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Published 5th September 2008

Vol 49 No 18


Angola

Elections at last

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The MPLA will retain its dominance in the first elections since the end of the civil war but a new generation of politicians will enter parliament

The 5 September elections will help to determine whether Angola attains its potential as one of Africa’s leading powers. Eight million voters will pick 220 members of parliament as their representatives in the National Assembly, from among 5,198 candidates, ten parties and four coalitions 16 years after the last open election. Then, the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola lost and relaunched its civil war, which ended in 2002 with the killing of its veteran leader, Jonas Savimbi. Now, outside a few districts in UNITA’s Planalto heartland, the country is at peace and demanding prosperity.


Campaign coffers

The election funds of the ruling Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola dwarf those of its rivals. Some say the campaign has been so peaceful partly because the sm...


Muzzling the media

A blot on the generally calm parliamentary election campaign was the six-month ban on Rádio Despertar, the voice of the main opposition party, the União para a Indepe...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Any deal made between the Mediterranean’s two most disingenuous leaders – Libya’s Moammar el Gadaffi and Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi – requires careful analysis – even more so when it involves a US$5 billion payment in compensation for Italy’s colonial crimes. Sadly for Africa’s reparations campaigners, the Italy- Libya deal does not signal a new lease of life for their cause after the death a decade ago of its financier, Nigeria’s Mosh...
Any deal made between the Mediterranean’s two most disingenuous leaders – Libya’s Moammar el Gadaffi and Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi – requires careful analysis – even more so when it involves a US$5 billion payment in compensation for Italy’s colonial crimes. Sadly for Africa’s reparations campaigners, the Italy- Libya deal does not signal a new lease of life for their cause after the death a decade ago of its financier, Nigeria’s Moshood Abiola.
Berlusconi told Libyan journalists at Benghazi Airport that the $5 bn. compensation was a ‘material and emotional recognition of the mistakes’ that Italy had made during colonialism, but the deal has much more to do with Italy’s concern about oil and immigrants.
El Gadaffi entertained Berlusconi to lunch in a tent in Benghazi where they discussed the agreement on 30 August. Berlusconi said he would pay $200 million for infrastructure projects over the next 25 years, including a coastal highway across Libya from Tunisia to Egypt to be built by Italian contractors. At the prompting of Paolo Scaroni, the head of Italy’s ENI energy company, Berlusconi is wooing both Russia, which is running two gas pipelines from North Africa through southern Europe, and Libya, which also drives a hard bargain for its oil and gas.
Berlusconi wants Gadaffi to crack down on African migrants and Italy is to pay for $500 mn. of electronic monitors along Libya’s coast as part of the compensation package.
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