What happened to democracy in Angola?

Social unrest is mounting in Angola since the first large protest on October 24th and the death of Dr Silva in the hands of the police. At the…

Social unrest is mounting in Angola since the first large protest on October 24th and the death of Dr Silva in the hands of the police. At the previous protest the urban youth came in hundreds only to be met with threat and “kidnapping”. Many were taken in by police and several journalists were taken in custody for no apparent reasons except the purpose of doing their job. But it would seem that the regime does not like to show its real issues to the world.

Angola would like to portray itself to the world as a democratic and lawful country, and yet it’s ruling political class is misplacing its political interests first, placing those of the bottom million people last. This is a non-resolved issue simply because there is no real desire to.

Since the new president’s arrival in 2017, the climate of uncertainty and tension in Angola has escalated. Even before the COVID, economic situation was catastrophic where the local currency lost more than 40% of its value in a few months. Today it is at breaking point where people feel they have nothing else to lose. Some lost their businesses, are unable to pay their loans, people just can barely afford to make ends meet. The country is governed by an elitist class who appoint themselves to these positions and only see self-interest. Those so-called authority within the political party hiding beneath masks, calling themselves guardians of Angola.

This nation’s independence, that was fought with sweat and blood of the common people, in now jeopardized by a political class that works selfishly for their own personal gains and the future of their off springs who will continue “their legacy”.

The fundamental principles, as for Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Angola (1992), state that;

” Angola shall be a sovereign and independent Republic, based on the dignity of the individual and the will of the Angolan people. The Republic of Angola shall be a sovereign and independent nation whose primary objective shall be to build a free and democratic society of peace, justice and social progress.”

These are words we appreciate, but the reality is that democracy in Angola is far from being felt and understood, in particular when our livelihood is dependent on it. It almost feels like we are disposable bodies to service the government when it serves them well. November 11th was no exception. Who can defend the country’s constitution if the government does not even protect the survival of its people and their interests? November 2020 was a milestone for us to realize that the 45th anniversary of independence, the right to speak and demonstrate will continue to be silenced and even denied by force. This year on camera at least one young demonstrator reportedly died fighting for that right.

Justifying that COVID measures required the prohibition of protests, head of police gave a strict warning on television a few days before Angola’s Independence Day. Instead of creating a feeling of unity and hope for better days, the authorities issued a decree that stated loud and clear that protests would not be tolerated, withholding the right of demonstration. Yet, according to the constitution, this right could only be prohibited in a state of emergency such as a war, which clearly was not the case.


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