- As Angola heads towards its constitutional elections on 5 September this year, minority opposition parties are already crying foul of intimidation and violence against their supporters by ruling party's youth league. A statement released by Frente para a Democracia (FpD) claimed today of acts of intimidation that may force the party to miss today's deadline for submission of party supporters' signature endorsing their candidature.
By mid-day, only eight of the country's 98 possible contestant parties had registered and submitted candidates for the September elections.
In their statement today, FpD appealed to international community and regional bodies to call down on ruling party to cease on acts of intimidation and violence against opposition parties. They gave as an example an incidence, last week, whereby a party's official in Moxico province was ambushed by unidentified men, believed to be members of the special agency, who made away with an envelope containing election cards for the party's supporters, which were to be processed for signature appending for FpD's candidature.
The party further claimed incidents of physical aggression on its members as well as removal of documents allegedly by both ruling party youth cadres and state secret agency.
"These events have been multiplying in several places around Angola, representing the continuous wave of physical violent aggressions to FpD members," said the statement, adding this was a threat to all political parties (including MPLA) to the deadline of 7July to deliver to Constitutional Court of Angola 15.000 signature files in order to take part in the September 5 elections. "Those who cannot deliver those signatures will not be able to run for elections," the party statement added.
The party strongly condemned violent acts, saying what was further surprising was that government had not yet responded to several appeals made by the party.
"We know that FpD is not the only victim of this current situation, several other political opposition parties such as UNITA, PAJOCA, and PLD have been victims of this election crisis," FpD statement claimed, adding that while ruling MPLA had already formalised its legislative election candidature, other political parties were being blocked by violence and intimidation, as well as biasness of state media which seemed to be carrying only ruling party campaigns.
Allegations by FpD have come despite reassurance by newly appointed Launda police chief, Joaquim Vieira Ribeiro on last week, who guaranteed that efforts are being made for the stability of citizens, more especially, bearing in mind holding of the forthcoming second legislative elections in Angola, set for September.
Mr Ribeiro had stated that police priority will be to reduce crimes and juvenile delinquency, which he said were on the increase and worrying in Luanda suburbs and other parts of the country.
Angolan parliament is expected to debate tomorrow further articles on proposed electoral amendments, which shall deal with among others issues of campaign and advertising as well as social communication, both meant to strengthen participation in forthcoming elections.
The September polls will be the first to be held in Angola since 1992, and the second in the country's history. The 1992 polls came as a result of a negotiated peace between MPLA and Unita and were won by President dos Santos and his party. The results however came as a surprise to Unita, which decided to return to the bush carrying on its warfare. This experience strongly contributed to the non-holding of elections after the 2002 peace.
While the September polls will choose representatives for the Luanda parliament, President dos Santos still is not up for elections, as presidential polls are expected in 2009, with the incumbent indicating he will want to run for a new term in office. The 68-year-old leader took office in 1979, after the death of Angola's first president, Agostinho Neto.
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