Angola: Election observers should not be just ‘African cousins’ – UNITA

The leader of UNITA, the main opposition party in Angola, appealed on Monday to the Angolan government to move forward with the request for international democratic observation of the next elections, so that this is not restricted to “African cousins”.

Adalberto da Costa Júnior was speaking to journalists after receiving a delegation from the European Union at a meeting in which the challenges of the electoral period were analysed, among other issues, and which he described as “very positive”.

Stressing the “great expectations” of a European observation mission, the president of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) regretted that the Angolan government, in the last elections, had not shown “great interest” in having an international democratic observer in the country.

“Unfortunately, this has been the posture of the Angolan government. We have been trying for some time to sensitise the government to a different, more democratic, more open and more credible posture in these elections. What we are seeing is a repetition of what has been common,” he said.

Adalberto da Costa Júnior accused the government of “delaying the invitations” for observers, thus interfering with the missions’ arrival.

Stressing that elections are carried out with multiple components, including international observers, the UNITA leader said that “trying to bring to Angola only the African cousins of political and ideological proximity” did not add any credibility to the electoral process.

He appealed: “I still believe that, both in the parliament and in the National Electoral Commission, we have the means to invite international bodies with credibility and democratic experience to help make the Angolan process more credible”.

Angola will choose its new president and members of parliament on 24 August, with the current head of government, João Lourenço, running for a second term.