto defends the parliamentary procedures. UNITA's motion for impeachment cites serious constitutional violations, corruption, embezzlement, influence peddling, and repeated nepotism.

Government says it will not allow 'citizens to reverse the order' in the Lundas

12 Oct 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan Defense Minister João Ernesto dos Santos 'Liberdade' warned against any attempts by citizens to disrupt order following unrest in Saurimo, Lunda Sul, which led to over 200 arrests for alleged rebellion and state institution occupation. The situation is reportedly stable, and a government delegation, including ministers of Interior and Territory Administration, visited the eastern regions to meet with local governors. A court in Lunda-Sul is set to conduct summary trials for 140 detainees, while 50 await further legal proceedings. The unrest supported a proclamation of autonomy for the Lundas by Jota Filipe Malakito, leader of a pro-autonomy faction, which plans to transform into a political party after declaring the 'Republic of Lundas'.

Over two hundred people arrested in Lunda Sul after clashes with police

10 Oct 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Following a demonstration in Saurimo, Lunda Sul, the number of citizens accused of rebellion and rioting by the police has risen to 202. The protest was allegedly in support of the autonomy of Lundas, led by Jota Filipe Malakito, leader of a pro-autonomy faction. Police spokesperson Florêncio de Almeida stated that the accused would face formal charges and that there were injuries among police officers due to the clashes. Despite previous government communications claiming no injuries, the police spokesperson acknowledged that some accused could not be summarily judged due to the severity of the crimes. Lawyer Salvador Freire from Associação Mãos Livres announced plans to provide legal assistance to the accused. The separatist sentiment among the Lunda people is attributed to the impoverishment of populations in richer regions of the country, according to Angolan jurist António Kangombe. The Ministry of Interior reported that police used force to restore order when faced with resistance.

Fighting corruption is a 'direct clash with the elites', says João Pinto

05 Oct 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The Supreme Court of Angola's public disclosure of case progress raises questions about its impartiality in high-profile corruption cases. Former MPLA deputy João Pinto warns of the dangers of pursuing anti-corruption efforts, which he views as a direct confrontation with the elite. Despite the court's report of 80 criminal cases judged, none involve prominent Angolan figures like ex-Vice President Manuel Vicente. Legal experts suggest political will is lacking in addressing corruption among former or current government dignitaries. High-profile individuals, including generals and former state officials, remain unjudged despite asset seizures and accusations of corruption. The article highlights the challenges and systemic issues in Angola's fight against corruption, with some experts doubting the existence of a genuine effort and others emphasizing the need for moral and educational reforms.

Lawyers Reject Explanation for Delays in Angolan Justice

05 Oct 2023  |  www.voaportugues.com
The Conselho Superior da Magistratura Judicial (CSMJ) defended itself against criticisms regarding delays in the Angolan judicial system, attributing part of the problem to lawyers' appeals. Correia Bartolomeu, the spokesperson, argued that some lawyers file appeals to delay decisions. Lawyers Vicente Pongolola and Sérgio Raimundo rejected this explanation, pointing to systemic issues and conflicts of interest. Bartolomeu acknowledged challenges such as a shortage of judges and resources, and highlighted efforts to modernize the system and increase the number of judges. The article provides detailed statistics on the distribution of judges across Angola.

Angolan Satellite: Between Expectations and Reality

02 Oct 2023  |  www.voaportugues.com
The Angolan satellite Angosat-2, launched in October 2022, is claimed by the Minister of Telecommunications, Mário Oliveira, to benefit over 20,000 Angolans through the 'Conecta Angola' service. However, there are significant doubts about its effectiveness and commercial viability. Critics, including journalist Ilídio Manuel and political analyst Laurindo Neto, question the quality of telecommunications services and the selection criteria for satellite monitoring technicians. The satellite, costing $320 million, was expected to make communication services more affordable and accessible, but its benefits remain under scrutiny.

Angolan government closes enrollments in Medical School and hires Cuban professors

01 Oct 2023  |  www.voaportugues.com
The Angolan government has halted new enrollments at the University Agostinho Neto's Medical School for the next two years due to quality concerns and has hired Cuban professors to address the issue. President João Lourenço authorized contracts worth $38 million for Cuban specialists in various fields, including medicine. Critics argue that the lack of investment in public universities is the root cause of the problem and suggest hiring retired Angolan doctors instead. The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation clarified that the new contracts are for renewing existing Cuban professors' contracts, not for importing new ones.

Angola and the United States to sign defense cooperation agreement in January 2024

28 Sep 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angola and the United States are set to sign a defense cooperation agreement in January 2024, focusing on the re-equipment and modernization of the Angolan Armed Forces, military engineering, training, and cybersecurity and space security. The announcement was made by the Minister of State and Head of the Military House of the President of the Republic after meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Luanda. The agreement will not include the establishment of a U.S. military base in Angola. Cesário Zalata, an international relations expert, views the agreement as a redefinition of Angola's foreign and military policy, moving away from its long-standing relationship with Russia. Rafael Massanga Savimbi of UNITA highlighted the historical military ties with the U.S. and the need for a diversified military doctrine. Lloyd Austin's visit to Angola, the first by a U.S. Defense Secretary in 47 years, included a lecture attended by UNITA representatives, including its president Adalberto Costa Júnior.

Angola is a 'very valuable partner and a growing leader in the region', says Lloyd Austin

27 Sep 2023  |  voaportugues.com
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Angola to reinforce existing relations in various domains. He was received by President João Lourenço and met with Francisco Furtado, the head of the President's Security House. Austin emphasized Angola's value as a partner and its growing leadership in the region, expressing the U.S.'s willingness to cooperate in maritime piracy defense and peace operations. He reiterated the U.S. commitment to strengthening democracy, security, combating major diseases, and addressing climate threats. Austin highlighted the importance of strong institutions over strongmen in Africa and warned against military coups and mercenary groups destabilizing democracies. The visit, which included closed-door military delegation meetings, is part of Austin's first trip to Africa, which also included Djibouti and Kenya. U.S. Ambassador Tulinabo Mushingi described the visit as historic and reflective of shared prosperity and economic diplomacy between the two nations.

Cabinda: Attacks by FLEC Leave Villages Depopulated

27 Sep 2023  |  www.voaportugues.com
Entire villages in Cabinda are being depopulated due to sporadic surprise attacks by FLEC guerrillas against the Armed Forces, creating a permanent state of fear and insecurity among the population. Political and civil society figures in Cabinda have raised alarms about the ongoing conflict, which has been downplayed by Angolan authorities. Carlos Vemba of the MIC notes that instability forces residents to seek refuge in safer areas, while Maurício Gimbi highlights the visible consequences of guerrilla attacks. The FLEC continues to claim responsibility for guerrilla actions, including a recent attack resulting in the deaths of Angolan soldiers and Brazilian citizens.

Coup d'état in Angola 'not possible', says retired general

26 Sep 2023  |  voaportugues.com
During the second meeting of Angola's National Security Council, concerns about the spread of coups in Africa and the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were discussed. A press release from the President's office mentioned the review of a National Security Law project. Retired generals Manuel Mendes de Carvalho and Silva Mateus shared opposing views on the possibility of a coup in Angola, with Carvalho acknowledging the potential under certain conditions, while Mateus argued that the military structure would prevent it.

Finances of NGOs monitored by the Angolan government

25 Sep 2023  |  www.voaportugues.com
The Angolan government has signed a protocol to monitor external funding to national and international NGOs and churches to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing. The agreement, signed between the Ministry of Social Action, Family and Women's Protection and the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF), aims to enhance control over NGOs. Critics, including Florindo Chivucute of Friends of Angola and Bernardo Castro of Rede de Terra Angola, argue that the protocol is unnecessary and premature, as existing laws already address these concerns. David Dja of the Muslim Community supports the protocol, emphasizing the need for financial oversight. The agreement precedes the pending approval of the NGO Law, which will further regulate NGO activities.

Angolan products with 'open doors' to the American market

21 Sep 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan and American authorities witnessed the loading of the first container of food products destined for the US market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The Angolan company Foodcare, in partnership with the US government through USAID since 2021, achieved this milestone. US Embassy's Minister Counselor Mea Arnold highlighted the benefits of AGOA and encouraged more Angolan businesses to participate. USAID is assisting Southern African countries to leverage AGOA through a $31 million regional program. Arnold emphasized the importance of trade for economic growth and diversification in Angola, and the potential for job creation and poverty reduction. The event took place at Foodcare's facilities in Luanda, a family business specializing in organic food processing, established in 2019 with an investment of 52 million kwanzas.

Nearly a year after its launch, benefits of Angolan satellite still unknown

19 Sep 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Nearly a year after the AngoSat-2 satellite was launched, the benefits it was supposed to bring to Angola in terms of communication services and internet cost reduction remain unclear. Journalist Ilídio Manuel and environmentalist Bernardo Castro criticize the government for failing to deliver on its promises and lack of transparency. Meanwhile, Minister Mário Augusto da Silva Oliveira maintains that the satellite will enhance public service delivery and contribute to the development of Industry 4.0 in Africa. The satellite, which cost $320 million and has a projected lifespan of 15 years, is managed by GGPEN through the MCC in Luanda, with a control center also in Russia.

Angolan Debt and Geopolitics Mark João Lourenço's Visit to China

15 Sep 2023  |  www.voaportugues.com
Angolan President João Lourenço is on a three-day official visit to China, focusing on debt renegotiation and investment discussions with Chinese leaders. China, Angola's largest creditor, has significant economic influence in the country, with debt repayment and investment being key topics amid competition from American investors. Analysts highlight the geopolitical struggle between China and the U.S. for dominance in Angola's resource management. The visit includes business forums and meetings with Chinese entrepreneurs, emphasizing Angola's strategic diplomacy to balance relations with both global powers.

Angola: Construction of new hospitals raises questions about other health investments

12 Sep 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan President João Lourenço announced the construction of three new hospital units in Luanda to address trauma, ophthalmology, and oncology needs, asserting that there will always be funding for health. Experts suggest that investments should also focus on other health services such as medication, technicians, and training. Journalist Graça Campos questioned the focus on constructing large hospitals that lack sufficient resources. Almeida Pinto from the National Nurses Union emphasized the need for good salaries to humanize existing hospitals, while public health expert Maurilio Luiele advocated for enhancing the primary health care network over building large hospitals. The new oncology and trauma facilities will be located in the Palanca neighborhood, Kilamba Kiaxi, with the ophthalmology project's location yet to be determined. The trauma hospital initiative is in response to the high number of road accidents affecting the youth.

It is 'an aberration' for Angola to spend 26 million dollars on Russian doctors

07 Sep 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan experts and civic figures label the government's plan to spend $26.5 million on hiring Russian doctors for local hospitals as an aberration, arguing that it prioritizes foreign professionals over national ones. The Ministry of Health is set to receive funds for hiring and training up to 341 Russian medical specialists. Critics, including Dr. Maurílio Luyele from the opposition party UNITA, argue that the government should invest in training national specialists and offer better salaries to local doctors. Social analyst André Augusto deems the hiring counterproductive, while cardiopulmonary physician Francisco Magalhães Inácio sees it as an opportunity for knowledge exchange. The Ministry of Finance is expected to include the project in the 2023 budget, ensuring financial resources. Zdravexport, a company facilitating the employment of Russian doctors in Angola, currently has about 350 Russian doctors working in Angola.

Angolan organizations want local associations to manage agricultural funds

05 Sep 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Non-governmental organizations in Angola have warned that a nearly $200 million fund to boost food production should be managed by entities directly connected to those involved in agriculture. They also stress the need to simplify the process of accessing the funds to avoid failure. The Angolan government recently announced the allocation of 153 billion kwanzas (approximately $183 million) to support food and animal protein production amid one of the country's worst food crises. Rural and agrarian support organizations foresee the failure of the process due to requirements such as land titles and surface rights, which many farmers lack due to outdated land laws. The Ministry of Finance has issued a public guarantee for the financing of the 2024 agricultural campaign, with the Angolan Investment Bank (BAI) receiving 43 billion kwanzas at a 7% annual interest rate. Other financial institutions involved include the Credit Guarantee Fund (FGC), the Development Bank of Angola (BDA), and the Angolan Capital Risk Fund (FACRA). Carlos Cambuta, leader of the Action for Rural Development and Environment (ADRA), suggests that resources should be channeled through institutions with a community development vision, such as ADRA and the Union of Peasants. Bernardo Castro from the Land Network Angola also expresses skepticism about the funds being properly allocated. The Ministry of Finance has made a budget allocation of 30 billion kwanzas to the Ministry of Agriculture for the purchase of agricultural inputs to support family farming, aiming to facilitate access to financial resources for private operators and strengthen the country's food security.

Absence of João Lourenço from BRICS may be another sign of distancing from Russia

23 Aug 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan President João Lourenço's absence from the BRICS summit in Johannesburg is seen as a sign of Angola distancing itself from Russia and its support for the invasion of Ukraine. Lourenço, who expressed a desire for Angola to join BRICS in 2018, sent his Minister of State for Economic Coordination, José de Lima Massano, instead. Analysts interpret this as a shift towards Western alignment. The summit's agenda includes discussions on new member admissions, an alternative currency to the US dollar, and the establishment of a New Development Bank. BRICS represents a significant portion of the world's population, territory, GDP, and global trade. Notably, President Vladimir Putin did not attend due to an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Ukraine, and was represented by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Angola's largest state-owned companies are bankrupt

22 Aug 2023  |  voaportugues.com
A report from the Public Companies Monitoring Department of the State Asset and Equity Management Institute (IGAPE) revealed that ten of Angola's largest public companies are technically bankrupt. The companies, including Biocom, ENDE, and BPC, have received significant capital injections in 2022, yet they continue to face financial difficulties. Economists like Estévão Gomes criticize the management capabilities of public managers, while academic João Maria Chimpolo highlights a lack of transparency in public company management. The state-owned companies have accumulated substantial debts, with public institutions being prominent debtors. Despite the financial support, these companies continue to demonstrate poor financial performance.

Díaz-Canel on African Tour Makes Two-Day Visit to Angola

21 Aug 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Cuban President Miguel Mário Díaz-Canel Bermúdez is on a state visit to Angola, marking the start of his African tour which will include attending the BRICS summit in South Africa. In Angola, he was welcomed by President João Lourenço and witnessed the signing of three partnership agreements. Despite ideological differences, UNITA attended the meeting as a diplomatic gesture. However, civic and political organizations in Angola expressed discomfort with Díaz-Canel's presence, criticizing Cuba's human rights record. The visit has sparked debate about the appropriateness of his address to the Angolan parliament, with some suggesting it legitimizes undemocratic practices. The visit underscores the deep historical ties between Angola and Cuba, dating back to military support provided by Cuba to the MPLA in 1975 and ongoing cooperation in various sectors, including health and education.

SADC Summit: Military instability and industrialization on the agenda, leaving several topics out

16 Aug 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angola is set to replace the Democratic Republic of Congo as the rotating president of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) at an upcoming summit. The event will focus on human and financial capital as key factors for sustainable industrialization in the region. The summit will address the deployment of alert forces in the DRC ahead of its December elections. Experts highlight the need to address military and political instability in the DRC and Mozambique to achieve industrialization goals. Challenges for Angola's presidency include improving education, health, and adapting the banking sector to regional development needs. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema are among the first to arrive in Luanda for the summit.

Angolan government says strike by judicial officers is illegal

14 Aug 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Angola has declared the strike led by the Sindicato dos Oficiais de Justiça (SOJA) that began on Monday as illegal. The Ministry states that SOJA lacks legitimacy to declare a strike as no justice workers' assembly decided on the strike or mandated SOJA to declare it. The Ministry also notes that SOJA did not interact with its leadership to discuss worker-related issues, which is a legal obligation. It warns that participants in the illegal strike will be marked with a double absence, as per the law. Despite this, the Ministry expresses its willingness to dialogue with the strikers to improve the country's justice sector.

Angola: Justice Ministry Officials Begin Strike

14 Aug 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Justice Ministry officials in Angola have commenced a four-day strike demanding the fulfillment of a claim sheet dating back to 2018. The strike, which does not include common jurisdiction court officials, is due to a lack of funds for various areas and career promotions. Joaquim Teixeira, General Secretary of the Justice Officials Union (SOJA), highlighted that officials often pay out of pocket for document distribution missions. This follows a previous strike from March 20 to April 14, which was deemed illegal by the Judicial Magistracy Superior Council. The current strike, decided in a general assembly on July 29 in Benguela province, will ensure minimum services until August 18.

Angola: Lack of funding requires resource allocation for projects

10 Aug 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The Economic Commission of the Council of Ministers in Angola approved a measure to suspend expenses from the 2023 State Budget on projects with execution levels below 80%, except for those with 100% guaranteed internal or external funding. This decision has been met with mixed reactions from economists, some citing poor governance and planning, while others view it positively. The suspension will last until the end of the year and affects projects that require an initial down payment with Ordinary Treasury Resources.

Governor of Zaire astonished to witness fuel trafficking

09 Aug 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Adriano Mendes de Carvalho, the Governor of Zaire province in Angola, was reportedly shocked to witness firsthand the trafficking of fuel from Angola to neighboring countries, with high-ranking officials from the Armed Forces and Border Police allegedly doing nothing to stop it. A video shared on social media showed the governor at a border post, expressing his disappointment. Activist Raul Paulo and political analyst Ilídio Manuel suggested that a network involving high-ranking police and military officials facilitates the trafficking, while lawyer Pedro Capracata implied that the governor is unable to act against those involved. Recent reports have highlighted ongoing fuel trafficking on the border between Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Injured and missing in clashes between police and workers of the Cuango Mining Society

07 Aug 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The local union of the Cuango Mining Society (SMC) accused the National Police (PN) of allegedly injuring three workers with firearms, two seriously, detaining seven others, and four being missing after attempting to force strikers to end a strike ongoing since July due to poor working conditions. Union representative Ferraz Afonso criticized the PN for a night raid with gunfire and explosives. SMC's management, represented by Artur Gonçalves, stated the PN acted on a judicial mandate and denied the use of live ammunition, acknowledging only the use of tear gas and injuries from escape attempts. Gonçalves argued the strike was illegal as the company had already addressed the workers' demands, which did not include the removal of SMC's current management. The court deemed the strike illegal, prompting PN action to enforce the law. The SIC, contacted by Voice of America, declined to comment over the phone.

Russia-Africa Summit: Risks of João Lourenço's Absence

27 Jul 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan President João Lourenço's absence from the Russia-Africa Summit in São Petersburg, interpreted by Angolan opinion-makers as a sign of distancing from an old ally, raises questions about Angola's diplomatic stance. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a plan to send grain to several African countries, amidst concerns over Russia's unilateral exit from an agreement allowing Ukrainian grain exports. The summit, themed 'For Peace, Security, and Development,' saw a reduced number of African leaders compared to the previous summit, which Kremlin attributes to Western pressure.

João Lourenço in 'campaign' for Presidency of the African Union in 2025

26 Jul 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan President João Lourenço has announced Angola's intention to run for the Presidency of the African Union (AU) in 2025, with support from Botswana. Political analysts believe that internal issues of member countries are not currently a criterion for the choice of AU's rotating leadership, making Lourenço's candidacy almost certain. Sociologist João Lukombo notes that the AU includes dictatorial leaders, while political analyst Rui Candove highlights Lourenço's positive role in regional conflict resolution. Activist Francisco Tunga Alberto suggests the announcement is also a move to gain African support for another term as President of Angola. The United States, through Ambassador Tulinabo Mushingi, expressed support for Angola's candidacy due to its experience in conflict management and ensuring stability in the Great Lakes region. The current AU Presidency is held by Azali Assoumani of Comoros.

Thousands of elephants to arrive in Angola but their safety is feared

25 Jul 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Botswana's decision to send 8,000 elephants to Angola is raising concerns about Angola's ability to ensure their safety from poachers. The elephants will repopulate Cameia, Mavinga, and Luiana national parks, and Botswana will share ecotourism expertise. Angola's President João Lourenço sees this as a boost for tourism. Specialists are addressing the repatriation process and animal safety, with giraffes already relocated to Iona park. Environmentalists warn of landmines and poaching threats in the Cuando Cubango region. The illegal ivory trade remains active, with Vietnam recently seizing seven tons of ivory from Angola. Angola's national parks, once well-guarded, are now managed by American and South African environmentalists under a government agreement. Angola, rich in biodiversity, is home to numerous species and has several national parks and reserves.

Angola: Kwanza Seeks 'Internationalization' Despite Its Weakening

24 Jul 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA) is in advanced talks for an agreement with Namibia and South Africa to accept the Angolan kwanza in their payment systems by the end of September. This move comes ahead of the BRICS summit in Pretoria, where the creation of a common currency will be discussed. The initiative follows a failed agreement with Namibia in 2015. BNA's deputy governor, Pedro Castro e Silva, aims to save costs and increase regional trade by integrating the kwanza into the SADC payment systems. Economist Estevão Gomes believes that the kwanza's internationalization depends on Angola's economic stability, while journalist Ilídio Manuel is skeptical about the agreement's sustainability, citing Angola's failure to meet its commitments in the past.

Angola: Analysts Skeptical About Declaration of State of Emergency to Address Economic Crisis

20 Jul 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Civic leaders in Angola express disappointment in President Lourenço's reluctance to declare a national state of emergency to address the country's economic and social crisis, exacerbated by rising food prices and the devaluation of the national currency, the kwanza. Bernardo Castro of Rede de Terra Angola and Pio Wacussanga of Construindo Comunidades doubt the President will take exceptional measures. Florindo Chivucute of Friends of Angola calls for an emergency package to alleviate extreme poverty. Conversely, Carlos Veiga, a jurist and digital influencer, argues that the current economic team's measures are sufficient. Recent statistics from the Angolan Institute of Statistics show a monthly variation in the Wholesale Price Index (IPG) from May to June 2023 of 1.66%, with a year-on-year change for June at 15.58%, a decrease of 11.64 percentage points from the previous year.

Angola: Prominent Figures Officially Linked to Public Funds Embezzlement Not Going to Trial

19 Jul 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan jurists argue that the restitution of embezzled goods does not absolve the perpetrator from civil or criminal accountability, in light of the Procuradoria-Geral da República's publication of a list of seized assets. The list includes high-profile figures from the ruling party, such as former Vice-President Manuel Vicente and former Sonangol manager Orlando José Veloso, who have not faced any criminal proceedings despite being implicated in embezzlement. Other assets seized relate to textile factories and a project built with public funds, with beneficiaries including former government officials and business executives. Legal experts criticize the government's approach to corruption, noting that the law in Angola is merely a reference and that public probity laws forgive economic crimes when stolen goods are returned. Despite the voluntary return of some assets, many cases remain unresolved, and some individuals have been released from custody due to health reasons.

Angolan civil society promises demonstration against increase in installation subsidy for deputies

18 Jul 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan civil society is planning a peaceful march in Luanda to protest the National Assembly's resolution to increase installation and end-of-term subsidies for deputies. The protest aims to express societal indignation towards the decision, which includes opposition deputies. Legal action is also planned to challenge the resolution. The opposition party UNITA has announced it will share 50% of the installation subsidy among its deputies in response to societal criticism.

MPLA Political Bureau Member Says Exchange Rate Policy Is Wrong

06 Jul 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Pedro de Morais Neto, MPLA's Political Bureau Secretary for Veterans, attributed the current exchange crisis to the lack of a proper monetary policy and economic diversification. He advocated for a change in monetary policy and methods to address the crisis. José Severino, a member of the President's Economic and Social Council, disagreed, pointing to the lack of export diversification as the root cause. The national currency, kwanza, has shown signs of stabilization against the dollar and euro after losing about 37% of its value since May 11, when financial authorities stopped supporting it in currency markets. Fitch Rating expects the absence of dollar sales by Angolan authorities, observed in April and May, to continue.

U.S. Ambassador says he is proud 'to support Angola's commitment to eradicating corruption'

05 Jul 2023  |  voaportugues.com
U.S. Ambassador to Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe, Tulinabo Mushingi, outlined seven priorities for strengthening relations between the U.S. and Angola, including enhancing commercial diplomacy, security, good governance, improving the business climate, promoting bilateral exchanges, supporting transparency and anti-corruption efforts, and supporting press freedom and democracy in Angola. During the 247th anniversary of the United States, Mushingi highlighted American investments in Angola, such as the $250 million funding for the Lobito Corridor, renewable energy projects in Benguela, and the entry of new mobile operator Africell, which has gained over 7.5 million customers. Mushingi emphasized the growth of the U.S.-Angola partnership and thanked various partners for their contributions to Angola's economy.

Angola: Power Struggle Over Press Organ Competencies

03 Jul 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan journalists interpret recent disagreements between the president of the Comissão da Carteira e Ética (CEE) and the Entidade Reguladora da Comunicação Social Angolana (ERCA) as a struggle for functional independence and power that the government has politically avoided granting. Journalist Luísa Rogério complained about state funds for CEE being channeled through ERCA, despite legal independence. ERCA's board demanded a public retraction from Rogério, accusing her of bad faith. Journalists Alexandre Neto Solombe and Ilídio Manuel see this as a move to control the media, while Herculano Coroado advises using appropriate institutions for such disputes.

Brazilian agricultural project causes apprehension among Angolan non-governmental organizations

27 Jun 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan organizations have expressed concern over a planned agro-industrial project in Cunene, developed by the governments of Angola and Brazil, warning of the risk of local populations losing land access to foreign investors. The project, revealed by Brazilian Ambassador Rafael Vidal, aims to use water from the Cafu Valley irrigation system to boost agricultural production and family inclusion through knowledge transfer and public policies. NGOs like Associação Construindo Comunidades and Acção de Desenvolvimento Rural e Ambiente (ADRA) stress the importance of the project benefiting local communities amidst prolonged droughts and respecting socio-cultural aspects, as agriculture is a secondary activity after cattle raising in Cunene. Rede de Terra Angola's Bernardo Castro calls for dialogue with local communities to protect ancestral land rights. The project, expected to start in early 2024, will benefit 235,000 families, covering 160 kilometers with 30 dams and 40 hectares, integrating the municipalities of Ombadja, Cuanhama, and Namacunde.

Angola: Journalists Applaud Withdrawal of Proposal to Amend Their Statutes

26 Jun 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan journalists celebrated the withdrawal of proposed amendments to the Law of the Statute of Journalists and the Organic Law of the Angolan Social Communication Regulatory Entity (ERCA) from the parliamentary agenda. The proposals, which would have allowed political party members to practice journalism, faced strong public opposition from the National Union of Journalists (SJA) and MISA-Angola. Teixeira Cândido, general secretary of the SJA, praised the MPLA parliamentary group for sensibly suggesting the withdrawal and emphasized the importance of non-partisan journalism for ensuring impartiality and fairness.

Luanda Governor Should Provide Proof of Bribery Attempt, Say Local Analysts

22 Jun 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The governor of Luanda, Manuel Homem, claimed to have been offered a bribe, which he refused, to influence his management of the city's commercial activities. Local analysts, including political and social analyst Serra Bango and journalist Ilídio Manuel, have challenged Homem to file a complaint and provide evidence of the alleged bribery to prove his administration's integrity. Bango suggests that Homem should be dismissed and investigated by the General Prosecutor's Office. Manuel noted improvements in mobility and waste reduction due to the reorganization of street commerce but labeled them as temporary solutions. Homem, during a meeting with local businessmen, expressed that his administration is under pressure from certain business groups but remains committed to reorganizing commercial activity without yielding to bribery.

Peasants in the city of Malanje halt construction of the waterfront

22 Jun 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Residents of the Caxito neighborhood in Malanje city halted the desilting work of the Malanje river for the construction of a waterfront, demanding compensation from the Chinese company África China Camc Engineering for the destruction of their farms and crops. About 20 protesters stopped the machinery until the National Police intervened, and they awaited a meeting with a representative from the Municipal Administration of Malanje for possible compensation agreements. While some families have been compensated, others, like Alice Francisco, are still awaiting payment for their threatened crops. The deputy municipal administrator for the Social Area, Aidne Aires, stated that about 65% of the 41 registered families have been compensated.

Angolan President João Lourenço's Statement on the Court of Auditors Causes Concern Among Legal Experts

21 Jun 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan President João Lourenço, during the swearing-in of the new president judge of the Court of Auditors, Sebastião Domingos Gunza, suggested that some public infrastructure projects should not require too many preliminary reviews by the Court of Auditors. Lourenço indicated that there might be cases where prior approval from the judicial body could be waived, especially for projects related to health, energy, education, and water. Legal experts António Kangombe and Vicente Pongolola expressed concerns about the potential political implications and the undermining of the Court's preventive oversight role. The Court of Auditors is tasked with ensuring the legality of financial and administrative management of the state and other public and private institutions to secure the proper application of public resources for the benefit of the Angolan citizen.

Angola: Three trade union centers threaten general strike in protest against new strike law

20 Jun 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angola's three main trade union centers are threatening to paralyze the country with a general strike in response to a proposed law they believe will undermine the constitutional right to strike. The controversy centers on Article 39 of the draft Work Process Code, which would allow employers to challenge a strike if it causes financial damage or affects state tax revenue. The unions have expressed their protest to the President and the National Assembly President, warning of a strike if the article is not removed. The government, however, argues that the right to strike is not absolute and that the proposed law aims to ensure legality in exercising constitutional rights. The final approval of the draft law is scheduled for Thursday.

Angolan government pays overdue salaries but does not explain the delay

15 Jun 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The Angolan government has begun paying overdue salaries to health professionals and teachers after yielding to social pressure, confirmed by their unions. The Ministry of Finance has not officially explained the reasons for the May salary delays. Unionists and analysts warn of potential social disturbances if such practices continue. CGSSILA's secretary-general, Francisco Jacinto, demands explanations from Finance Minister Vera Daves, accusing the government of insensitivity. Social analyst André Augusto suggests that continued delays could lead to dangerous social upheaval. A source from the Ministry of Finance confirmed the payment commencement, while other sources indicated that the delays did not affect the entire public sector.

Angolan teachers with overdue salaries while Government remains silent

14 Jun 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Public education teachers in Angola have not received their May salaries, with no explanation from the government despite a promised 12.5% salary increase. The delay affects teachers' ability to commute to work, risking absenteeism ahead of final exams. The government had previously promised a new 12.5% subsidy for education workers to be included in May's salary with retroactive effect.

Angolan government accused of incompetence in gasoline price crisis

08 Jun 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The Angolan government is facing accusations of incompetence and irresponsibility in managing the partial removal of gasoline subsidies and the distribution of consumption cards to taxi drivers. The subsidy removal was announced before the cards were issued, leading to social unrest, deaths, and arrests. Analysts criticize the lack of planning and consultation, while government officials admit communication failures and promise to address the issues. The Bloco Democrático and other analysts demand accountability, while the MPLA vice-president assures party oversight. The Ministries of Transport and Finance have begun distributing cards and aim for mass coverage by the end of June.

Angolan children in Namibia between staying and being repatriated

01 Jun 2023  |  www.voaportugues.com
Angola and Namibia are collaborating to repatriate and provide official shelter for Angolan children wandering in Namibian cities for sustenance. The exact number of abandoned Angolan children in Namibia is unknown, but reports suggest hundreds in Windhoek alone. From June to October 2023, 18 children were repatriated, while others were accommodated in Windhoek institutions. NGOs warn of the risks of repatriation due to Angola's current conditions, labeling these children as 'climate refugees' fleeing drought and severe malnutrition. Forced repatriation is considered a crime by some activists, and there are calls for the Namibian government to find alternative solutions. The issue has been ongoing, with reports of child deaths in Angola following repatriation from Namibia. Both governments are in regular contact to find a permanent solution, with the Angolan embassy in Windhoek cooperating to prevent exploitation and ensure social reintegration.

Angola: Lawyers Want President to Treat Exalgina Gamboa and Joel Leonardo Equally

29 May 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The Angolan Bar Association (OAA) has deemed it legitimate to urge President João Lourenço to invite the Supreme Court (TS) leader, Joel Leonardo, to resign, maintaining the presumption of innocence during ongoing investigative processes. This mirrors the president's previous advice to Exalgina Gamboa, former president of the Court of Accounts, to step down. National Coordinator for Lawyers' Prerogatives, Vicente Pongolola, mentioned that if appealing to the president is unsuccessful, the OAA may seek a precautionary measure from the Supreme Court for Leonardo's suspension. Lawyer Pedro Capracata warns that such a request could lead to accusations of the OAA playing into the hands of opposition parties. Leonardo faces allegations of corruption, nepotism, and mismanagement, which have prompted the Attorney General's Office to conduct investigations. The OAA also plans a national meeting to analyze the state of justice administration in Angola.

Despite HRW's appeal, two citizens remain imprisoned in Cabinda for participating in a human rights meeting

24 May 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Two citizens, an Angolan and a Congolese, remain imprisoned in Cabinda, Angola, on charges of rebellion and criminal association, despite Human Rights Watch's call for the Angolan government to cease the repression of political and human rights activists. Since President João Lourenço took office in 2017, over 100 activists have been detained for peaceful activities. Five of seven activists arrested on March 25, 2023, during a human rights lecture, await trial. The Congolese citizen faces additional kidnapping charges, and the Angolan, a pastor, is accused of aiding illegal immigration. Public employees, including activist Alexandre Kuanga, are free but still charged. Lawyer Arão Tempo reported threats against him and filed a habeas corpus request that remains unanswered. HRW researcher Zenaida Machado criticized the government's intensifying repression and arbitrary detentions, urging respect for Cabindans' rights to peaceful assembly and protest.

Angola: Non-governmental organizations reject bill that proposes supervision of their activities

18 May 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan non-governmental organizations have rejected a proposed law that would allow government supervision of their activities, with the stated aim of preventing misuse by terrorist organizations. The bill, set for parliamentary discussion, mandates state entity oversight post-registration, determined by the President. Activists like Alexandre Kuanga Nsito and Florindo Chivucute criticize the move as a threat to democracy and typical of authoritarian regimes. João Malavindele of Omunga deems it unconstitutional, arguing civil society should be governed by the Constitution and law. The bill's proponents argue it will align NGO actions with local initiatives and the government's socio-economic policy. In 2017, the Constitutional Court struck down a presidential decree on NGO regulation as unconstitutional, a decision prompted by a request from the Order of Lawyers of Angola.

Angolan journalists to have wage agreement with private press to avoid salary precarity

16 May 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The Angolan Journalists Union (SJA) is close to establishing collective work contracts with the private sector to set a minimum wage for journalists working in private media. This initiative follows reports of extremely low salaries, with some journalists earning as little as 5,000 kwanzas (under $10) per month, particularly at Rádio Eclésia in eastern and southern Angola. The SJA president, Teixeira Cândido, highlighted the contrast with the public sector, where salaries are above 200,000 kwanzas ($400). Luísa Rogério, president of the Commission for Credentials and Ethics, called the situation absurd and urged for immediate correction. Rádio Eclésia's director, Father Augusto Epalanga, acknowledged serious financial issues, which have led to the loss of many journalists. Journalist Herculano Coroado warned that low wages compromise the quality of journalism and leave professionals vulnerable.

Angolan and São Toméan youths selected for leadership program in the USA

12 May 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Seventeen Angolan and São Toméan youths were selected to participate in the 2023 Mandela Washington Fellowship, a leadership program for young African leaders. The U.S. Ambassador to Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe, Tulinabo Mushingi, expressed his government's desire to see African youths engaged in socially useful tasks upon their return. The program includes business, civic engagement, and public management courses. Since its inception, nearly 5,800 young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in the fellowship.

Angola: Presidential Third Term Sparks Debate

11 May 2023  |  voaportugues.com
In Angola, the possibility of a third presidential term for current President João Lourenço is stirring debate. Lourenço has deferred any decision on this scenario to 2027. Legal experts like Lindo Bernardo Tito suggest that Lourenço and his close associates might be planning to extend their power through constitutional changes or by him becoming vice-president with the potential to succeed the president. However, other jurists like António Kangombe see these options as unlikely, and Carlos Veiga believes the President has the authority to decide his political path. The opposition party UNITA has expressed strong opposition to any constitutional coup, while MPLA's parliamentary leader Virgílio de Fontes Pereira is reportedly against constitutional changes in the current context.

Lourenço Reaffirms Fight Against Corruption, But Results Displease

09 May 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan President João Lourenço has reiterated his commitment to the fight against corruption, eight months into his second term, despite analysts labeling it as political rhetoric to mask the failure of anti-corruption efforts. Legal and political analysts highlight the lack of new investigations or trials by the Attorney General's Office involving key figures from former President José Eduardo dos Santos's regime. Only three high-ranking officials have been convicted since Lourenço took office in 2017. High-profile cases include the '500 million' case involving dos Santos's son, and the 'Lussati case' involving a major military figure. The government aims to recover $50 billion in assets, with $27 billion recovered so far. The Attorney General's Office plans to publish a list of recovered assets for greater transparency.

General Secretary of the Higher Education Teachers' Union denounces 'state terrorism' against him and his daughter

04 May 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Eduardo Peres Alberto, the General Secretary of the National Union of Higher Education Teachers (SINPES), accused the government of organizing hidden militias to kill and promote state terrorism, referencing threats he and his daughter have faced recently. An extraordinary general assembly will assess these threats, the risks to the academic year, and the government's silence on the ongoing strike since February. Alberto holds the government solely responsible for the strike due to alleged bad faith in responding to the union's demands and leaves the decision on lifting or suspending the strike to the union members.

Business leaders warn of 'dangers' of labor law under debate and MPLA calls for more contributions

03 May 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The General Labor Law (LGT) being discussed in the Angolan National Assembly is facing opposition from economic operators who believe certain provisions do not align with the country's economic reality. The law, unanimously approved by deputies in February, removes distinctions between companies based on size regarding permanent contracts and redefines criteria for additional remuneration and compensation. Economist José Severino, representing employers in initial discussions, warns that small and medium-sized enterprises (PMEs) will not survive the new law's demands for indemnities and postpartum support. Meanwhile, the ruling MPLA party is open to further contributions to improve the law, with Deputy Lourdes Caposso emphasizing the law's goal to increase employability and State Secretary for Social Security Pedro Filipe highlighting the law's principles of inclusion, stability, and balance.

Military Intelligence Chiefs from the US and African Countries Discuss Security in Angola

25 Apr 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Military intelligence chiefs from the United States and 28 African countries are participating in a conference in Luanda, co-organized by AFRICOM and the Angolan government, focusing on regional stability. The conference, the first of its kind in Angola, will address data sharing, intelligence, and the impact of climate change. US AFRICOM's Deputy Director of Intelligence, Brigadier General Rose Keravuori, emphasized the importance of diplomacy alongside military efforts to achieve peace. Angolan intelligence chief General João Pereira Massano also stressed the impact of climate change and the rise in extreme violence affecting economies and security. Intelligence expert General Manuel Mendes de Carvalho 'Paka' suggested that Angola hosting the conference aligns with American interests in Africa amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Angolan jurists say Pra-Ja Servir Angola is 'legally dead'

24 Apr 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan jurists have declared the political project Pra-JA Servir Angola 'legally dead' following the Constitutional Court's definitive rejection of its legalization in December 2020. Despite coordinator Abel Chivukuvuku's belief in the project becoming a political party by 2023, legal experts like Vicente Pongolola and Serra Bango argue that the court's decision leaves no room for the organization's revival under its current form. Serafim Simão, a member of the Pra-JA Servir Angola's organizing committee, denies receiving any notification from the court about recognition but affirms that their lawyers are seeking a review of the case.

United States Supports Environmental Programs in Angola

21 Apr 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angola and the U.S. Embassy launched a forest inventory program funded by the U.S. government through USAID and the U.S. Forest Service. With a $2.6 million investment, the program supports Angola's efforts to implement a National Forest Inventory, with technical support from American experts, including GIS and innovative data systems like NASA's Dynamic Global Ecosystems Research program. The U.S. Ambassador to Angola, Tulinabo S. Mushingi, announced the project and an upcoming $7.5 million project for biodiversity protection and economic development. The Angolan government assured that technical teams would soon begin the forest inventory work.

Angola: Non-governmental organization says 'mafia' prevents completion of new land law

19 Apr 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Civic organizations within the Rede de Terra Angola have denounced a 'mafia' in the land market obstructing the completion of a new land law and the Land Use and Urban Planning Law, which should comply with the constitution effective since 2010. They report widespread insecurity of land tenure among communities, silenced complaints, and death threats. Bernardo Castro, leader of Rede de Terra Angola, highlighted the lack of legal basis for land concessions, non-uniform land prices, and the failure to complete the 'My Land' program or approve a law regulating land registry. Municipal administrations show a significant deficit in literacy regarding land law interpretation and application. In Cunene province, chronic poverty and vulnerability to drought impacts are exacerbated by opportunistic land occupation along the Cafu Canal. The government had announced a program in 2021 to grant land titles to peasant families to ensure security and economic development, as stated by Adão de Almeida, Minister of State and Head of the Civil House of the President of the Republic.

Environmentalists say degradation of Angolan ecosystems is due to lack of sustainable social policies

17 Apr 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan environmentalists, including Carlos Cambuta of ADRA and Bernardo Castro of Rede de Terra Angola, attribute the significant degradation of Angola's ecosystems to the lack of sustainable social policies. They were responding to statements by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Abias Huongo, who acknowledged the decline in animal species in national parks due to ecosystem loss. Huongo cited urban expansion and agriculture as causes of biodiversity degradation and emphasized the need for sustainable agriculture and environmental education. The debate in Luanda precedes the IX Meeting of Environment Ministers of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), focusing on civil society's role in achieving Sustainable Development Goals and addressing environmental emergencies.

Governor of Luanda visits Paradise and sees hell

13 Apr 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Manuel Homem, the governor of Luanda, concludes his five-day visit to the impoverished and crime-ridden neighborhood of Paraíso in Cacuaco on January 14. The visit included community meetings and consultations with civil and religious entities to assess various local issues. Homem acknowledged challenges and promised infrastructure improvements, including a community school, bridges, and a police station. A multisectoral team conducted civil registration campaigns, legalized mototaxi services, and provided medical consultations and kits to combat hunger and poverty. However, skepticism remains, with Emiliano Catumbela of the MJR Association criticizing the visit as political campaigning and expressing doubt that it will address social problems or reduce crime. The visit coincides with heavy rains in Luanda, resulting in at least one death in Viana, flooding, and electrical outages.

With low economic growth forecast, experts warn of more difficulties

12 Apr 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The World Bank has revised Angola's economic growth forecast for this year down to 2.8%, a decrease from the previous 3.5% projection. This revision does not account for OPEC's recent decision to cut oil production to increase fuel prices. Economists in Angola, including José Severino, president of the Associação Industrial de Angola, and academic João Maria Funzi Chimpolo, express concerns about the impact on household consumption and suggest focusing on agriculture and other income sources. Oxford Economics predicts a 2.3% growth for Angola, driven by the non-oil sector, despite an expected decline in oil production.

U.S. Ambassador to Angola Discusses Democratic Principles and Investments

06 Apr 2023  |  time.news
The American ambassador to Angola, Tulinabo Mushingi, during a press conference, emphasized the support of the United States for the application of democratic principles in Angola but clarified that the U.S. cannot dictate how the Angolan government should implement these principles. He addressed the issue of freedom of expression and the establishment of local authorities. Mushingi also discussed investment conditions for American businesses in Angola, stressing the importance of bilateral agreements that benefit both nations. He mentioned the recent meeting between President João Lourenço and Joe Biden as a significant event for the future of U.S.-Angola relations. Additionally, Mushingi commented on Angola's stance on global conflicts, including the war in Ukraine and the conflict between Israel and Hamas, noting Angola's contribution to world peace.

Accusations against Donald Trump are 'bad example for Africa', says Angolan Electoral Observatory

05 Apr 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan analysts interpret the criminal charges against former U.S. President Donald Trump as a test of American justice's independence. Florindo Chivucute of Friends of Angola believes Trump will face justice if charges are proven, potentially affecting his 2024 presidential candidacy. Chivucute emphasizes that in the U.S., no one is above the law. Luís Jimbo of the Angolan Electoral Observatory views the situation as a negative example for African democracies. Trump, facing 34 criminal charges related to a pre-2016 election payment to a porn star, has pleaded 'innocent' and labeled the case an 'insult' to the country.

Lourenço Praises José Eduardo dos Santos, UNITA Says Peace Was Jonas Savimbi's Goal

04 Apr 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan President João Lourenço praised former President José Eduardo dos Santos for his statesmanship and commitment to brotherhood and unity. Political analysts reported negative reactions to Lourenço's speech, while the main opposition party UNITA emphasized that peace was always a fundamental objective of its founder, Jonas Savimbi. During a ceremony marking Angola's Peace Day, Lourenço vowed to prevent war and political or social instability. Serra Bango of the Association for Justice, Peace, and Democracy criticized the president's speech as toxic, particularly regarding youth, and questioned the criteria for the day's honors. Analyst Ilídio Manuel noted widespread negative responses to Lourenço's tribute to dos Santos.

João Lourenço Awards 450 Personalities on Peace Day, but Jonas Savimbi Is Not on the List

03 Apr 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan President João Lourenço is set to award nearly 450 personalities and institutions on the anniversary of Peace Day. The honorees are recognized for their roles in achieving national independence, peace, democracy, and national reconciliation. Notably absent from the list is UNITA founder Jonas Malheiro Savimbi, despite the posthumous honoring of other historical figures. Criticism arises from UNITA's retired General Abílio Camalata Numa and activist Alexandre Simeão, who question the selection criteria and suggest the list mixes victims with perpetrators and patriots with traitors. The awards include various orders of merit across military, civil, and other domains, recognizing a wide array of individuals and organizations for their contributions to Angola's history and culture.

Privacy invasion, mainly through the internet, is a serious problem in Angola

22 Mar 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Over 164,000 citizens in Angola have been victims of privacy data breaches, according to the latest report from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) titled 'Cybersecurity and Digital Services, First Quarter of 2021'. However, 79% of these victims did not file complaints with the authorities, and only 22% did. Lawyer Salvador Freire attributes the victims' reluctance to file complaints to the lack of convincing responses from public institutions. Criminal psychologist Chano Moreira highlights the vulnerability of social networks and internet pages as entry points for cybercrimes and suggests investing in data security through dedicated IT universities. The INE report also indicates that Luanda province has the highest percentage of cases, with 61% of citizens aged 15 and older having heard about cybersecurity and cybercrimes and experiencing data privacy violations in the last 12 months.

Civic organizations in Cabinda refuse municipalities and call for talks on the future of the province

20 Mar 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Civic and separatist organizations in Cabinda, including the Democratas de Cabinda (DLC) and the Cultural Association for Human Rights Development in Cabinda, oppose the implementation of local municipalities, arguing that they do not address the region's political issues and instead call for open and constructive dialogue towards self-determination. While some, like Clemente Cuilo of the Organized Civil Society, see municipalities as a potential first step towards resolving Cabinda's problems, the ruling MPLA party claims that the establishment of municipalities is in their plan, pending parliamentary approval. The opposition accuses the government of a lack of will to advance the legislation.

Political analysts say that 'rotation policy' alone will not change Angola's foreign policy

15 Mar 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Political analysts in Angola criticize the government's practice of appointing non-career diplomats linked to the ruling party, which they believe leads to low-quality diplomacy, lack of support for Angolan communities abroad, corruption, and cronyism. This criticism comes in light of President João Lourenço's recent rotation of ambassadors in 16 countries and new appointments in eight others. Analysts argue that as long as ambassadors serve the ruling party instead of the state, Angolan diplomacy will not function effectively. President Lourenço has pledged to reduce the tenure of ambassadors to combat poor practices and has called for efforts to promote Angola's image and attract foreign investors and tourists.

Judicial system in Angola sparks debate among jurists

09 Mar 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan jurists are debating the President's prerogatives to dismiss judicial officials without consulting the Judicial Magistracy Council, highlighting issues in the country's ambiguous judicial system. The debate emphasizes the problem of the President appointing judges and controlling the Council's budget, which is seen as an intrusion into another branch of government. Amidst a justice sector crisis following the self-resignation of the former president of the Court of Auditors and alleged corruption involving the president of the Supreme Court, jurist António Kangombe calls for a reform to elect judges by their peers rather than presidential appointment.

Banco Económico, formerly BESA, proceeds with collective dismissals and branch closures in Angola

08 Mar 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Banco Económico, the successor to the former Banco Espírito Santo Angola, owned by high-ranking officials of the late President José Eduardo dos Santos's government, has announced collective dismissals and the closure of several branches in Angola. This follows a Recapitalization and Restructuring Plan mandated by the Banco Nacional de Angola after the withdrawal of previous shareholders. The plan, initiated in 2022, led to a significant change in shareholders and required a substantial capital increase by a new group of investors. Eleven branches are expected to close, resulting in hundreds of job losses. Unionist Miguel Alberto emphasizes the need for negotiations that are fair to both workers and employers.

Environmentalists view with favor the training of Angolan judges to combat illegal wildlife trafficking

06 Mar 2023  |  voaportugues.com
The United States has allocated $624,000 for the training of over 200 Angolan judges, prosecutors, investigators, and customs officials on investigating and adjudicating cases of illegal wildlife trafficking. The training, which began in February in Menongue and will extend to 10 of the 18 provinces, aims to strengthen Angola's capacity to combat illegal logging and wildlife trafficking. Environmentalists Vladimir Russo and Bernardo Castro have expressed support for the initiative, though Castro has some reservations about American policies on biodiversity rights.

Legal Experts Say President's Request to Court of Audit President Reveals 'Serious Crisis' in Justice

28 Feb 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan legal experts view the President's invitation for the Court of Audit President, Exalgina Gamboa, to resign as unveiling a serious crisis in the justice system. The request came shortly before the postponed judicial year opening ceremony. Legal expert Albano Pedro sees the President's action as interference in the judiciary, while lawyer Vicente Pongolola suggests that Supreme Court President Joel Leonardo, also accused of corruption, should be treated similarly. The situation raises concerns about the seriousness of Angola's judicial system and its impact on foreign investment.

Procedural Bureaucracy Delays Release of Activist José Mateus Zecamutchima Decided on February 6

27 Feb 2023  |  voaportugues.com
José Mateus Zecamutchima, leader of the self-proclaimed Movimento do Protectorado da Lunda Tchokwe, remains in custody in Benguela despite a second-instance court ordering his release on February 6. Delays in procedural transmission between the Tribunal da Relação de Luanda, the Tribunal da Comarca da Lunda Norte, and the Benguela prison are cited as reasons for his continued detention. The activist's release, along with three others involved in the 'Cafunfo Case,' was decreed by judge Vidal Romeu Francisco, who declared the criminal proceedings extinct by amnesty and ordered the case closed and the convicts released. They had been sentenced in February 2022 to four years and six months in prison for allegedly instigating a protest in the diamond-rich region of Cafunfo, which led to a deadly confrontation with the police.

Angolan Political Analysts Question the Viability of the African Standby Force

22 Feb 2023  |  voaportugues.com
Angolan President João Lourenço called for the implementation of the African Standby Force at the 36th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to address the intensification of terrorist actions and unconstitutional changes in democratically elected governments. Sociologist João Lukombo Nzatuzola expressed skepticism about the logistical and financial capacity for such military interventions. Journalist Ilídio Manuel attributed some African rebellions to fraudulent elections and constitutional coups, while researcher Francisco Tunga Alberto criticized the role of countries that supply arms to both governments and rebels in Africa. Lourenço emphasized the need for pragmatic political initiatives to address socio-economic threats to stability and security in Africa for 2023.

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