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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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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, 8

Angola: Peace Monitor, III, 8
Date Distributed (ymd): 970430
Document reposted by APIC


Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign Issue no.8 Volume III, 25th April 1997

UNITA takes up positions in parliament and Government

Following months of intense pressure by the international community, Jonas Savimbi's former rebel movement, UNITA, has sent its elected Deputies to Angola's parliament, the National Assembly, and taken up positions in the new Government of National Unity and Reconciliation (GURN).

On 9 April, 67 out of UNITA's 70 elected Deputies were sworn-in at the National Assembly. The remaining three Deputies did not attend as they were either ill or unable to get to the capital, Luanda.

Completion of electoral process

The swearing-in ended the electoral process which began in 1992 when UNITA won 34% of the vote in the legislative elections. At the time, UNITA rejected the results of the election, claiming that the process was fraudulent. This assertion was denied by the international community, whose observers found the elections to be "generally free and fair".

In the Presidential elections, held simultaneously, Eduardo Jose dos Santos from the MPLA gained 49% of the vote, with Jonas Savimbi gaining 40.7%.

The rejection of the results led UNITA to return to war. Following defeats on the battleground, UNITA agreed to accept a new peace plan, the Lusaka Protocol, drawn-up with the help of the United States, Russia and Portugal.

Unity Government installed

On 11 April at the Palace of Congress in Luanda, over 30 heads of state from around the world, including President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and President Sampaio of Portugal, came to witness the installation of the Government of National Unity and Reconciliation (GURN).

Under the terms of the 1994 Lusaka Protocol, the return of UNITA's Deputies to the country's legislature enabled UNITA nominees to join the Government of National Unity and Reconciliation.

The new government is mainly composed of the same ministers, drawn to a great extent from the majority MPLA. Seven new ministries have been created, giving room for the addition of the UNITA ministers without requiring the previously anticipated major reshuffle of the Government. The Prime Minister remains Fernando Franca van Dunem.

UNITA has four ministers and seven vice-ministers in a greatly expanded government of 28 Ministers, 55 vice-ministers and a Secretary of State for Coffee. Vitorino Hossi, Marcos Samondo, Anastacio Ruben Sikato and Jorge Alicerces Valentim are the four UNITA Ministers. Marcos Samondo replaces the earlier UNITA nominee of Kayaya Kahala as the Minister for Geology and Mines. Samondo began work on 14 April, stating "right now my ministry has too much emphasis on diamonds. Angola is a mineral-rich nation, we need to take advantage of all our natural resources".

The Minister of Justice, Paulo Tchipilica retains his post. He is a member of the Tendency of Democratic Reflection, who do not have any seats in the National Assembly. Francisco Mubengai, of the Social Renewal Party, has been made the Minister of Science and Technology.

Bengui Pedro Joao of the Social Democratic Party (PDS) has been made vice-minister for Ex-Combatants and Veterans of War. Miguel Zau Puna of the Democratic Forum of Angola has been made vice-minister for Territorial Administration.

Apart from the MPLA and UNITA, ten political parties are represented in the GURN. The cabinet now looks as follows:

Agriculture and Rural Development: Carlos Antonio Fernandes Assistance and Social Reintegration: Albino Malungo Commerce: Vitorino Hossi Culture: Ana Maria de Oliveira Defence: General Pedro Sebastiao Education: Antonio Burity da Silva Energy and Water: Joao Moreira Pinto Saraiva Foreign Affairs: Venancio da Silva da Moura Finance: Mario Alcantara Monteiro Fisheries: Maria de Fatima Monteiro Jardim Geology and Mines: Marcos Samondo Health: Anastacio Ruben Sikato Hotels and Tourism: Jorge Alicerces Valentim Industry: Manuel Diamantino Borges Duque Information: Pedro Hendrik Vaal Neto Interior: Santana Andre Pitra Justice: Paulo Tchipilica Labour, Public Administration and Social Security: Antonio Domingos Pitra Costa Neto Petroleum: Albina Faria de Assis Pereira Africano Planning: Emmanuel Moreira Carneiro Posts and Telecommunications: Licinio Tavares Ribeiro Public Works and Urban Affairs: Pedro de Castro van Dunem Loy Science and Technology: Francisco Mubengai Territorial Administration: Faustino Muteka Transport: Andre Luis Brandao Ex-Combatants and Veterans Affairs: Pedro Jose Van-Dunem Women's Affairs: Joana Lina Ramos Baptista Cristiano Youth and Sports: Jose da Rocha Sardinha de Castro Secretary of State for Coffee: Gilberto Buta Lutucuta

Jonas Savimbi absent despite special status

On 8 April the National Assembly conferred upon Jonas Savimbi the special status of president of the largest opposition party. The legislation, which can only be changed or amended with Savimbi's personal consent, details his privileges and immunities, including a salary, house, security contingent, and access to the President for consultations.

The Lusaka Protocol stated that Savimbi should have a special status, but did not lay out the form that this would take. Over the last year the UNITA leader has demanded various formulas. This has been seen by many as a method of delaying the peace process. In the final event, agreeing this proved uncontroversial.

The most noticeable absentee from the installation ceremony was Jonas Savimbi. He remained in his stronghold of Bailundo, claiming that it would be unsafe for him to visit the capital. In his place he sent UNITA vice-president, Antonio Dembo, who made a speech on his behalf.

The continued absence of Savimbi has fuelled concerns among many commentators about the UNITA leader's commitment to this latest phase of the peace process.

One unnamed diplomat, quoted in the London-based Daily Telegraph on 12 April, stated that: "there is concern everywhere that he [Savimbi] is intent on retaining his full military option if this exercise in national unity should fail".

The Christian Science Monitor on 14 April stated that "diplomats and officials close to the peace process say UNITA still maintains the bulk of its military might, having turned over to the UN piles of unserviceable weapons. Aid workers who run the UN-sponsored UNITA demobilisation camps say they are filled mostly with farmers forced by UNITA into meeting UN demobilisation targets and are not real soldiers".

The article quotes a diplomat as saying "make no mistake, UNITA is a one-man show. If Savimbi does not get what he wants, if things are not going his way, then he will stop the whole process".

Many leading figures in UNITA have been withheld from the Government, Parliament and army. Concern has been raised in particular about the following:

General Antonio Dembo, UNITA's vice-president; General Armindo Paulo Lukamba "Gato", UNITA's Secretary General; General Altino Bango Sapalalo "Bock", UNITA's military Chief of Staff; General Abilio Kamalata Numa, alleged to have been seriously injured in fighting in Zaire; Alcides Sakala Simoes, UNITA's "minister of foreign affairs"; Snr. Dachala, UNITA's "minister of information."

Richard Cornwell, of the Africa Institute in Pretoria, South Africa, commented that: "Savimbi is going to try and distance himself, to a degree, from what happens in Luanda in the hope that Luanda will make a fist [mess] of the socio-economic policies that it comes out with. Because they do face some appalling problems, and it is difficult to see how they will actually address these. So Savimbi will be sitting back and hoping to pick up the pieces against the time when the next Presidential elections are held".

However, Cornwell is hopeful about the peace process, saying that: "I think the Angolans can learn a great deal from the Mozambique experience... once you get parliament working properly with parliamentary committees in place, the enmity and the distrust between the two political parties tends to reduce to a rhetorical level... so one can only hope that this will be the case".

UN to wind up UNAVEM III, despite unfinished process

The installation of the GURN on 11 April has been warmly welcomed by the UN Security Council, who have signalled that UNAVEM III should be wound up, and replaced by a United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (UNOMA).

Meeting on 16 April, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1106, which extended the mandate of UNAVEM III until 30 June 1997. The Security Council called on the Secretary General to submit, no later than 6 June, a report containing his recommendations regarding the structure, specific goals, and cost implications of a follow-on observer mission.

The Secretary General reported to the Security Council on 14 April (S/1997/304) that he intends to carry on with the gradual withdrawal of UNAVEM's military units, having already cut their strength by a third. His aim is to have a complete withdrawal by 1 August. However, the Security Council makes clear that the pace of withdrawal should take into account "progress in the remaining relevant aspects of the peace process".

The creation of the GURN and the appearance of UNITA's deputies in the National Assembly represent another large element towards the completion of the peace process agreed in Lusaka in 1994. However, several important issues remain to be addressed by both the new Government and the international community.

Extension of state administration and freedom of movement

At the heart of the problem is the extension of the state administration throughout the country, which contains a great potential for conflict between the Government and UNITA. This is because it will involve UNITA handing back authority to the Angolan government, and would represent a major commitment by UNITA to peace.

There is a continuing problem of the lack of freedom of movement. Although by mid-April the Government had lifted 179 checkpoints, and UNITA 114, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, warned on 14 April that 135 illegal checkpoints remain to be lifted, of which 77 belong to UNITA. The crucial steps noted above are due to take place at the same time as UNAVEM is withdrawing from the country. Past experience suggests that it is unlikely to happen peacefully without further international pressure.

UNITA's main funding comes from the illegal sale of diamonds mined in areas (especially in the Lundas) under their control since the renewed fighting after the 1992 elections. The return to government control of these areas could leave UNITA with only a fraction of this income (derived from legal mining concessions and security deals with the big mining houses). This issue is the subject of continued discussion between the state diamond company, Endiama, and UNITA.

Integration of quartered troops into FAA

The integration of UNITA troops into the Angolan Army, FAA, has been slowed down by a lack of trust on both sides, in part caused by delays in the peace process. The pace seems to have sped up following the installation of the GURN.

As of 10 April, of the 18,558 UNITA troops selected, 7,949 had been integrated into FAA. This was augmented by: 300 soldiers from Uige and Quiteve provinces on 16 April 300 from Malanje Operation Command on 16 April 100 from Katata and Muxinga on 16 April 99 from Katata on 15 April 105 from Muxinga and Chitembo on 17 April

Demobilisation of excess troops

Very little progress has been made in demobilising the 100,000 UNITA and Government troops. However, the World Food Programme reports that the Rapid Demobilisation Plan (RDP), came into operation on 15 April.

The UN Secretary General points out in his report that the start of the RDP "has been postponed several times, creating additional hardship for UNITA soldiers and their families and imposing further financial difficulties on the United Nations".

From 15 - 17 April the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) helped 98 ex-combatants in Vila Nova, Huambo Province. This was the start of demobilisation in Region I, which has been targeted by the RDP as the first operational area. The IOM plans to assist 800 ex-combatants per day. Each beneficiary is to receive a demobilisation and reintegration kit, consisting of household items, clothing, seeds, agricultural tools, construction tools and other small items. Funds are also given by the Government in the form of a Special Subsidy for Re-insertion (SEAR). The demobilised soldiers also receive food and transport.

By 22 April, adult UNITA soldiers had been demobilised in the following areas: 491 in Vila Nova; 116 Quibala; 5 Londuimbali.

The majority of UNITA troops that have been demobilised are child-soldiers, totalling 2,124 by 12 April. In addition, 272 disabled adult UNITA soldiers have been demobilised.

UNITA troops at large

Casting a shadow over the integration and demobilisation of UNITA soldiers is the continued existence of military units controlled by UNITA.

The threat posed by military insecurity has been recognised by the US State Department, who on 18 April issued a travel warning against US citizens visiting the country because of "unsettled conditions, violent crime and the potential for political-military instability".

However, UNITA's military capacity is being constrained by events in Zaire. The rapid advances made by the rebels in Zaire have virtually ousted the Mobutu regime, for many years the close ally of UNITA and the main conduit for arms and oil to UNITA and diamonds from them.

Although UNITA is in possession of plenty of military equipment, the logistics of sustaining a modern military force does require clear supply lines. However, with a huge fund gained from illegal diamond mining, it is likely that UNITA can continue to receive supplies from abroad.

Deputies debate status of UNITA dissident

Two of the three UNITA Deputies who were recently expelled from the organisation resigned from the National Assembly on 9 April. Honourio van Dunem and Fatima Roque have stepped down from their posts. However, Norberto de Castro has taken his seat in parliament, causing consternation in the UNITA benches.

Norberto de Castro took his seat on 22 April, which led UNITA's Abel Chivukuvuku to demand from the sessions Chairman clarification over the legality of the Norberto de Castro's mandate.

The Chairman of the National Assembly, Roberto de Almeida, replied that de Castro's status was transitory, and that the Deputy was deciding which party to join before any decision would be made about his ability to continue in his post.

De Castro confirmed to the Angolan News Agency, ANGOP, that he was on the verge of joining another party. Although he did not name the party, he talked of a large party which was democratic and non-racist. It is widely believed that he is in discussion with the MPLA over membership.

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.

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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