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Published 7th September 2012

Vol 53 No 18


Four more MPLA years

ANGOLA: The Luanda skyline at night. Alfredo D'Amato / Panos
ANGOLA: The Luanda skyline at night. Alfredo D'Amato / Panos

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

The election victory was no landslide but the lack of foreign criticism gives Dos Santos enough space to organise a succession on his own terms

The Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola won the general elections with 72% of the vote after spending more than US$75 million on its campaign. The opposition, which took around a quarter of the votes on 31 August, is convinced fraud is the real reason for the ruling party’s success. The main opposition party, the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola, claims the MPLA stuffed ballot boxes and wielded undue influence with the Comissão Nacional Eleitoral (CNE, National Electoral Commission, AC Vol 53 No 17). UNITA polled just under 19%, nearly doubling its tally from 2008. For months, UNITA has accused its rival of preparing to fix the polls. It claims the government deployed undercover security officers to staff polling stations. In opposition strongholds, especially Benguela, Cabinda and Huambo provinces, many stations opened late. On 25 August, less than a week before the vote, UNITA staged a mass rally in Luanda, drawing an estimated 5,000 people to call for free and fair elections. Less than twelve hours before polling began, its leader, Brigadier Isaías Samakuva, demanded a meeting with President José Eduardo dos Santos and urged that polling be delayed. His requests fell on deaf ears.

Forex windfall test for banks

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Oil companies will soon have to process all their supplier payments through the local financial system but will the system be able to cope?

Eight years after it was first proposed, the government is bringing in a law that will force oil companies to pay their suppliers through banks inside Angola. The Law on Foreign Ex...


Four African candidates are in the running to succeed France’s Pascal Lamy as Director General of the 157-member World Trade Organisation. There is general agreement that the WTO’s next chief should come from a developing country.

Ghana’s former Trade Minister and ex-Ambassador in Washington, Alan Kyerematen, won forma...

Four African candidates are in the running to succeed France’s Pascal Lamy as Director General of the 157-member World Trade Organisation. There is general agreement that the WTO’s next chief should come from a developing country.

Ghana’s former Trade Minister and ex-Ambassador in Washington, Alan Kyerematen, won formal backing as the African Union candidate at its summit in July. A senior member of the main opposition New Patriotic Party in Ghana, Kyerematen would be favourite to take over the party leadership should its candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo fail to win Ghana’s presidential election, due on 7 December. That possibility might cool Kyerematen’s enthusiasm for the WTO job.

Two Nigerians – Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Trade Minister Olusegun Aganga – have been mooted as credible alternatives to Kyerematen. Indeed, some of Okonjo-Iweala’s Western friends, disappointed by her failure to win the World Bank presidency, suggest that the WTO position offers her a welcome pretext to leave President Goodluck Jonathan’s problematic government in Abuja.

In South Africa, its tough-minded and radical Trade Minister Rob Davies has also been proposed for the WTO. His chances may be undermined by the rancour over South African Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma winning the chair of the AU Commission in July. For Africa to win at the WTO, it will have to start lobbying now and quickly unite around a single candidate.

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