Fierce contest in Angola vote

2012-08-30 10:24
The city of Huambo has emerged as a key battlefield in Angolan elections. (SAPA)

The city of Huambo has emerged as a key battlefield in Angolan elections. (SAPA)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Huambo - Once the stronghold of the feared Unita rebels, Angola's second city Huambo has emerged as a key battlefield in Friday's general elections as the party struggles in politics to regain its territory.

"This year the battle is going to be competitive. The ruling party is no longer certain of easy victory, and its historic rival needs to prove that it can still mobilise" its supporters, said Alicerces Mango, a local official with the new Casa opposition party.

Huambo resonates with symbolism from the 27-year civil war. As the stronghold of the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), the city of 400 000 people suffered some of the war's most crushing battles.

The southern city infamously lived under siege for 50 days. After the war, Huambo was left devastated.

It finally fell to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and the ruling MPLA in 2008 elections, when the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola won the province's five seats in parliament.

Public resources

That victory more than anything exposed the frailty of Unita as an opposition party, without its notorious leader Jonas Savimbi who was killed by the army in 2002. Unita took only 10% of the ballots in 2008.

"Today we are better organised," said Liberty Chiyaka, Unita's provincial secretary. "We have visited all the villages to explain that their vote is secret. We will have two party representatives at each polling station, and will do our own compilation of the results."

"Unlike in 2008, we can monitor the vote, and we will do everything to minimise the impact of fraud," he said.

Unita has used its campaign to underscore worries about the election, from the integrity of the voter roll to the MPLA's use of public resources - especially the broadcast media - in its campaign.

The party faces other challenges from within. Top Unita leader Abel Chivukuvuku split away in April to form the new Casa party with a top MPLA figure and a clutch of smaller opposition parties.

Born not far from the city, Chivukuvuku could also pull votes from Unita.

Faced with an energetic if small opposition, Dos Santos came to Huambo to lead a rally and to inaugurate the Gove dam, a $279m project that will bring electricity to Huambo province and neighbouring Bie.

Fierce campaigning sometimes sparked clashes between MPLA and Unita supporters, despite repeated calls for peace from both parties.

"The population is still traumatised by the resumption of fighting after the 1992 elections. In the countryside, for many people, voting is still synonymous with war," said Jose Maria Katiavala, a sociologist and local official in a rural development programme.

"This electorate, rural and with little education, was won over by MPLA when the opposition was busy wooing the urban vote, which is young and skilled. Political consciousness is starting to develop but remains small across the country," he said.

"I'm going to vote for Casa because the country needs change," said Tiago Jay Chimico, 22, outside the party's local headquarters. Support for the new party is one more sign of how far removed the young generation is from the famous two combatants in the civil war.

More than half of Angolans are under 18, and the youth vote is hugely important. But how they will vote, and how the broader public will respond to pressing social concerns like jobs, water and housing are the great unknowns in this election.

"Despite the government's efforts, there's a lot of public frustration with unemployment and the lack of opportunity for the youth," said Huambo Archbishop Dom Jose Queiros Alves.

Read more on:    angola  |  southern africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Bellville - 11:09 AM
    Road name: N1 Outbound
    ACCIDENT on the side of the carriageway before the Durban Road exit - DELAYS from Jip De Jager Drive
  • Friday Cape Town - 11:02 AM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    DELAYS between Century City and the M5 Koeberg Interchange
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia N9

The Nokia N9 has a beautiful one-piece, unibody design where...

From R2899.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be putting too much effort into someone or something. You are doing it out of love and compassion but there is a chance...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.