Journalist Safety

The 2017 general elections held in August saw the much-awaited changing of
the guard at the highest level of government, with João Lourenço occupying
the number one slot on the MPLA party
list, taking over from José Eduardo dos
Santos, who was at the helm of the party
and the country for almost 40 years.

By and large, journalists in Angola enjoy relative safety in the exercise of
their profession. In Angola, the weapons of choice used against journalists
are the courts, doing the bidding of the
politically powerful whenever they see
grounds for legal action for defamation.

The MPLA won the elections with a reduced majority, with enough votes for
150 seats in the 220-seat assembly. Its
long-standing foe, UNITA, conquered
51 seats. This represents a drop of almost 11% for the MPLA and an 8%
gain for UNITA. Despite this significant
reversal, opposition parties challenged
the results, claiming that the vote at
provincial level had been tallied in only
three provinces. A few days later, UNITA
claimed electoral fraud and appealed to
the Constitutional Court, presenting seven key elements for the Court to deliberate on. The Court dismissed the case,
saying that the evidence presented did
not prove there were any irregularities
or biases in the electoral process. The
elections were monitored by more than
three thousand national and international observers.
The biggest qualm from the media and
the wider civil society was that the National Elections Commission (CNE) is
not a truly independent body, despite
the parameters set out in Law 12/12 of
13 April 2012. As a case in point, civil
society feels strongly about the fact that
voter registration is done by the Ministry
of Territorial Administration (MAT), and
not CNE. The former minister in charge
of MAT and the voters’ roll – is today the
country’s deputy head of state.

“The changes taking
place in the new
political cycle are
what was promised
during the electoral
campaign. The
changes will be
founded on a society
that regained its moral
compass, with a
serious fight against
corruption and other
practices detrimental
to the public interest,
to ensure the end
of impunity and
the opening of
opportunities for all.”
Victor Silva, Jornal de Angola


So This is Democracy? 2017

Select target paragraph3