News24

Angola opposition, veterans unhappy

2012-08-15 22:36

Luanda - Angola's main opposition party Unita and war veterans on Wednesday threatened new protests ahead of 31 August general elections, accusing President Jose Eduardo dos Santos' government of ignoring their demands.

The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita) denounced irregularities in the election campaigning, while the former soldiers want an improvement in their living conditions.

Silva Mateus, a retired general who heads a veterans' association, said his group will announce their planned actions on Tuesday.

Mateus sent a letter end June asking Dos Santos to solve their problems, and had threatened to take to the streets again if authorities failed to reply by 15 August.

Veterans held several protests in June to demand pensions and demobilisation packages.

But Unita leader Isaias Samakuva was less patient.

"I'm not waiting until Tuesday, tomorrow [Thursday] I will call for a protest if things don't change before then," he said.

Unita gave the electoral commission until Wednesday to sort out irregularities ahead of the vote.

The party had earlier threatened to protest if the commission gave no response, but Samakuva met with its president last weekend.

The upcoming polls will only be the oil-rich nation's third since independence from Portugal in 1975. During the previous elections in 2008 the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) won over 80% of the vote against 10% for Unita.

The MPLA under Dos Santos, who will soon celebrate 33 years in power, is the runaway favourite for the upcoming polls.