Angola’s Opposition Plans Protest Over Election Complaints

Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Opposition parties in Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer, plan to demonstrate on Aug. 25 against conditions for the country’s general election next week.

Unita, a former rebel movement, and Casa-Ce, a party started this year by former Unita leader Abel Chivukuvuku, have objected to aspects of preparations for the Aug. 31 ballot. Angola’s electoral commission is expected to meet tomorrow in Luanda, the capital, and may issue a ruling on the complaints.

“The rally is for peace, democracy and respect for the law,” Alcides Sakala, a spokesman for Unita leader Isaias Samakuva, said by telephone. “The electoral commission has to abide by the word of the law, and when we have elections, we live in a state of high tension, which is not good.” Lindo Tito, spokesman for Chivukuvuku, said Casa-Ce members will also gather at the electoral commission headquarters on Aug. 25.

The election for parliament will be the nation’s second since the end of a 27-year civil war in 2002 and the first in two decades that could produce a new president. The biggest party in parliament chooses the president of the former Marxist state that pumps 1.8 million barrels of a crude a day.

Voter Registration

Unita has asked the commission to revise how and where votes are counted. They have also complained about how some voters weren’t registered in areas of the country that have traditionally favored the opposition, while registrants in some ruling-party strongholds exceeded the usual population. They have criticized the electoral commission for meeting at night without opposition party delegates.

With more than 6 million registered members, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA, captured 82 percent of the votes in a 2008 ballot. Dos Santos is Africa’s longest-serving ruler after Equatorial Guinea’s president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Both came to power in 1979.

Demonstrations in Luanda and some other cities in the past year against the Dos Santos administration have resulted in arrests and beatings by security forces.

Rui Falcao De Andrade, a spokesman for the MPLA, didn’t immediately reply to a telephone message seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Colin McClelland in Luanda at cmcclelland1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net