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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Angola: Peace Monitor, III, 6

Angola: Peace Monitor, III, 6
Date Distributed (ymd): 970226
Document reposted by APIC

Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign Issue no. 6, Vol. III, 25 February 1997

UN Security Council Pushes Ahead with Plans

The UN Security Council went into private session on 25 February, during which it will agree to a plan to progressively cut its presence in Angola.

The UN's new Secretary General, Kofi Annan, had hoped that improvements in the situation in Angola could lead to the mandate of the UN's mission in Angola, UNAVEM III, to be extended for a two month period. However, problems blamed on UNITA (see below) will almost certainly lead to the Security Council asking to review the situation at the end of March.

Bad Faith Gives UN Planning Difficulties

UNITA has broken its promise made to the Joint Commission (1) on 23 January that it would ensure that all its 70 deputies to the Angolan Parliament, the National Assembly, and its members of the future Government of National Unity and Reconciliation (GURN) would arrive in the Angolan capital, Luanda, by 12 February. This would have enabled the Angolan Government to set a date for the inauguration of the GURN.

The UN Security Council on 30 January issued a Presidential Statement (S/PRST/1997/3) in which "the Security Council calls upon the parties to implement this agreement strictly and to form the GURN without any linkages and without further delay. Failure to implement this agreement could jeopardize the peace process and lead the Security Council to consider appropriate measures, as indicated in relevant Security Council resolutions, against those responsible for the delays". This is a reference to previous threats by the Security Council to impose various sanctions upon UNITA (see APM passim).

Dignitaries Meet "Vanguard" at Airport

In the event, only 12 UNITA deputies and three nominees for cabinet posts arrived in Luanda by air from Bailundo on 12 February. The deputies were: Junior Joao, Smart Gaston Chata, Mateus Sousa, Arlete Chimbinda, Adelino Antonio, Almerindo Jaka Jamba, Vitorino Nhane, Celestino Kapapelo, Antonio Pitra Sobrinho, Aniceto Amukaya, Alberto Vasco Miguel, Sebastiao Veloso.

The three nominees for cabinet posts who arrived are: Vitorino Domingos Hossi (Minister of Commerce), Anastacio Ruben Sicato (Minister of Health), Jorge Alicerces Valentim (Minister of Hotels and Tourism).

UN Tussles with Problem of How to Bring UNITA into Line

Following the failure of UNITA to bring their deputies to Luanda, it is expected that the United Nations will only renew the United Nations Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) mandate until 31 March, with veiled warnings of further sanctions against UNITA after this, if they do not change their ways.

In his report to the Security Council on 7 February (S/1997/115), Secretary General Kofi Annan stated that "the pace of implementation of the remaining military and political tasks, owing mainly to the lack of cooperation of UNITA, has, once again, been painfully slow and disappointing".

The failure of UNITA to carry out the tasks under the Lusaka Protocol has led to the Secretary General of the United Nations to warn that "if the international community is to maintain its involvement in Angola, it is imperative for the parties, in particular UNITA, to take urgent and decisive steps".

However, few observers predict that there exists in the international community the political will to punish UNITA. At present there is no effective implementation of the mandatory sanctions already in place, which involves prohibiting the selling of weapons and petroleum products to the rebel organisation.

The Chairman of the Security Council Committee established to monitor the observance of the mandatory sanctions in place against UNITA, on 13 January reported to the Security Council on the Committees work in 1996. The Committee held two meetings in 1996, and report that they "considered a case of an alleged violation of the embargo against UNITA". However, there is prima facie evidence that Zaire has been used as a conduit by UNITA for importing arms and fuel. It has also been used as a conduit for smuggling out of Angola illegally mined diamonds.

Some forces in the international community would not wish to see UNITA weakened militarily, believing that this would in turn weaken the need for the Angolan Government to involve it in a GURN. Other forces prefer to see negotiations with UNITA as the way forward.

Secretary General Sets out Year Ahead

The UN is planning a phased withdrawal of UNAVEM III by the end of August 1997, transforming itself into an observer mission. The Secretary General estimates in his report to the Security Council that, "in order to complete the implementation of the provisions of the Lusaka Protocol and to consolidate the gains made so far in the peace process, a continued, although reduced, presence of the UN in Angola will be required until the end of 1997".

The planned downsizing of the operation is related to the pace of progress, and cost considerations. If progress was faster than expected, the withdrawal of the military component would be speeded up. However, observers of the peace process doubt that progress will be more rapid than planned.

Secretary General Kofi Annan is under pressure to reduce costs throughout the UN. In his report on Angola he stated that "I am fully aware of the pressing need for economy and cost-effectiveness. Accordingly, every effort would be made to achieve a substantial reduction in the number of professional, field service and local staff of the mission by August 1997".

The main activities of the mission, in addition to residual military tasks, would focus on political, police and human rights aspects, humanitarian activities and public information programmes.

Plans for downsizing start with the repatriation of a maximum of 400 UNAVEM III troops by the end of February. Thereafter, it is planned to remove one battalion per month. Military headquarters personnel are to be repatriated in stages, aiming to have a 45% reduction by June. It is planned to have the rapid reaction groups, together with the most essential medical, air, signals and other support elements in Angola until August 1997. The number of military observers is due to be reduced from 350 to 90 by the end of August.

UNITA Raises Further Linkages

In January 1997 the main obstacle raised to further progress on the political front was the decision of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi to demand that he be granted the status of principal adviser to the President of Angola, with a major coordinating role over rural development and national reconciliation, along with supervisory power over several ministries (see APM no.5, vol. 3).

The UN made clear that although the question of Jonas Savimbi's status must be resolved, as agreed under the Lusaka Protocol in 1994, it rejected any linkage between this issue and the formation of the GURN.

However senior UNITA official Abel Chivukuvuku said in an interview published on 16 February in Jornal de Angola that Savimbi now only requires that he be recognised as head of the country's main opposition party. There is speculation in Luanda that the Government and UNITA have reached agreement over the UNITA leader's status, which will be "leader of the opposition" although there is varying degrees of support for the concept among other parliamentary parties.

Now the focus has switched to the latest UNITA demand, which is that the MPLA must agree to a Common Programme of Governance (CPOG) for the GURN. Isaias Samavuka, head of the UNITA delegation in the Joint Commission, said on 14 February that "if the ruling party, the MPLA, unilaterally defines a Programme of Governance, then what we have is a continuation of a one-party regime no matter what it is called".

Subsequently, UNITA presented a programme to a press conference in Luanda on 19 February. Joao Lourenco, speaking on behalf of the MPLA on 21 February said that this was "an attempt to divert and mislead public opinion".

In the view of the MPLA, which is the major party in the Angolan Government, this is another attempt by UNITA to reopen negotiations. The Angolan Government has consistently rebuffed such moves, including attempts by UNITA to reopen negotiations through the South African Government. This issue is now being put forward as the major obstacle to progress in the peace process.

Incorporation into National Army Continues

The incorporation of UNITA's military forces into the national army, FAA, is continuing, although at a slower pace than timetabled.

According to figures from the UN, by 18 February 6,083 UNITA soldiers had been formally integrated. These were made up of 78 officers, 451 sergeants, and 5,554 privates. The figures show that in total, 18,700 soldiers had been selected. Under previous agreements, UNITA was to provide a total of 26,300 troops.

The UN Secretary General, reported to the Security Council that the "exercise is proceeding slowly because of interference by UNITA commanders in the selection and incorporation procedures, poor planning and the logistical difficulties experienced by FAA".

The Secretary General also pointed out that 22,686 had deserted or were "temporarily absent" from the 15 camps housing UNITA's military personnel. He called for UNITA to reverse this trend, and also urged UNITA to dismantle its four remaining command centres.

There have been continuing rumours that UNITA have 2,000 fighters in Zaire backing President Mobuto. However, these rumours are vehemently denied by UNITA. In particular, they have taken the step of denying that their senior general, Kamalata Numa, was killed in Eastern Zaire. UNITA has also denied that General Numa is being treated in a South African hospital for injuries sustained during fighting in Zaire.

Demobilisation Continues Slowly

Demobilisation has continued at a very slow pace, with 2,029 soldiers under 18 being returned to civilian life.

A new plan by the Technical Working Group on Demobilisation is being put forward, which would aim to close down all the camps housing UNITA soldiers before the withdrawal of UNAVEM military units. Previously, it had been agreed that the security, administrative and logistical responsibility would be handed over to the Angolan Government. The new plan envisages full demobilisation by July 1997.

Free Movement of People

According to the UN on 18 February, there were 125 checkpoints, 55 belonging to the Government and 70 to UNITA. The province most affected by checkpoints is Lunda Sul. However, Kofi Annan reported to the Security Council that "the free movement of people and goods throughout the country has shown improvement, although some restrictions remain in several provinces".

The Secretary General also pointed out that persistent acts of banditry in Huila and Benguela provinces has impeded the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and that the murder in Kwanza Norte of a senior official of the World Food Programme dealt a serious blow to the confidence of humanitarian workers.

UNITA Formally Expel Three Deputies

Three deputies elected under the UNITA ticket in the 1992 Angolan elections have been expelled from the party.

The senior UNITA economist, Fatima Roque was formally expelled from the party during a meeting of their Political Commission in Bailundo from 8 - 10 February, for "systematically violating the party's internal discipline code". Fatima Roque stated on Televisao Popular de Angola on 12 February that she had not yet decided whether to take up her seat in the National Assembly (under the constitution it is necessary for a deputy to renounce their post before it becomes vacant). However, she has indicated that she would not be prepared to become an obstacle to peace.

Two sitting deputies, Honourio van Dunem and Norberto de Castro, who took up their seats after the elections, were expelled from UNITA in February 1995. De Castro, in an interview in Diario de Noticias on 14 February compared Jonas Savimbi with Idi Amin and Jean Idel Bokassa. He described UNITA as "an orchestra with one voice".

The UNITA communique stated that "the UNITA Political Commission hereby strenuously warns the authorities connected with the process of bringing UNITA deputies into the National Assembly that UNITA regards the cases of Dr Fatima Roque, Honourio van Dunem and Norberto de Castro as internal matters that cannot be reviewed or the entire peace process might be jeopardized by a fistful of renegades serving alien interests".

Fighting Breaks out in the South

According to reports from Reuters on 16 and 17 February, around 1,700 people in southwestern Angola have fled their villages because of unrest. The new refugees are mainly from the village of Yambala, and are moving to the city of Cubal. Reuters report that the aggressors are either UNITA troops or ex-UNITA bandits.

Extension of State Administration to Begin at End of Month

The Angolan daily paper Jornal de Angola, reported on 19 February plans to begin the extension of central administration to all of Angola's provinces, starting in the town of Mbanza Congo, Zaire Province, on 28 February.

UNITA Police to Be Incorporated into National Police Force

Some 4,891 UNITA police personnel have been registered and quartered prior to a portion of them being incorporated into the Angolan National Police. However only 2,100 weapons have been handed over to the authorities, representing less than one weapon for every two policemen registered.

So far 743 of those registered have deserted, which represents over 15% of the total. Only 625 were selected by 1 February for incorporation, and UNITA has not yet provided a list of senior officers to join the national force. President dos Santos has promised the UN that he will issue instructions that the educational requirements for UNITA officers be lowered.

Massive Shortfall in UNAVEM III Funding

Secretary General Kofi Annan has warned that as of 28 January over $150 million is owed to the UN in unpaid contributions to UNAVEM III. In all, the total debt to the UN for all peacekeeping operations stands at $1,953.2 million.

British Government Gives Commitment on UNAVEM III

The British Government has given a clear pledge that the reduction of UNAVEM III should not be based primarily on financial considerations.

In reply to a letter from Labour Party's Shadow Foreign Minister, Tony Lloyd MP, the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Sir Nicholas Bonsor, stated that "in our view, the rate of withdrawal of UNAVEM III and the composition of any follow-on UN presence should be determined primarily by operational considerations".

Aid Round-up

  • Sweden has announced that it will provide $3 million to help repair roads and provide support for demobilised soldiers in Malanje.
  • A cooperation agreement between Portugal and Angola has been signed to promote juvenile education and vocational training.
  • The Angolan Government has undertaken a project to rehabilitate 100,000 hectares of land to increase coffee production. Angola used to be one of the worlds major coffee producers. Twenty years ago production stood at 200,000 tons, but last year was 8,000 tons.
  • The World Food Programme has announced that it will provide around 96,000 tons of food assistance to Angola's war refugees, valued at $75 million.
  • The Ministry of Education is planning to spend $130 million a year on teacher training and on the repairing and rebuilding of the education infrastructure.
  • The UN Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Unit has put out an urgent appeal for $18 million to meet the critical shortfall of financing due to the extension of the quartering process. These funds would last until the end of March.

(1) The Joint Commission oversees the implementation of the peace process as outlined in the Lusaka Protocol. It is made up of the Angolan Government, UNITA, UNAVEM III and the Troika of Observers (Portugal, the United States and the Russian Federation). It is chaired by Alioune Blondin Beye, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Angola.

The Angola Peace Monitor is produced every month by ACTSA - Action for Southern Africa, the successor organisation to the British Anti-Apartheid Movement. It is produced as our contribution towards the work of the Angola Emergency Campaign, which seeks to highlight the need for international action in support of peace and democracy in Angola.

A subscription to Volume III of the Angola Peace Monitor is available at a cost of 10 pounds sterling in Britain and 15 pounds sterling elsewhere. Please indicate whether you wish to receive the Angola Peace Monitor by post or e-mail. Payment should be made in pounds sterling. If you wish to pay in any other currency, you must add the equivalent of 6 pounds sterling to cover our bank charges.

ACTSA, 28 Penton Street, London N1 9SA, e-mail, fax +44 171 837 3001, telephone +44 171 833 3133. Back issues of the Angola Peace Monitor are available on the World Wide Web at:

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), the educational affiliate of the Washington Office on Africa. APIC's primary objective is to widen the policy debate in the United States around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa, by concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and individuals.

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