Brigadier Isaías Henriques Ngola Samakuva (Ambassador)
Leader of ‘União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola’ (UNITA)
Date of Birth: 08/07/1946
Place of Birth: Cunje
Married to Ines Satwala, with 5 children
Education: Huambo Industrial School, Angola.
Career: Joined National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and Forcas Armadas de Libertacao de Angola (FALA), Bie, 1974; Commander, Huambo Province, 1977; Head, UNITA logistics, Southern Front, 1978; Member, Central Committee, 1979; Vice Chairman, UNITA Foreign Affairs Commission; Member of the Strategic Operational Command (COPE), 1984; UNITA Permanent Secretary, and Director of President’s Office, 1986; UNITA representative to the United Kingdom, 1989-95; Delegate, UNITA negotiating team on Lusaka Protocol, 1993-94; UNITA Chief Representative to Joint Commission, 1994; Leader of UNITA 2003 to date.
Commentary: A first generation UNITA militant, Brigadier Samakuva became gradually more conciliatory since the signing of the Lusaka Accord in November 1994. As Leader of the UNITA delegation to the Joint Commission in Luanda, it was said that he sometimes got on better with the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) than with Jonas Savimbi’s circle in Bailundo. Samakuva’s military-diplomatic experience with UNITA and his loyalty to Savimbi made him a credible negotiator. He publicly backed the 1992 return to war, fighting for concessions from the MPLA in subsequent talks. This notwithstanding, at the 1995 Bailundo congress he was harangued by Savimbi for negotiating ‘errors’. He was elected leader of UNITA in 2003 following the death of Jonas Savimbi. His election marked UNITA’s transition to be being a political party.