Angola News Online (1) - 09/02/97

Angola News Online (1) - 09/02/97


Edition #1 2 September 1997

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A fortnightly update of news from Angola!

ANGOLA NEWS ONLINE is written by Angolan journalists living in Angola and brings you the news from their point of view. It is assembled and edited by Africa News Network, part of South Africa Contact, the former anti-apartheid movement in Denmark and publishers of i'Afrika, a quarterly magazine concentrating on Southern Africa.

ANGOLA NEWS ONLINE joins our other individual newsletters from Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, providing up to date news through our established network of journalists in Southern Africa. These newsletters will be followed, in the very near future, by news updates from other countries in the region.

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In this edition:

















After years of bitter rivalry, Angola and the former Zaire, now Congo Democratic Republic (CDR), seem to have started a new era in their relationship though this is amid the widespread skepticism of local public opinion. The Angolan authorities appear to believe that the ousting of former Zairean president Mobutu Sese Seko, one of the most influential allies of the Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi, will help bring peace back to the country and pave the way for major political and economic stability in the whole southern Africa region.

The most important reason for such optimism lies in CDR's Laurent-Desire Kabila's seemingly successful achievement in putting an end to the 30 years regime of what was Angola's most hostile neighbour. In fact, the fall of the Mobutu regime was welcomed by almost all leaders in southern Africa and in the so-called Great Lakes States, due to Zaire's foreign policy of "successive interference" with its neighbours' home affairs. This helped Kabila's rebellion find unprecedented strong support from the surrounding nations, including Angola, which earlier denied accusations that it was supplying the anti-Mobutu guerrillas with men and war material. Only on August 5 this year, and for the first time since the conflict broke out in Zaire in October 1996, did Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos publicly confirm the support his government extended to Kabila in his 8-month bid to topple Mobutu.

Mobutu was widely blamed for fuelling the war in Angola by providing assistance to Savimbi's UNITA guerrillas. Even after the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), recommended that the MPLA and the FNLA movement of Holden Roberto join a "Supreme Council" for Angola's liberation struggle, Mobutu banned MPLA fighters from using the borders of Zaire in their struggle against the Portuguese colonial rulers. Years later, after Angola's independence in 1975 , Mobutu dropped the FNLA to back UNITA in their CIA masterminded campaign to fight the communist MPLA, then backed by Cuba and the former Soviet Union. As a result, the relationship between Angola and Zaire was of mutual hostility which prompted a climate of reciprocal xenophobia between the ordinary citizens of the two countries sharing the 2,600 kilometres common border in the north and east of Angola.

Contrary to the belief of their political leaders, there are many in Angola who are not so optimistic that Kabila's coming to power will help reverse the status quo. "We had quite a similar experience with Sam Nujoma, only to realise that the outcome was not what we expected," a Luanda inhabitant said when asked for comments on the future of the relations between Angola and CDR. Angola provided shelter to Namibia's President Nujoma's SWAPO guerrillas during their liberation struggle against apartheid South Africa. With Namibia's independence, the Angolan authorities expected security along their common border, but this dream has not come true. There have even been allegations that there are those in South Africa who continued transporting military supplies for Angolan UNITA guerrillas, via Namibia.

However, the MPLA-dominated government of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos believes things with Kabila will be different. "Your presence here translates naturally into the mutual desire to begin a new era in the relations between the two countries and states," said Dos Santos, welcoming Kabila on his first official state visit to Angola on August 5, 1997. He said Angola and the Congo Democratic Republic "should hand in hand look to the future and together address the challenges of the next millennium". Dos Santos told his guest that his government stood by Kabila's side (during the Zaire war) because they were conscious that "you were representing a positive action towards peace, regional stability, freedom, equality and justice".

For his part, the CDR head of State said he had come to thank the Angolan government for its support. "This visit is a great occasion to thank the people and the government of Angola for the moral, diplomatic, political and material support you extended to us during the struggle which led to the liberation of Congo," Kabila said. The visit produced a global cooperation agreement between the two states with emphasis on the issue of common border security. Under the agreement, Angola has offered to provide training for CDR police officers in Luanda so that they can then return to their own country and train others.

The attitude of the new authorities in the former Zaire will no doubt influence the events in the southern Africa region in general and in Angola in particular. The future will tell to what extent.



The United States fears an eventual derailment of the Angolan peace process though remain hopeful that "a momentary switch from war to peace is always possible," according to President Bill Clinton's special envoy to Angola, Paul Hare.

"(...) We are worried that the peace process could be at risk, but I see a big possibility for it to advance", ambassador Paul Hare told a Luanda news conference on August 29, shortly before leaving after a week-long visit to Angola. Paul Hare's visit took place during the week the United Nations debated and approved new sanctions on Jonas Savimbi's UNITA movement.

Mr. Hare held talks with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos in Luanda, and with UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi at his Bailundo village headquarters in the central highland Huambo province. The US administration struggled to have the sanctions adopted after it declared years before that UNITA were "putting at risk the United States national security". Apart from supporting the sanctions, the US administration says it is now considering selling Hercules C-130 military cargo planes to the Angolan government as a way of pressuring Jonas Savimbi to cooperate more seriously in the peace process.

During the cold war Savimbi was a privileged go-between of the United States in the war against Angola's MPLA government, then backed by the Soviets and Cubans. But, according to a recent edition of the Washington Post, Savimbi became useless to Washington, and the US became increasingly displeased with "his tactics" especially when in October last year Savimbi "refused to turn up in Luanda for a meeting with (then) Secretary of State Warren Christopher".


The UN Security Council has set September 30 as the deadline for Angola's UNITA armed opposition movement to take the necessary steps for the conclusion of the peace process in the country or it will face "tough" diplomatic sanctions and an air embargo.

The UNSC resolution, unanimously approved on August 28 1997, bans UNITA officials from flying outside Angola, recommends all UN member States to shut down any and all UNITA offices abroad and cancel officials and their families' bank accounts, visas and travel documents. Exceptions will only be made for those UNITA officials on the Angolan Government, Parliament or the Joint Commission mission, the document said.

The resolution also asks member States not to authorise their workers or official delegations to visit the current UNITA headquarters at Bailundo, in Huambo central highland province, "except on missions related to promoting peace negotiations".


The United Nations is facing mounting criticism, both from the Angolan government and from the countryYens main opposition UNITA movement of Jonas Savimbi, after it announced a new package of sanctions on UNITA.

The government accuses the UN of lacking determination in relation to UNITA and UNITA, for its part, says the United Nations and especially its special envoy to Angola, Alioune Blondin Beye, shows a lack of neutrality. According to a report by the Secretary General, Kofi Annan, recently submitted to the Security Council and based on the viewpoints of observer member States (United States, Russia and Portugal), the Angola peace process is going through "serious difficulties" and there were "unacceptable" UNITA excuses.

The report said failure by UNITA to take steps to implement previous UNSC resolutions on Angola and the Lusaka peace protocol, signed with the MPLA government in November 1994, to quell nearly two decades of civil war, impelled the Council to consider tougher sanctions on the "Black Cockerel" movement. UNITA, in a communiquÈ released in Lisbon, blamed Mr. Alioune Beye of Mali for the poor progress in the Lusaka peace plan implementation, warning the Security Council to drop the idea of sanctions or it "would encourage renewed war in Angola".

The latest Security Council resolution on Angola (1118/97), demanded UNITA demilitarise its force, transform its VORGAN radio into a non-partisan facility, and cooperate in the normalising of state administration in the areas it still has under its control. For its part, the Angolan government says it is disappointed with continued UN Security Council "hesitation" to put into effect the sanctions against UNITA contained in previous resolutions on the Angola crisis.

3. FORMER UNITA SECRETARY GENERAL QUITS General Eugenio Manuvakola, former UNITA Secretary General who negotiated and signed the ongoing Lusaka peace Protocol for his movement, fled UNITAís Bailundo headquarters on August 26 to seek shelter from government authorities in Luanda.

"I am not a deserter but fled Bailundo just to safeguard our (family) lives which were already at risk," he said at a news conference in Luanda on August 29. The general was jailed along with his family on February 14 1995. Manuvakola said that he is yet to be informed of the real reasons for his imprisonment but believes he "was handcuffed and sent to prison because the Lusaka peace accord at that time was inconvenient to Dr Savimbi". Manuvakola escaped along with 15 members of his family including his wife, Bela Malaquias, a former UNITA "Vorgan" radio presenter, and his brother, Betinho, a UNITA colonel.

General Manuvakola insists that he is still a UNITA militant "but not with Savimbi as the president". He accused Savimbi of not believing in the peace process but preparing an "alternative plan". Asked if he would confirm insistent reports that UNITA was preparing for a new war in Angola, he said "... I was in jail and could not get military information. But during the time I was there I came to know that UNITA were re-equipping their degraded military structure". He said more UNITA officials were ready to quit "but were afraid of doing so. I am saying this because I am here in Luanda. I wouldn't dare say this if I were at Bailundo".

The announcement of his arrival in Luanda was made on President Jose Eduardo dos Santos 55th birthday, and a ruling MPLA party member of parliament, Mendes de Carvalho, said "this has been the greatest birthday present for President dos Santos". Observers say Manuvakola's escape seems to herald a "wave of new desertions inside UNITA movement". UNITA is currently isolated from the international community which blames it for delaying the peace process in Angola.

Mr Manuvakola is the second former UNITA secretary General to escape after veteran Nzau Puna deserted in 1992 to later become a member of parliament for the "TRD," the UNITA dissidents' Government of Unity and National Reconciliation (GURN)".


Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos has suspended the announcement of his candidacy for the 1998 Nobel Peace3 Prize, sources close to the presidential office told Africa News Network. "The president finds it counter productive standing for the Nobel Peace Prize at a time when the country has not yet achieved peace," the source said.

Earlier reports in Luanda said President Jose Eduardo dos Santos had been asked by the World Peace Council to stand for the Nobel Peace Prize, and that the Angolan government had initially agreed with this.


On 23 August Angola was elected to two seats on the Union of African Parliaments (UAP) executive committee, following the 20th conference held in the Beninese capital of Cotonou. Attending the conference for Angola was Speaker of the Parliament, Roberto de Almeida, who upon his arrival from Benin said Angola's entry to the parliamentary field on the continent served as "an excellent contribution"

Mr. Roberto de Almeida did not elaborate on what posts Angola would hold with the UAP executive committee. Among other issue, the August 22-23 conference debated the role of the civil society in the democratisation of African countries as well as discussing the process of privatisation of enterprises. Other Angolan MPs present at the meeting were Norberto dos Santos, Augusto Tomas and Serafina Miguel for the ruling MPLA party, Georgina Sapalalo for UNITA, and Rui Augusto for PRD.

The Angolan parliament has a total of 220 seats:129 for MPLA, 70 for UNITA, 6 for PRS (Partido Renovador Democratico), 5 for FNLA (Frente de Libertacao Nacional de Angola), 3 for PLD (Partido Liberal Democratico) and the remaining 7 for 7 smaller parties holding a seat each. The five Portuguese speaking countries of Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tome and Mozambique, submitted a proposal to the meeting suggesting Portuguese as the working language of the 32-member Union. This is to be ratified at an ad-hoc session scheduled for February next year. According to the final communiquÈ of the Cotonou conference, the participants adopted a resolution which calls for the cancellation of the current "coercive measures" against Libya. These, they said, had "human and material consequences" for the people of that country.


According to Angola's health ministry, successful results were achieved in the second phase of a World Health Organisation (WHO), sponsored polio vaccination campaign launched in Angola on August 23. Vice-Minister, Mrs. Teresa Cohen, said the campaign was simultaneously launched in all of Angola's 18 provinces, including the areas under control of UNITA guerrillas. This is unlike the first phase in 1996 where there was reluctance on the part of UNITA to allow the vaccinators into some of the areas under their control. It was predicted that an estimated 2 million children under 5 would be immunized during this second phase and according to the vice-minister, the capital Launda and some of the provinces managed a 70 percent success rate in the first two days of the campaign. The campaign was supported by UNICEF, AFRICARE, and several other NGOs.


Angola has announced it will not join an eventual African peace keeping force in the neigbouring Congo-Brazzaville where fierce fighting between troops loyal to incumbent president Pascal Lissouba and former head of State Denis Sassou Nguesso militia erupted June 5. These clashes are said to have killed more than 3,000 people. The warring factions were reluctant to agree a cease-fire at peace talks mediated by Nguesso's son-in-law, Gabon's president Omar Bongo.

The Angolan government, in a communiquÈ issued in Luanda, said they had neither been contacted by either of the conflicting parties about joining such a peacekeeping mission, nor were they considering their participation in such a force. "The government fully supports the international mediation of Gabonese president Omar Bongo, whom it encourages to pursue efforts to attain a political agreement," said the note from the foreign ministry on August 20.

The idea of forming an African peacekeeping force for Congo had been put forward by the Congo Democratic Republic president, Laurent-Desire Kabila, at a summit in Kinshasa in mid August which was also attended by Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Pastor Bizi Mwungu of Rwanda. According to the proposal, the Congo force would be made up of Angola, Chad, Rwanda, Burundi, Central Africa Republic, RDC and Uganda. 8. ANGOLA AND US REPUBLIC INSTITUTE HOLD DEMOCRACY WORKSHOP

On August 19-21, Angola's ruling MPLA party and the US International Republican Institute (IRI), organised a workshop on democracy, in an initiative said to have been aimed at allowing senior militants of the MPLA to become more familiar with the political systems of the United States and Kenya in the periods previous to the democratic systems of these two nations.

An MPLA attendant said the workshop came up with a comparative study of "the democratic systems based on responsibilities and obstacles in the power and in the transition from civil wars to a political system governed by the role of political parties and citizens".

"The intention was to achieve a better knowledge of the experiences of other countries of the world in such aspects as the conceptual composition of a political party, the role of a party in elections, the planning of a programme, financial values and the relations with the constituency," MPLA information secretary Mr. Joao Lourenco said. According to Mr. David Kramer, IRI's Angola representative, Angola's politics are "more complicated than those of the United States since the American population neither fully trusts in the Democrats nor in the Republicans".

The IRI has previously held a workshop in Luanda. This was for militants of the former UNITA rebel movement, who said at the end it that it had been an "extremely useful event". 9. SOUTH AFRICA AND IVORY COAST REJECT UNITA PLEA FOR HELP

South Africa has refused a UNITA request for major involvement in the ongoing peace process in Angola and Ivory Coast has also dismissed as "untrue" Jonas Savimbi's statements that the former French colony intended to mediate in the conflict.

The foreign ministry of Ivory Coast, in a letter recently sent to its counterpart in Luanda, said they denied "any intention of parallel mediation in the Angola conflict as alleged by leader Jonas Savimbi". The Ivory Coast reaction came after Jonas Savimbi declared President Henri Konan had promised, at a meeting in Abidjan, to mediate in Angola's peace process. "..Ivory Coast government wants to avoid any misunderstandings and reaffirms a positive appreciation of the role of (current UN Angola peace) mediator Alioune Beye and that of the observers, the ambassadors to Angola of the United States, Russia and Portugal". It explained that the meeting that was held in Abidjan between the Ivorian president and the UNITA leader had been suggested by the United States to persuade Savimbi to cooperate fully in the implementation of the Lusaka peace deal.

Diplomatic sources in Pretoria were quoted in the Luanda media as saying UNITA foreign secretary Alcides Sakala had spent a week there from August 14 trying to lobby for a major involvement by South Africa in the Angolan conflict, which was "promptly rejected". "Whenever UNITA has troubles they come to knock on our door. But we support the resolutions of the United Nations and SADC. We will do what the others do," they said, in an apparent reference to UN Security Council sanctions. According to the same sources, "eventual involvement of South Africa could occur but only in the framework of the UN, OAU and SADC, and only if there is the real commitment of UNITA. We will do nothing at bilateral level. We are tired of promises".


The Coca Cola company is planning to set up a plant in Angola's capital Luanda "as soon as possible," according to Mr. Donald McHenry, member of the board of directors of the firm.

McHenry said contacts have already been made with the Angolan authorities with the aim of speeding up the project that he said "we believe to be of interest both to the company and the people of Angola". This was at the end of a meeting on August 19 with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, during a visit to Angola along with Coca Cola's vice president for Africa, Mr. Percy Wilson. They also announced that there was the "great expectation" that a large number of US firms intended to invest in Angola. These included the "Corporate Council," formed by over 160 companies that invest outside the United States in the areas of agriculture, oil and non-alcoholic drinks.


From: (Africa_news Network) Date: Tue, 02 Sep 1997 12:10:46 +0200 Subject: ANGOLA NEWS ONLINE #1 Message-ID: <>

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