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Angola: Updates/Commentary, 2
Angola: Updates/Commentary, 2
Date distributed (ymd): 020302
Document reposted by Africa Action
Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List: an information
service provided by AFRICA ACTION (incorporating the Africa
Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American
Committee on Africa). Find more information for action for
Africa at http://www.africaaction.org
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+
This series of two postings contains a number of short documents
concerning the prospects for peace in Angola after the Feb. 22
death of Jonas Savimbi.
In this posting:
(1) a brief excerpt from a Feb. 27 speech in Washington by
Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, (2) an article from
allafrica.com reporting on the Feb. 26 meeting of Presidents
Chissano, dos Santos, and Mogae with President Bush, (3) a
statement from Angolan traditional leaders at a Feb. 20 meeting in
Luanda hosted by the Open Society Institute, and (4) a UN press
briefing on the humanitarian situation in Angola.
In another posting sent out today: (1) a brief introductory note by
Africa Action senior research fellow William Minter, (2) excerpts
from the most recent issue of the Angola Peace Monitor, reporting
on Savimbi's death and international reaction, and (3) a report
from the Jesuit Relief Service on the reaction to Savimbi's death
and the current situation in Luena, Moxico province, Angola.
Excerpt from speech by Joaquim Alberto Chissano,
President of the
Republic of Mozambique,
at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington,
February 27, 2002.
[The full text of President Chissano's speech is available at:
For more coverage of President Chissano's visit to Washington, see
Mozambique's experiences in peace building and national
reconciliation teach us some lessons fro a successful transition
from war to peace and development, some of which I would like to
- The adoption of an inclusive and comprehensive approach
comprising military, economic, and social dimensions in the peace
building process is one of the keys to success;
- The recognition that the search for peace and reconciliation are,
per se, a permanent process; thus it is important to promote a
culture of peace and tolerance.
- Preservation of a permanent dialogue is a condition to build up
- Permanent learning is important for monitoring new and modified
- The strengthening of the civil society and community
organizations and encouragement of their participation in domestic
affairs are an important factor to avoid sentiments of exclusion;
- Development of partnership with donors based on co-responsbility
and recipient ownership is vital;
- The establishment of a permanent interaction between development,
poverty reduction and eradication strategies, and peace building is
crucial so as to address the main problems of the country.
This is not a recipe, but rather an attitude we have adopted to
raise hope among our people, and make them feel that a better
future lies primarily in their hands.
'Seize the Moment', Bush Urges Southern African Leaders
http://allAfrica.com February 27, 2002
By Charles Cobb Jr., Washington, DC
[reposted with permission of allAfrica.com; an additional article
reporting on President dos Santos' speech to the Corporate Council
on Africa is at:
Events in Angola, particularly the death of Unita leader Jonas
Savimbi five days ago, dominated an hour-long meeting between
President George W. Bush and Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos
Santos, Mozambican President Joaquim Alberto Chissano, and Botswana
President Festus Mogae on Tuesday.
The charismatic but tyrannical Unita leader ruled his guerrilla
movement, the Union for the Total Independence of Angola, with a
rod of iron for 35 years. He repeatedly abandoned peace agreements
with the MPLA government and went back to fighting a war against
the MPLA government which, some estimates say, has claimed a
million lives. Most analysts believe Savimbi's death presents the
best chance so far, to reach a lasting agreement.
Bush said he supports calls for a ceasefire and, in a statement
issued after the White House meeting with the African leaders, he
urged Angola's president to "seize the moment... President Dos
Santos has it within his power to end 26 years of fighting by
reaching out to all Angolans willing to lay down their arms."
In a wide-ranging interview with allAfrica.com after the meeting,
Mozambique's President Joaquim Chissano said Dos Santos told Bush
that "the situation now brings about a better prospect for peace
and reconciliation." However, the Angolan President also cautioned
that, while he hopes quickly to achieve a ceasefire, it will depend
heavily "on the will of those who are fighting."
Unita has continued fighting and says the government must adopt a
unilateral ceasefire. In the first reported Unita attack since
Savimbi's death nine people were killed on Monday and 15 wounded,
according to Portugal's Lusa news agency.
The Washington meeting was planned before Savimbi's death and is
the second "mini summit" President Bush has held with African heads
of state. In addition to discussing Angola, said Chissano, the
leaders pressed for more help with the Aids crisis besieging
Africa, and raised issues of poverty and development, and
"capacity-building" in Africa. For his part, Bush said that his
policy "was to put Africa as a priority," according to Chissano.
Both U.S. officials and the African Presidents characterized the
meeting, which ran for 15 minutes longer than scheduled, as "good."
But when asked if Bush had made any specific commitments, Chissano
said, "No. We didn't go into details. We spoke of principles."
The role and the voice of traditional authorities
Presented by His Majesty King Muatchissengue wa Tembo, LundaTchoke
(Eastern Provinces of Lunda-Sul and Lunda-Norte), and
signed by 65 other chiefs from provinces including Uige, Moxico,
Lunda Sul, Lunda Norte, Bie, Malange, Huambo, Kuanza Norte, and
At a conference on "The role of the international community and of
civil society in the resolution of the Angolan conflict," hosted
by the Open Society Institute Angola, in Luanda, Hotel Tropico, 20
Fundacao Open Society, Alameda do Principe Real 41, Miramar,
Luanda, Angola; tel/fax: 244-2-343667; e-mail:
Members of the National Assembly
Representatives of the diplomatic community
Representatives of political parties
Distinguished members of civil society
Representative of the Open Society Initiative in Angola
We would like, first of all, to thank Mr Rafael Marques, Open
Society representative in Angola, for the opportunity he has given
us to express the ideas of the traditional authorities who met at
the headquarters of the Angolan Forum of Traditional Authorities.
Time does not allow us to make a longer input, so we will
concentrate on the matter of the armed conflict.
The war in Angola has already touched everyone, and much effort has
already been put into the search for a solution. Yet the war never
seems to stop. Because the interests and hidden agendas of those
who wage and who support the war continue to complicate the
process of building a real and lasting peace.
The traditional authorities and local communities are witness, more
disgusted on each occasion, to the destruction of peace, to the
squandering of their natural resources and the killing of the
The majority of the population has been and continues to be forced
to abandon their homelands, their fields - all that they possess.
Angola today is a land of displaced people, people live in inhumane
conditions in displaced peoples' camps on the edges of the big
With much sadness, we see that there is little or no political will
to transcend this situation. This lack of will is reflected in the
behaviours of the parties at war, of the international community
and even by some of the Angolan people.
This is all because the interests of particular individuals are, at
the moment, still stronger than the will of the people. Why? More
than anything else, the international community and the Angolan
political parties have done their best to divide and weaken the
people. Today, the Angolan people lack direction.
We, the chiefs, have already taken account of the fact that this
war is contrary to the interests of Angolan communities. On the
contrary, the continuation of the war is destroying lives and
cultural identities - customs and costumes - particular to each
community, not to mention the dehumanisation to which displaced
people have fallen victim.
This war is being fueled by leaders or commanders who appear to be
interested in creating a "new man", a new kind of Angolan citizen,
with new cultural values and morals unfamiliar to the majority.
Is this the vision that our politicians have for Angola? Doing away
with Angolans so as to invent a new people? Are they going to kill
all the people, in order to hand over Angola to someone else? Are
they going to kill all the people because they hate the people so
much, or because they do not identify with the cultural values of
From the Bible, one of the Proverbs of King Solomon, chapter 11,
verse 14, says that "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in
the multitude of counselors there is safety."
We, the heirs of the kingdoms that make up Angola, are treated as
miserable, backward people who do not know the meaning of
So, we the chiefs ask our children, the politicians who govern us
or who seek to govern us: To be civilised, does that mean to order
and to oversee the death of one's own people? To loot the riches
of the country? To destroy one's own country in the name of the
enemy? But who is the enemy who deserves the honour of such a
sacrifice, the sacrifice of an entire nation?
A father who has no bread to offer his own children, invites the
neighbours and their children to a banquet. Can we say that such
a father is civilised?
Whenever we have a problem, the first thing we do is to call on a
foreigner to solve our problems. So it was at independence, so it
was during the various peace processes. So let us consider: We
have a snake in the hen-house which is Angola, and we call on a
fox to chase the snake away. Let us ask, will the fox be more
interested in chasing after the chickens to eat them, or will he
be just as concerned about the snake? And if there are not one but
three foxes what are they going to do?
We, the chiefs, as the the true heirs to the cultures, the
traditions and the riches of our people, do not accept our
political leaders' view of themselves as civilised.
We call on all Angolan communities, the youth, the elders, men and
women, representatives of the churches and other social
institutions, to join together with their traditional leaders in
order to devise ways of defending their rights and protecting
their cultural heritage in all its diversity, protecting the
people's natural resources and their lands.
We, the chiefs, demand the recognition of and respect for the
cultural identity of all Angolans.
We, the chiefs decree that peace must be discussed at the level of
communities (by means of consultation and debate), in order that
all Angolans may make known their ideas on the future of the
country. Peace is more than just an order to lay down weapons.
What happens after that?
To begin with, we call on communities to cease handing over their
sons to those who wage war, for such people are only destroying
the country and the people, while they hide their own sons away in
Europe or America. And it is also in Europe and America that these
gentlemen hide the wealth of Angola and receive support for their
policies, which are against the interests of the children of
But there are also communities who feed the war by feeding their
own children: the soldiers of the Angolan Armed Forces, the police
officers, the UNITA guerrillas - all of them children of
communities. These same communities are the main victims of the
war, for they become reduced to the state of third-class citizens.
These are the communities who are suffering in the displaced
people's camps, subject to hunger, nakedness, misery and death.
Today, Angola has almost ceased to exist. The country is little
more than Luanda. Family has come to mean only those who live in
Luanda, since those who live in the provinces are condemned to
This is why we believe that the peace process needs to start at the
bottom and not from the top down, so that those who are at the top
may come to understand that their position depends on those who
are at the bottom.
The leaves and the branches, however strong or impressive they may
be, are completely depending on the roots that support them.
For the good of Angola and of all Angolans who are truly patriotic
and who love their nation, the chiefs, meeting in the Angolan
Traditional Leaders' Forum, call on the people to demand a
sovereign national conference on peace and the future of Angola.
At this conference we must define the roles of the political
parties, of civil society, of traditional leaders and of the
churches in the resolution of the Angolan conflict. Such a
definition will help in the creation of a common understanding of
the reconciliation process and of open and patriotic government,
and in the reconstruction of the country.
It is at this conference that we will be able, as Angolans, to draw
up a vision for the future of Angola, so that tomorrow, new
generations may be able to follow the paths of righteousness and
Many thanks for your attention
14 February 2002
Press Briefing on Angola
Erik de Mul, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Angola
(Excerpts; full briefing available on http://www.un.org)
The humanitarian situation in Angola was dramatic, with shocking
statistics that were similar to those of Afghanistan, Erik de Mul,
United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for that country told
correspondents at a Headquarters press briefing this afternoon.
Mr. de Mul said that currently in Angola, life expectancy was 44
years, with 33 per cent of all households living below the poverty
line. Thirty per cent of all children died before they reached the
age of five while one third of the total population--4 million out
of 12 million--were displaced. The displacement trend was
continuing for two reasons; action by the National Union for the
Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) that forced people to move;
and military "cleaning" operations, which again made people decide
to leave their places of origin.
"We basically have an appeal to two parties," Mr. de Mul went on to
say. One was to the international community, to try and impress
upon them the need to do more, and to do it quickly. The other was
to the Government of Angola. The efforts of the Government of
Angola in trying to address the needs of the population had been
“too little, too late". That was the assessment of the United
Nations, the non-governmental organizations, and the international
community at large.
That assessment, continued Mr. de Mul, was also shared by the
Government and resulted in a meeting of the Angolan Cabinet last
Monday, in which they admitted that the situation was bad. The
outcome was a statement with a list of actions, which would be
undertaken immediately to help alleviate the situation in the
When asked to elaborate more about who was most to blame for the
present humanitarian disaster in Angola, Mr. de Mul said it would
be difficult to be that specific. "We are basically trying to deal
with the consequences of actions taken by both UNITA and the
Government and it is very difficult to say how many people are on
the move as a result of one or the other," he said. Activities by
both entities resulted in increased numbers of displaced people.
The problem was widespread and not limited only to certain
provinces or areas of the country.
When asked how the Government was responsible for the movement of
people, Mr. de Mul said that, in principle, when it came to
internally displaced persons, the Government should be the first
one to respond. But, that had not necessarily been the case and
the international community had been trying to pick up the pieces.
The point, nevertheless, was that all the non-governmental
organizations and United Nations agencies were at the end of their
rope. There was no longer any flexibility. "They can only do as
much as they can,” he said. Hence the idea of appealing more to
the donor community and the Angolan Government to do more and to do
it fast", he said.
When asked what percentage of the internally displaced persons had
access to emergency assistance, Mr. de Mul said the problem was
that, for security and logistical reasons, access by the
international community to the displaced was limited. The
Government had been asked to try and develop systems to bring
relief goods to the displaced, and not only military equipment and
personnel, if they have access to them.
When asked how many out of the 4 million displaced had access to
relief assistance, Mr. de Mul said he would estimate that about
half of that figure could be reached by the international
community. But, regarding the other half, "there are pockets of
people that we think are not reached at all". Others, who could
also not be reached, were being held by the Angolan authorities.
Replying to another question about the movement of people, he said
UNITA was in a guerilla warfare mode and was carrying out
unpredictable actions in areas where it was difficult to judge
where the action would take place. Those actions resulted in the
movement of people. At the same time, the Government and the army
were involved in trying to clean up areas where they thought UNITA
elements were located. In that process, people, for reasons of
fear and insecurity, went on the move as well. ...
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