Angola News Online (4) - 11/4/97

Angola News Online (4) - 11/4/97


Edition #4 4 November 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.

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A very large question mark still hangs over when the time will come that 'real' peace will be achieved in Angola. On November 20, it will be three years since the Lusaka Peace Protocol came into effect, but all that appears to have been achieved so far is an apparent incapacity for those directly involved in the conflict to forge a real reconciliation. As a result, such words as violence, attack, violation, accusations, humiliation, intimidation, distrust and propaganda remain part and parcel of the human and political relations of Angola.

Political observers and the man in the street do not dare predict the future anymore although there are still some western diplomats who insist on what could be called hypocritical optimism when giving their views on the course of the Angolan peace process, with their pretence that "everything is all right".

"I have been involved in the Angolan issue for four years and have learned not to make any predictions. If I did so, they would not have credibility. But, despite some difficulties, the peace process is on track," said US president special envoy Paul Hare recently while in Luanda, when asked to comment on whether UNITA would meet the UN 30-day deadline for complying with all their obligations on the Lusaka Protocol and the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.

However, as a local analyst put it, " there are certain moments when successive good news fuels the hope that peace is around the corner and then suddenly something happens that seem to set everything back to point zero". Just days after the two warring parties (the government and UNITA), publicly reported progress in the first phase of the restoration of state authority,a wave of mutual accusations regarding faults in the peace accord implementation and the discovery of UNITAís 'secret plan,'introduced the spectre of a new war.

During a recent session of the Angolan parliament, the government quoted from a copy of the UNITA "secret plan," a document which it claimed as evidence that Jonas Savimbi's movement was reviving its military units and recruiting new combatants "for the next phase of the struggle".Vice minister for territorial administration, General Higino Carneiro, quoted from the report:"UNITA has already observed all their obligations on the Lusaka protocol (...) and every party militant (...) should now come to the conclusion that both MPLA and the international community are using the Lusaka protocol exclusively to destroy UNITA."

UNITA has not officially reacted to the report, but party officials in Luanda accused the government of preparing a "propagandistic manoeuvre aimed at suffocating the impact of their letter to mediator Alioune Beyeto, " - allegedly sent prior to the report -"denouncing a series of aggressive actions carried out by the army and police in areas where state administration has already been restored".

"These are actions clearly directed at the dismembering of UNITA's civilian structures with the objective of rendering impossible the effective transformation (of the movement) into a political party,"a UNITA delegate on the UN-brokered Angolan Joint Commission said.The delegate, Mr Junjuvili, said that his movement had been incapable of complying with all obligations by the end of October "because of the artificial difficulties created by the (UN mission) MONUA and the government, in addition to logistical problems".

Critics have begun to blame these controversies on what they call "an overdose of flexibility and passiveness" on the part of the United Nations towards the UNITA movement, even after it was widely accused, by the international community in general and UN itself in particular, of deliberately delaying the conclusion of the peace plan and preparing for a new war.In the opinion of these critics, the United Nations and other foreign non-governmental organizations based in Angola are interested in keeping jobs for their personnel rather than bringing peace to the war-torn country.

UNITA says that they are trying their best to see that the peace process is not derailed and that more time should be given for peace to be "slowly but safely" achieved in the country. They accuse the government of failing to provide sufficient accommodation and offices for UNITA officials in Luanda so the movement's leadership can leave the jungle and be installed in the country's capital. This the government dismisses as an "irrelevant excuse".The government maintains that as stated in the 1994 Lusaka peace protocol, regarding the accomplishment of the tasks timetable,"no task shall be initiated before the previous one has been concluded" which basically means UNITA completing all its tasks before the government does.

Not happy with UNITA's strategy that seems to rely on so-called "eleventh hour steps" when they are warned of any punishment from the Security Council, the government has asked the UN special envoy to Angola,Alioune Beye, to demand UNITA provide the UN Angola observer mission (MONUA) with supplementary information on their hidden weapons,soldiers and communication equipment.

Expressing worry about the poor progress made with the demilitarization of UNITA forces, the government also demanded in the letter to Mr Beye that UNITA should "produce a declaration stating that it has completely disarmed". Well informed military sources say that Jonas Savimbi, who remains reluctant to move his new Bailundo headquarters to Luanda allegedly for security reasons, is holding an estimated 30,000-men force intact and is ready for renewed violence having now been re-equipped with newly purchased sophisticated arms, mostly imported from Bulgaria. Reports say that at most of the locations UNITA surrendered to the government, hundreds of armed soldiers were moved further afield on the eve of this 'normalizing of the state administration'.

Apart from all the mystery and confusion surrounding the problems of demilitarization, there is also the worry of civilians living in the areas held by UNITA guerrillas, as it is impossible for them to live an ordinary life in these areas or to move freely from place to place.

Almost all positive steps taken by UNITA so far have been a result of pressure, especially that applied by the international community. When UNITA offered to surrender two of the five key locations to the government on the eve of a UN Security Council decision on sanctions in late September, there was a hope that such an attitude "of political willingness" would hold and that at last all UNITA-held areas throughout the country would return to normal. Thirty days later, however, reports from different regions of the country have confirmed that this process has basically been fictitious with, in many cases, officials from the government either being barred from doing their jobs or harassed in other ways.

The government has reiterated that the installation of the UNITA leaders in the country's capital as well as the legalization of all UNITA political activity will only occur after the movement's full compliance with the legal provisions in force in the country.The government also said that it will ignore any "procrastinative pretexts" regarding the restoring of its authority in Bailundo and Andulo in the central highland provinces of Huambo and Bie respectively, villages which once again at the eleventh hour UNITA said it would not surrender to the government.

The latest report of UN secretary-general Kofi Annan to the Security Council appeals to UNITA to take urgent steps to secure the transfer of all the areas it holds and to transform its VORGAN radio to an unpartisan facility. In the report, the secretary general states that he is "particularly worried" about persistent delays in both UNITA's demilitarization process and the application of government administration to zones still held by Savimbi's guerrillas.

The Secretary General suggests finally that President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and the UNITA leader should meet as soon as possible and once more seek ways of arriving at a national reconciliation.



Angola has announced that it is to send a humanitarian aid consignment of medicines to Congo/Brazzaville. "Despite its own difficulties, Angola is going to send a consignment of medicines destined especially for the civilian population, including Angolan victims of the recently terminated military confrontations," said a note from the presidential office in Luanda. In the message, president Jose Eduardo dos Santos congratulates the new president of Congo/Brazzaville, Denis Sassou N'Guesso on his recent coming to power after he led a four-month battle to topple the democratically elected president Pascal Lissouba, whose whereabouts are still unknown.

The conflict in Congo erupted on June 5 this year allegedly after president Lissouba ordered the army to disarm the "Cobra" militia, then serving as N'Guesso's bodyguards.


Controversy was sparked recently when Angola's ruling MPLA party secretary general, Mr Lopo do Nascimento, expressed disappointment at what he called unfair and unbalanced economic cooperation with Portugal, just at the time when Angola was expecting an official visit of the Portuguese prime minister, Antonio Guterres.

Mr Lopo do Nascimento maintained the need for defining a "real strategic partnership" which, in his opinion, should result from joint action from both Portuguese and Angolan companies. He said that this should not be, as happens now, in a partnership that only benefits the Portuguese firms and citizens. He also said that just the fact that Angola's debt is paid for through oil shipments allows Portugal to be in a very privileged position where it monopolizes the Angolan markets, whereas Angolan companies do not benefit.

He accused Portuguese construction enterprises and banks of using "racist and discriminatory" behaviour towards the Angolan work force. He also maintained that a frank discussion of these problems was necessary before advancing to a definitive cooperation framework which could benefit both sides.Mr Lopo do Nascimento also said that it would be "a mistake" for Angola's state oil company, SONANGOL, to hold shares in the Portuguese PETROGAL counterpart as planned, because "Portugal and PETROGAL do not constitute a strategic interest for Angola, and SONANGOL, as a state company, should act only in those regions where there is a strategic interest for Angola".

During his four-day visit which ended October 24,prime minister Antonio Guterres failed to work out a planned general cooperationagreement which was to include an agreement on SONANGOL buying shares in PETROGAL. This is seen as being as a result of the Angolan governmentís dislike of the offer as reflected in Mr Lopo do Nascimento's statements.


The UN Development programme (UNDP) has confirmed data from the State Institute for Statistics (INE), showing that 67 per cent of the Angolan population live below the poverty line, presently measured at US$ 40 per adult per month.

In a statement from Mr Bernard Ntegeye, UN resident coordinator, on the occasion of World Poverty Day on October 17, it was reported that about 13 percent of the urban population in Angola is classified as living under extreme poverty conditions estimated at US$ 14 per adult per month.

The document states that the average age of a head of household in Angola is 36-45 years with most having less than eight years of schooling and with 67 per cent classified as illiterate.The latest UNDP report on human development places Angola in 165th position amongst 174 countries surveyed.Life expectancy is put at 46.3 years.

According to the Angolan planning minister, Emanuel Carneiro,Angola needs as much as US$ 160 million to eradicate poverty in a 10-year period."Eradication of poverty will never be sustainable in the long term if the big essential problems of the country are not properly solved," the minister said, adding that the extreme poverty inAngola is a result of a combination of factors: historical and political,ecological and demographic and socio-economic.

The UNDP report has suggested policies for decentralization. They also suggest help to the poor "through major access to education, health,suitable production technology as well as access to loans.

4.FIVE UN WORKERS KILLED IN BENGUELA PROVINCE Gunmen shot dead five persons with the United Nations in Angola in an attack on October 23 at Chongoroi in Angola's central coastal Benguela province, UN officials said in Luanda. Those killed were two civilians with the UN Angola observer mission (MONUA), two members of the MONUA Zimbabwe demining squad and one worker from a German non-governmental organization.

The US embassy in Luanda immediately condemned the attack and called upon the government "and especially UNITA" to track down the killers, who have not been identified. A note from the embassy said the United States was also extremely worried about the fate of two Angolan policemen who were reported missing following the attack, which occurred in an area held by UNITA.

"We are convinced that this criminal act serves as a warning that there is an urgent need for substantial progress in the peace process as only peace can secure security and prosperity for the Angolan people," the note said.


The UN World Food programme (WFP) has announced that it has delivered 70,000 metric tonnes of food to needy people in Angola since the beginning of the year.

The WFP says in a report that although their main priority is to provide humanitarian aid, the organization is making efforts to combine the delivery of foodstuffs with development and rehabilitation projects "to help the communities prepare their future".

The report says that the WFP is at present providing aid relief for 100,000 war-displaced persons, refugees, and other people affected by the war of which 44,000 are those who returned home from Zambia after the fall of the Mobutu regime in former Zaire.

The WFP report adds that another 30,000 refugees camped in the provinces of Benguela (centre), Moxico, and Lunda-Norte (east), could not be returned to their former home because of landmines in the area, impassable roads and general insecurity. Aid relief is also being provided to an estimated 2,000 exiles from Burundi now camped at Moxico province in east Angola.


The Angolan government October 24 officially started a nationwide operation to release members of the ëriotí police from camps where they have been quartered under the Lusaka peace plan.

"The quartering of the riot police was necessary from a political point of view but did not produce positive effects," said national police commander Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos Nando.

Mr Nando said the one year period in which the elite police force had been quartered in the camps had brought a decline in the ability of the police to prevent and fight crime in other parts of the country.


Following a visit by forty US businesspeople to Angola recently to investigate local possibilities for investment, a group of twelve representatives from Angolan entrepreneurial associations flew to Washington, DC for an "intensive" week-long training programme on management.

Conducted by the US Centre for International Private Enterprises (CIPE), an affiliate of the US Chamber of Trade, the programme took place October 20-28, in an initiative sponsored by the US National Endowment Democracy organization.

After the training programme, participants held talks with representatives of trade associations and the Washington Chamber of Trade to discuss the work of voluntary associations in the American context. They also attended a panel discussion on prospects for investment and growth in Angola from the perspective of the private sector. This was aimed at promoting the potential in Angola for American businesses.

8. MINI-SUMMIT ON SOUTHERN, CENTRAL AFRICA Presidents Omar Bongo of Gabon, Laurent-Desire Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Denis Sassou N'Guesso of Congo/Brazzaville were in Luanda October 27, for a meeting with their Angolan colleague, Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

The meeting was the initiative of their host, Dos Santos, and officially described as a means of seeking better neighbourhood relations to secure stability and security in the southern and central regions of Africa.

The four presidents unanimously agreed at the end of the talks that there was an urgent need for adopting common policies aimed at securing stability and security in the region.

President dos Santos called the summit just days after General Sassou N'Guesso was inaugurated as president of Congo/Brazzaville, after he toppled the former democratically elected head of state, Pascal Lissouba, in a military coup. ********************************

From: (Africa_news Network) Date: Wed, 05 Nov 1997 08:13:57 +0100 Subject: ANGOLA NEWS ONLINE #4 Message-ID: <>

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