UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
ANGOLA NEWS ONLINE/ANGOLA NEWS ONLINE/ANGOLA NEWS ONLINE
Edition #12 28 March 1998
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CRISES ROCK UNITA LEADERSHIP
With April 1 as a final deadline, the leader of UNITA, Jonas Savimbi has to demonstrate how committed he is to peace by moving his party headquarters from the central highland region to the country's capital of Luanda.
Failure to do so, which appears more likely day by day, will enhance the already widespread fears of his secret plans to resume hostilities in this nation of 11 million inhabitants covering 1,246,700 square kilometres. A nation so often battered by war that is now used to the gap between words and action in the ongoing Angolan peace process.
Because of this gap, most are sceptical about Savimbi's recent promises to observe the April 1 deadline; most people, used to the one step forward and two steps back UNITA attitude, are of the opinion that seeing is believing.
However, in the middle of all this there are other crises rocking the political leadership of the UNITA movement, presumably giving yet more headaches to Jonas Savimbi, who now appears to risk isolation from some of his key aides.
One crisis follows secretary-general Paulo Lukamba "Gato" accusing UNITA's parliamentary group leader Abel Chivukuvuku of favouring the MPLA-dominated government, during parliamentary debates on the 1998 state budget. And on top of this, reports in the independent local media now say a group of discontented UNITA generals, based in the northern Uige province, is allegedly preparing to oust Savimbi from the leadership of the movement.
A senior UNITA official in Luanda, who asked not to be named, was quoted as saying that the generals have even threatened not to accept demobilization and that Savimbi has given the task of appeasing the generals to vice president AntÛnio Dembo, who is a Uige-born. The official declined to name those involved in the plot but they include some of the best military commanders UNITA has ever had. More recently, the man who in 1994 signed the controversial Lusaka Peace Accord on behalf of UNITA, Eugenio Ngolo Manuvakola, has been expelled from the party. Savimbi accuses the ex secretary-general, who has been based in Luanda since August last year, of disrespecting the standing of the party.
Without giving details, UNITA's political commission (CP), its highest decision-making body, on March 16 announced that Manuvakola could no longer speak in the name of the party as he was no longer a member, stating that he had 'deliberately infringed the party statutes'. The CP communique was released in the movement's Bailundo headquarters in central Huambo province under the title of "the case of Manuvakola".
The 'case' of Manuvakola is believed to have started at the time of the UN mediated negotiations which led to the Lusaka accord, after which Manuvakola, still as Secretary-general of UNITA, was immediately sent to jail by Dr Savimbi because he was dissatisfied with the document signed by Manuvakola. This document, signed at a ceremonywhich Savimbi had been due to attend, is the formal document that set in action the Lusaka Peace Accord.
The Lusaka agreement was sealed by Manuvakola, together with Angola's foreign minister Venancio de Moura and President JosÈ Eduardo dos Santos. This has from then on cast doubt on whether the two sides, and especially UNITA,would respect a document not signed by one of the top leaders involved, especially after the UNITA jailed its signatory. In August 1997, General Manuvakola managed to escape from his imprisonment in Huambo and sought refuge in Luanda. He said, however, on reaching Luanda, that he remained loyal to the party which, in his opinion, could well survive even without Savimbi, whom he accused 'of insanity and being obsessed with fighting'. Whether Savimbi was affected by the accusations or whether any of the movement's hardliners reacted at the time is not known.
However, things went from bad to worse on March 12 this year when Manuvakola renewed bitter criticism over what he called the 'ridiculous attitude' of Dr Savimbi towards the ongoing peace process. In an interview in Luanda with the state-owned RNA radio on 13 March, UNITA's 32nd anniversary, he said that 'Savimbi is developing provocatory intentions. He wants peace to be replaced by military confrontation but wants the government to attack first'.
In his opinion, all UNITA militants would be better to abandon 'these warlike ideas and leave Savimbi alone to scream in the desert'. He said that he did not see a valid visible alternative to the peace process. Reacting to his expulsion from the party, he described the action as illegal because, as he said, 'the decision did not observe the statutes as evoked by the political commission'. He said he will remain a full member of the party and of the political commission as well 'like Savimbi himself' or he would take the case to court.
"If necessary and as an Angolan citizen I will resort to the relevant institutions of the state in the area of justice since our party has been registered with the supreme court since 1992," said Manuvakola who joined UNITA in 1975 to become its secretary-general in 1992 after the death of his predecessor, Alicerces Mango.
A few challenges await UNITA, Angola's main opposition group, in the days to come.
1. NEW DELAYS IN PEACE PROCESS UNACCEPTABLE, WARNS UN MEDIATOR
The Angolan UN peace mediator, Alioune Beye, has warned both the Angolan government and UNITA that further procrastination in the ongoing peace process will not be tolerated. "We cannot continue to permanently approve timetables which are never implemented," said Beye when addressing press on the new timetable agreed at the Joint Commission on closing the peace process in Angola.
The new schedule was approved on March 6 after UNITA failed to meet the deadlines of a previous timetable which demanded the process to be finalized on February 28. Beye promised that MONUA will pressure both UNITA and the Angolan government to fully comply with their individual tasks as programmed in new schedule. He said that if this was not done it was only the Angolan government and UNITA who lose credibility, but also the other parties involved in the process.
He welcomed president JosÈ Eduardo dos Santos' nomination of 10 UNITA appointees for the posts of provincial governors and vice-governors on March 16, in line with the agreement and following the timetable. UNITA will under the 1994 Lusaka accord have three posts of governors and seven vice-governors in the 18 provinces of Angola. On the central administration level, UNITA holds four posts of ministers (geology and mining, trade, health and tourism) and seven of vice-ministers (defence, home affairs, finance, agriculture, public works, social welfare, and social communication). They took office in April 1997.
Still to be nominated are six UNITA appointees for diplomatic posts as ambassadors to Canada, Mexico, India, Cape Verde, Poland and to UNESCO.
2. SANCTIONS ON UNITA LIFTED ONLY AFTER FULL PEACE - KOFI ANAN
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said recently that although advances had been made in the Angolan peace process, the Security Council sanctions imposed on UNITA would not be lifted until the Lusaka peace accord was fully implemented.
Kofi Anan, speaking to the press in Geneva,said that the peace process had progressed recently, but there was still further to go. Saying that the solution to the case now rests in the hands of UNITA's leader Jonas Savimbi, he expressed hope that the peace process will be concluded before the end of the year.
In his latest report on Angola submitted to the Security Council, the Secretary-General sugested that the UN observer mission to Angola be reduced in size when its current mandate ends in April.
3.UNITA GENERALS DEMOBILIZED
Fifty-six of a total of 193 senior UNITA army officers were formally demobilized on March 19, at a ceremony held at the movement's Bailundo headquarters in Angola's central Huambo province.
The demobilization was attended by the UN military commander in Angola, General Philip Valery Sibanda of Zimbabwe, in the presence of UNITA's foreign secretary Alcides Sakala and General JosÈ Maria with the Angolan armed forces staff. Those demobilized included generals AbÌlio Camalata Numa, Altino Sapalalo "Bock," and Artur Vinama, the three most well known and influential UNITA generals.
The decision to disarm the 193 UNITA generals this month was one of the steps agreed on at the UN chaired Joint Commission (JC) on March 6 in a new timetable for the peace process wind-up, following UNITA's public announcement earlier this month that it no longer possessed armed forces.
Endorsing this, the United Nations said all UNITA soldiers except the 400 men chosen for Mr Savimbi's guard, plus the 193 high ranking officers now being disarmed, had been demobilized. 4. BAN ON UNITA POLITICAL ACTIVITY LIFTED
>From March 11 the Angolan government officially lifted a ban it imposed on UNITA from exercising party and political activities in the country.
The government said in a note that the move followed a recent UNITA public statement that it no longer possessed armed forces. With this, UNITA has complied with one of the key objectives and tasks of the 1994 Lusaka protocol which demands its (UNITA) demilitarization and transformation into a 'de facto political party that acts accordingly to constitutional law'.
However, UNITA rejected the decision saying it would not transfer its headquarters to Luanda before the disarming of civilians was completed. This was, however, dismissed by the US ambassador to Angola, Donald Steinberg, who together with the ambassadors of Russia and Portugal is a member of the 'troika' of observers on the Angolan peace process. As Steinberg said, there was no linkage between the coming of UNITA leadership to Luanda and the disarming of civilians.
It is suspected that the majority of Angolan inhabitants, both in the towns and in the contryside, have at least one gun kept in their houses because of fears that war might return at any time.
5. SOUTH AFRICA PLEDGES TO HINDER MERCENARIES
South Africa has promised that it will do its best to impede mercenaries from its territory from continuing to fly illegally into Angola with 'destabilizing purposes'.
Foreign minister, Alfred Nzo said during a short visit to Luanda to pave the way for the upcoming visit to Angola of President Nelson Mandela, that it was most important to realize that it is not the SA government which supports such flights and such people. He reminded Angola that the South African parliament recently passed a law banning mercenarism in the country. However, he noted that it was difficult to control all flights from South Africa, legal or illegal, with the country having more than 200 private airports.
Because of the former apartheid regime, he said, there are still those who continue to support the destabilizing of Angola. During his visit, Mandela is expected to discuss a global cooperation accord with President dos Santos which could provide for an Angola-South Africa joint commission as well as the abolition of visas for official and diplomatic passports.
6. FOOD SELF RELIANCE WILL TAKE TIME - AGRICULTURE MINISTER
Angola will not achieve food self-reliance in the medium term unless political and military stability is fully restored as soon as possible, agriculture minister Carlos Fernandes has predicted. He also said that efforts should be placed on technical and financial assistance to agriculture to pave the way towards the country's economic stability.
According to the minister, the lack of both free flow of people across the country and of concession of loans to peasants are the major obstacles to the achievement of self reliance. Carlos Fernando said this recently in Luanda when leaving for Gabon for the 18th conference of the African Timber Organization.
Referring to the export of Angolan timber, he confirmed that the country is far below its actual productive capacity because most of the equipment necessary was destroyed during the war. Furthermore, he said, Angola faced difficulties in relaunching production, transformation and trading of timber because of the high costs of production.
A timber company based in the oil-rich northern Cabinda province, one of the country's biggest timber producers, said recently that they needed about US$7 million to fully restore the production levels after an eight years halt. It claimed to have submitted to the government a proposal on how to raise funds for rehabilitation of the timber plants in Cabinda but said these were not receiving due attention from the authorities. It said that all they had got from the government were promises.
Minister Carlos Fernandes says however that at present the role of the state was only that of 'regulator and facilitator but not of managing the area'.
7. TWO NEW OIL WELLS RIGGED
Angola's oil society "SONANGOL" has announced that two new oil wells were struck in the second week of March this year in the northern region of Luanda.
A press release issued in Luanda said that the Elf Exploration Angola struck these at Block 17 the "Rosa-1" well lying at 1,405 metres deep offshore, some 200 km northwest of Luanda.
Tests confirmed reserves of up to 12,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). The note added that at block 15, some 300 kilometres northeast of Luanda, Exxon rigged a new reserve of an estimated 10,000 bpd.
8.COCA COLA INVESTS US$35 MILLION
Angola has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Coca Cola company providing for a global investment of US$35 million in a project expected to bring an estimated 1,440 jobs by the year 2,000. This followed negotiations started last year for the opening of a Coca Cola plant in Luanda and in other provinces, it was announced in Luanda by the Council of ministers.
On its part, the council added, Spain's official credit institute (OCI) is to fund with US$7 million a project for the rehabilitation of electricity lines from the Cambambe dam in the north of Angola to the capital Luanda. The funding of the project will occur under a convention entered into by OCI and Angola's central bank (BNA), which has already been approved at the council of ministers.
Luanda been faced with permanent power cuts because of obsolete cables still in use in the power line from the Cambambe dam, presently the sole Luanda electricity supplier.
9.2,000 CASES OF AIDS IN 12 MONTHS
The health ministry says 2,000 cases of AIDS were diagnosed in Angola in the last 12 months. Officials said at a recent Luanda conference on AIDS that the highest numbers recorded were in the urban and suburban areas. They did not specify the provinces of the country with higher rates, but it is believed that these are in the northern region of the country especially on the border with ex-Zaire and Congo-Brazzaville, namely Lunda-Norte, Lunda-Sul, Uige, Cabinda as well as the capital Luanda.
Experts insist that the figure quoted might not be completely credible, suspecting the actual figure to be even higher since there is no effective control of the disease in the country.
According to the director of the Angolan Association against AIDS (AALSIDA), Mr Luis Kyame, the government is not paying the necessary attention to the problem of AIDS in the country. He urged the government to provide funds for AIDS-related programmes including the purchase of medicines which can delay the development of HIV.
10.OVER 50,000 WITH NO PLACE IN SCHOOL
The education ministry has confirmed that over 50,000 children will remain out of school this year in Luanda allegedly because of lack of classrooms. According to Mr Andre Soma, the education ministry delegate for Luanda, the city is short of 1000 new classrooms to meet the needs of the students.
Some schools with about 600-900 places were said to have received between 10-15,000 applications. This has forced a large number of the aspirant students to be dropped. Education minister Antonio Burity da Silva on March 20 said that he recognized that last year, contrary to expectations, the ministry failed to implement all the plans for the construction of new schools, with these being put off to 1998 due to lack funds.
However, he denied rumours that this school year risked being marred, as in previous years, by a new wave of teachers strikes because of increasing discontent over poor and delayed salaries. He said arrangements have been made to ensure that the salaries will now on be paid on time.
From: AfricaNN@inform-bbs.dk (Africa_news Network) Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 08:23:49 +0200 Subject: ANGOLA NEWS ONLINE #12 Message-ID: <email@example.com>
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