President JoAPound o Lourenco reiterates warning to corrupt officials

Luanda – The President of the Republic, JoAPound o Lourenco, admitted Monday that Angola could continue to have corrupt people in this new political era, but it is certain that they will not go unpunished.

In an interview with the Portuguese Radio Television (RTP), on the occasion of the visit of his Portuguese counterpart, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, to Angola, the Head of State reaffirmed that the time of impunity was over and in the new context of the country there are no longer untouchables.

In power since September 2017, he said that fighting corruption is a commitment of every society, in particular the MPLA, and said he was convinced that he would defeat the corrupt officials.

JoAPound o Lourenco said that he is only leading the fight against this evil that had reached unsustainable levels in Angola, stressing that the guarantee of victory will be a matter of time.

“We must be honest and say that it lacks much courage, the loss of many nights, but we think we have the nerves of steel strong enough to carry this fight to the end, whatever difficulties and threats we may encounter along the way,” he said.

The President of the Republic denied that there is any type of persecution against the family of the former President, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, and other political figures of weight in the country.

Asked about the possibility of ex-President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, to be brought to justice, if there are elements for such, when he finished his immunity period, JoAPound o Lourenco said that it is an exclusive matter of the Public Prosecuting Council.

In the 30-minute interview, the Angolan head of state also praised the progress achieved in his first term of office, such as greater press freedom and the strengthening of citizens’ fundamental liberties.

According to the Head of State, it is no longer a taboo to organize a public protest in Angola, adding that non-governmental organizations and civil society are not today stigmatized for disagreeing with the President or the Government’s policies.

As for expectations of the future of the nation, he said that he would like, at the end of his term, to leave a country where citizens have more access to the press, more freedom of expression, more freedom of protest and better material and spiritual conditions.

Asked about the possibility of re-running to the post of President of the Republic, at the end of this term, JoAPound o Lourenco said it was still premature to talk about the issue.

Relations with Portugal

In another area, he said that there are good relations of friendship and cooperation between Angola and Portugal, which in his view are currently “at the peak of the mountain”.

However, the Angolan President considers it essential that the authorities of the two states continue to work towards increasing cooperation at other levels.

He said that the issue of Manuel Vicente, who “pinched” relations between the two countries, is already over, emphasizing that this difficult moment passed quickly and did not leave any sequels.

The cooperation relations between Angola and Portugal have been going on for 43 years, increasingly deepening and consolidating with the signing of several legal instruments.

The two states established diplomatic relations on March 9, 1976. Portugal is one of Angola’s main trading partners, a country where Portuguese companies have a strong presence in the construction, banking, food and beverage export sectors.

Official data indicate that, in the first quarter of 2018, Portuguese exports reached 348.7 million Euros, which represents a decrease compared to the same period of 2017, with 449.1 million Euros.

The structure of the main groups of goods exported to the Angolan market remains with machines and appliances at the top with 82.2 million Euros, followed by agricultural products (64.3 million Euros) and chemical products (37.586 million).

The three main product groups of goods imported by Angola from Portugal represent 52.8 percent of total Portuguese exports in the country. Portuguese imports of goods from Angola increased by almost 100 percent (99.93 percent) between January and March this year compared to the same period last year. They went from 62.5 million Euros in 2017 to 124.9 million Euros in 2018.

In his interview, the Angolan statesman also expressed the desire to contribute to the elevation of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), considering as insufficient what the organization does to the benefit of the peoples that integrate it.

Angola is expected to take over the presidency later this year after Cape Verde.

Asked about his references in the political world, JoAPound o Lourenco said admiring figures such as the first President of Angola, Antonio Agostinho Neto, who led the struggle for independence and whom he considered the “Moses of Angola.”

Another reference pointed out by the Angolan President, who said that his vocation was to serve the people more and better, was Nelson Mandela, who led the struggle for the liberation of his people and for their ability to cultivate forgiveness.

Source: Angola Press News Agency