Elections2022: Protest marks delivery of UNITA candidacy

Luanda – The presentation Tuesday of the candidacy of Angola’s main opposition party (UNITA) to the Constitutional Court (TC), to run for this August’s general elections, was marked by a protest staged by some citizens against the inclusion of Abel Chivukuvuku as candidate for vice-president of the Republic.

A group of alleged members of the main opposition party in Angola gathered outside the TC to protest against the choice of placing Abel Chivukuvuku in the second position of the list of the party’s candidates, thus making him UNITA’s vice presidential candidate.

The demonstrators held placards with hostile slogans, especially against Abel Chivukuvuku, a former UNITA member who recently led the electoral coalition CASA-CE, the current second main political force in the opposition.

The protesters also slammed the personalities of other political forces that have been integrated in UNITA’s list of candidates.

Among the people targeted are some leaders of the Bloco Democrático (Democratic Bloc) led by Filomeno Vieira Lopes and other politicians, who have been included in UNITA’s list of candidates through the recently created Frente Patriótica Unida (FPU –United Patriotic Front).

The proterstors displayed posters calling on the party leadership to respect “the sacrifice of the known and anonymous heroes of the UNITA cause”, alluding to veteran militants who had been left off the list of candidates for the upcoming general elections.

According to the spokesman for the demonstrators, Rafael Mukanda, the integration of such “strange” figures into the party represents “a betrayal and an insult to the memory of our heroes, those who have already left and those who are still among us”.

UNITA’s secretary-general, Álvaro Chipwamanga Daniel, on his turn, downplayed the initiative stating that in a democratic state and under the rule of law, “it is normal for people to demonstrate, since they are exercising their right to demonstrate.

Speaking to the press following the delivery of the candidacy process, Álvaro Daniel said many of those citizens that demonstrated in front of the TC headquarters “are not even party militants”.

Even if they were, “they don’t represent a thousandth part” of the party militants, the politician stressed.

Mr Daniel affirmed that UNITA’s list of candidates for MPs, President and Vice-President of the Republic “is of generational transition and inclusion gathering several political and civil society figures”.

The UNITA official added that many of the party’s historical figures, such as Isaías Samakuva, Lukamba Gato, Kamalata Numa and others, “voluntarily” gave up their seats to allow younger candidates to take up parliament seats.

Speaking on allegations of possible division within his party between supporters and challengers of the current leader, Daniel said those allegations are “an invention of someone who is of no concern to us.”

“It represents a manifestation of racism and we are not here to defend racists,” Mr Daniel said, adding that UNITA’s candidacy “is by Angolans for Angolans, and reflects the will to bring about change in the country”.

UNITA’s list of candidates is led by Adalberto Costa Júnior and Abel Chivukuvuku, respectively as candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency of the Republic.

UNITA is the second largest party in Angola and the largest political opposition formation in the country currently holding 51 MPs from the total of 220 Parliament seats.

It was founded on March 13, 1966, by dissidents of the FNLA and the GRAE (Angola’s Resistance Government in Exile) of which Jonas Savimbi, its founder, was minister of Foreign Affairs.

Under the leadership of Jonas Savimbi, UNITA participated in the first general elections in Angola’s history held in September 1992 earning the status of Angola’s second largest political force with 70 deputies or 34.1 percent of the votes.

In the following elections, UNITA led by Isaías Samakuva obtained 16 parliament seats (2008), 32 in 2012 and 51 in 2017.

The party is currently led by Adalberto Costa Júnior, former leader of the Parliamentary Bench (whip), who is running for the Presidency of Angola.

With the delivery of its candidacy, UNITA became the fourth political formation to comply with this legal prerequisite to run for this August’s general elections, presenting it less than four days before the end of the process that began on June 6.

Source: Angola Press News Agency

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