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Propaganda in Luanda: Angolan opposition party discredits provisional election results

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

Following on from the closest election that the country has seen in decades, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party comes under fire, after facing the most significant challenge from opposition parties. In the diamond rich country, there are over 14 million people who are eligible to vote; and this year there'd been an extremely high turnout, pushing the opposition party closer to a victory.

Burke (2022) writing for The Guardian commented on the elections stating that "observers have described the election as an “existential moment” for Angola, and a test for democracy across a swath of sub-Saharan Africa"- but after being in Angola in the build up to the elections, it's definitely safe to call it naive if you believe democracy was actually allowed to prevail. I'll explain why...

The MPLA has been in power since Angola declared independence from Portugal in 1975, but discontent has now reached tippling point, where many believe the party may have to resort to fraud to secure another five years in power through rigging and repression, experts say. When I was in Angola a few weeks ago (Luanda to be exact), one of the first things I noticed was the extent of the propaganda of the MPLA party.

Joao Lourenco (the leader of the MPLA party)'s face can be seen EVERYWHERE. On every billboard, on every corner, on clothing distributed to the poorer people of the country to try and get them on side. I was out and about in some of the most urban, populated and low income areas of the city, and was stunned to see many wearing MPLA branded clothing. I asked a family member of mine, "why do they wear these clothes if this party has not helped the country in 50 years?" - the response I got was simple: "these people don't have a choice, it's just free clothes to them". That's when the penny dropped for me, this is nothing but an attempt at propaganda. The audacious campaign is led with the slogan 'a forca do povo' in Portuguese, meaning "the force of the people". It's no wonder why Angola's opposition leader on Monday, disputed the provisional results by the electoral commission stating that they are the wrong figures... because they offer the people no more than promotional clothes.

The main opposition party, UNITA, says it has proof that the results advanced by the CNE are incorrect and that the party has more than the 90 mandates. Adalberto Costa Junior, the party leader stated "UNITA does not recognize the provisional results...the CNE also cannot disentangle itself from what it has itself produced. These are minutes signed by everybody. They are formal documents not of UNITA, but of the National Electoral Commission. So it is not possible under any circumstances for the CNE to regurgitate to assume the result of the vote."


The National Electoral Commission published the following results:

People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) reached a majority with 51.07 percent of the vote.

National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) was the runner-up with 44.05 percent of votes.


Citing discrepancies between the official count and his own party's tallies, Costa Junior called for an international commission to review the tally."We can affirm with total assurance that the MPLA did not win the elections," he told a cheering crowd of supporters. With the opposition almost certain that the MPLA did not genuinely win the elections, it wouldn't shock me if the MPLA were pre-emptive of this, hence the OTT attempts at Propaganda that I experienced in the build up to the hottest contested election since 1992, in Angola.

More to follow on this story.


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In-depth and straight to the point good job

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