On Monday, Angola’s cabinet announced the Angola elections for August 23. The significant date will produce the successor of Eduardo dos Santos after his 38 years as the President.
Cabinet spokesman Joao Maria de Sousa said in a press conference broadcast on national radio;
“At the suggestion of the president of the republic… the nation’s cabinet on Monday approved August 23 as the date for Angola’s general election,”
President dos Santos is now expected to formally trigger the legal process to stage the polls which will see up to 9.6 million Angolans cast ballots. The ruling party’s presidential candidate will be the current defense minister and it has been the trend in Angola for the leader of the winning party to automatically become the president.
Constitutional changes made in 2010 make that possible. Now the constitution supports the leader of the winning party in the general elections automatically becoming head of state rather that directly electing a President.
President dos Santos has been accused of crushing dissent during his time as President and the Angola elections draw closer, dissent is still not encouraged. the arrests of some activists last Wednesday drove that point home further.
Fifty protesters had attended an unauthorized demonstration in Luanda on Monday calling for transparency in the coming elections. Seven people were arrested and handed down a sentence of 45 days imprisonment as well as a fine. A judge in Cacuaco, a district of the Angolan capital Luanda said;
“The court condemns the accused to 45 days of imprisonment and a fine of 65,000 kwanzas ($390) for the offences of rebellion and association with criminals,”
Among those convicted, was rapper Adao Bunga, nicknamed “McLife”, a prominent critic of Dos Santos. The arrest will either dissuade protests in the months leading up to the elections or heighten tensions. Either way, the eyes of the world will continue to be on Angola in the lead up to her fourth election since independence.