Get AfricaFocus Bulletin by e-mail!
Print this page
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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived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, V, 1
Angola: Peace Monitor, V, 1
Date Distributed (ymd): 981008
Document reposted by APIC
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +security/peace+
Summary Contents: This issue of the Angola Peace Monitor provides details
on division in UNITA between Jonas Savimbi and other factions opting for
cooperation with the Angolan government rather than continued war.
Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no. 1, Vol V, 7th October 1998
Jonas Savimbi isolated as UNITA leaders call for renewal
UNITA strongman Jonas Savimbi is facing increasing isolation following
the decision of leading political figures in UNITA to set up a Renewal
Committee and remove him from his leadership position.
The decision to set up an alternative leadership follows the Angolan
government's refusal to continue to allow Jonas Savimbi supporters to continue
to hold positions in the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation
(GURN) and the National Assembly whilst UNITA simultaneously takes military
The government is seeking to isolate Savimbi politically - both internally
and internationally - and has moved quickly to recognise the new leadership.
However, it is not yet clear whether the new leadership will prove to be
a credible alternative to Jonas Savimbi, or if it will have any control
over UNITA's military wing.
The government's strategy is to build support internationally for the
new leadership, paving the way for a government counter-offensive against
UNITA - Renewal formed
On 2 September five leading figures from UNITA declared that they had
taken control of the organisation and had set up a Renewal Committee. Leading
the group was Jorge Valentim, a contemporary of Savimbi and the UNITA nominee
for the position of Minister of Hotels and Tourism in the GURN.
Three UNITA nominated deputy ministers were also unveiled as part of
the new committee: General Demostenes Chilingutila, Jeronimo Ngongo Marcolino
and Julio Antonio,
The leadership of this faction is made up of political figures sent
to Luanda by Jonas Savimbi as part of his dual strategy. The exception
to this is Eugenio Manuvakola, who signed the Lusaka Protocol on behalf
of UNITA when he was the organisation's Secretary General. Following the
signing of the peace accord, Manuvakola was arrested by Savimbi and jailed
until he escaped.
The committee declared that they were suspending Jonas Savimbi from
his position as leader, stating that he has "proved incapable of meeting
the commitments freely accepted in the Lusaka Protocol and has adopted
a policy which is contrary to the interests of the party members and the
people of Angola". They installed a provisional leadership until the
holding of the 9th national congress, perhaps as early as next year, to
elect a new leadership.
Government recognises faction
The Angolan government on 4 September announced that it was suspending
dialogue with UNITA members loyal to Jonas Savimbi.
In line with this policy the government accepted the proposal of UNITA-R
that Eugenio Manuvakola replace Isaias Samakuva as UNITA's representative
to the Joint Commission which oversees the Lusaka peace process. Samakuva
had been the UNITA representative for four years. However, he had gone
absent from Luanda for several weeks, only returning from the UNITA-held
areas after heavy pressure from the United Nations.
Isaias Samakuva left Luanda for Europe on 2 September. He has travelled
to Belgium, France and Portugal and is currently awaiting a decision on
a visa application to enter Britain.
The government on 23 September reinstated all but two of the UNITA ministers
and vice-ministers who had been suspended on 31 August following UNITA's
refusal to meet a government deadline for the handover of the huge areas
still under its military occupation. A government statement said that it
had reviewed the situation because of the position taken by the new leadership
However, the Minister of Geology and Mines, Marcos Samondo, and the
Vice-Minister of Communication, Aurelio Joao Evangelista, who had both
refused to break from Jonas Savimbi, were formally dismissed by a Presidential
UNITA parliamentarians in disarray
The 70 UNITA parliamentarians nominated by their organisation to take
up seats in the National Assembly are in a state of chaos following the
decision of the government to suspend them on 31 August.
Few UNITA parliamentarians came out in support of the new leadership.
Evaristo Ramos Chipumba was one of the few who did.
On 9 September a press conference, held by UNITA parliamentarian Jaka
Jamba in the name of the UNITA parliamentary group, denounced the setting
up of the Renewal Committee. A statement said that only a meeting between
President dos Santos and Jonas Savimbi could bring about a resolution to
the crisis in the country. Interestingly, Abel Chivukuvuku did not attend
the press conference, despite then being the nominal head of the UNITA
However, on 25 September 55 of the parliamentarians announced that they
were distancing themselves from Jonas Savimbi and were supporting the peace
process. It is clear though that they were still not fully supporting Jorge
Valentim's new leadership. It appears that while this grouping has made
the break with Savimbi, they judge that Valentim and Manuvakola are too
close to the government - or they may simply be keeping their options open
while other leadership contenders decide whether to come forward. Signs
are that they are remaining loyal to Abel Chivukuvuku, who revealed that
he has not been in contact with the Savimbi leadership for over a year.
On 25 September, Chivukuvuku announced that "I have had disputes with
Andulo. From now on I am a free man, a citizen of peace". However,
on 2 October Chivukuvuku said that someone had fired on his car in Luanda
in an attempt to pressurise him into joining the UNITA Renewal Committee.
It now seems likely that the UNITA parliamentary group has done enough
to distance itself from Savimbi, without supporting the UNITA-R leadership,
to be re-admitted into the National Assembly.
The UNITA-R leadership has given the National Assembly's Standing Committee
the names of its nominees. Under Angola's parliamentary system, parliamentary
seats are allocated on a party list system.
The Standing Committee met on 25 September, when they considered the
list of 57 nominees to fill the 70 vacant UNITA places. Fifty-five of the
nominees were previous UNITA members of the National Assembly, with two
new names added. It is understood that of the 15 former parliamentarians
left off the list, twelve are currently living in Europe.
One of the new names added is that of Euginio Manuvakola, who has been
nominated as the leader of the parliamentary group. However, there is real
confusion over the loyalties of the new UNITA parliamentary group.
The parliamentary group opposed the imposition of Manuvakola, which
it considers irregular and illegal, and is supporting Abel Chivukuvuku.
Informed sources suggest that the differences between Valentim and Chivukuvuku
are centred on who should lead UNITA rather than on whether to continue
to support Savimbi. The London-based journal, Africa Analysis, suggests
that Chivukuvuku would be supported by the United States if he provided
a leadership challenge to Jonas Savimbi. It is likely that a third UNITA
leadership will be announced, gaining the support of many UNITA political
figures in Luanda.
However, some UNITA figures will stress their "independence"
in an effort to continue a political career without endangering the lives
of family members left in Savimbi's UNITA-held areas. This may be the case
with Vitorino Hossi, who announced on 7 September that he was freezing
all his party activities, and would continue as an independent. He stated
that he did not subscribe to the UNITA-R manifesto. Hossi was among the
ministers reinstated on 23 September.
In another move, on 25 September the ruling MPLA called on parliament
to rescind the law giving Jonas Savimbi special status as leader of the
main opposition movement.
The next parliamentary sitting begins on 15 October.
Ex-UNITA generals support government
As part of the government's strategy of isolating Jonas Savimbi, former
UNITA generals who have joined the government's army issued a statement
on 10 September calling on UNITA's military wing to end their "warmongering".
Deputy Minister of Defence, General Demostenes Chilingutila read the statement,
in the presence of generals Ben Ben, Wiyo, Henda, Pongolola, Sunguete,
Regresso and Ngele.
Former UNITA deputy president Miguel Nzau Puna on 8 September announced
that he was supporting the split in UNITA. Nzau Puna is vice-minister for
Territorial Administration. He intimated that he would be prepared to join
There have been several defections from Savimbi throughout the country.
However, these are mainly confined to UNITA supporters in government-held
areas. One major exception was the reported defection of 1,000 people from
a military camp in Cunene. Included in this number are 600 UNITA soldiers
who handed-over their weapons to government forces.
UN and troika in quandary
Recent developments in Angola have left the United Nations and the troika
of observer nations (Russia, United States and Portugal) in a difficult
The decision of the Andulo-based UNITA leadership to suspend all contact
with the troika observers, and the decision to withdraw its representative
at the Joint Commission, Isaias Samakuva, to Andulo for several weeks effectively
stalled the formal peace process. The intensifying military actions by
UNITA's forces leave no doubt that the movement is pursuing a military
Now that the Angolan government has recognised an alternative leadership
to Jonas Savimbi, which includes members who were senior in the UNITA leadership
at the time the Lusaka Protocol was signed, the UN and the troika will
need to decide whether it is to accept the de facto UNITA leadership in
Luanda - at the expense of Jonas Savimbi or to declare the Lusaka peace
process dead. It is clear that the UN would like the government to resume
dialogue with Jonas Savimbi, as he continues to have control over UNITA's
army. However, there is little likelihood that the Angolan government will
re-recognise Jonas Savimbi given his failure up until now to demilitarise
The UN has not so far taken any public decision on the status of the
Renewal Committee. However, the Secretary General's Special Representative
in Angola, Issa B Y Diallo, has been instructed by Kofi Annan to visit
Andulo to meet with Jonas Savimbi. However, the Angolan government has
so far refused permission for him to travel to Andulo on the grounds that
it cannot ensure his safety. The government would prefer him not to meet
with Savimbi and to recognise Valentim as leader of UNITA.
It is also not clear that Savimbi is in Andulo. There are persistent
rumours that Savimbi has fled to Togo, after a stop in Uganda where he
discussed the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo with President
Museveni. President Museveni recently stated that he was considering giving
support to UNITA.
The troika of observer nations meanwhile issued on 24 September a communiqu
warning both the government and UNITA that there can be no military solution
to the conflict in Angola. The troika also wrote personally to Jonas Savimbi
on 25 September stating that "today the towns of Andulo, Bailundo,
Mungo and Nharea remain under UNITA's control. Moreover, during the last
six months UNITA troops recaptured towns that had already been handed over
to the central administration. The demilitarisation of UNITA required by
the Lusaka Protocol has not been completed. For its part the Angolan government
has fully honoured its undertakings under the Lusaka Protocol."
The letter goes on to state that "only you, Mr Savimbi, can help
reverse it by urgently contacting President dos Santos with a view to holding
talks on how UNITA can conclude the peace process and on immediate steps
to avert war. This is UNITA's last chance to secure a legitimate and constructive
place in Angola's political context. Should it fail to respond with irreversible
steps, such as extending the central government's administration to the
whole of Angola and full demilitarisation, we shall be obliged to conclude
that it does not want peace".
The implication of this letter is that if Savimbi does not take steps
to avert war, he will be held responsible for any future conflict.
FNLA have internal problems
The other historic political movement in Angola, the FNLA, has split,
with a 51-strong caretaker committee on 3 September publicly removing the
FNLA founder, Holden Roberto, who was replaced by a co-ordinator - Lucas
Ngonda. The committee is organising a conference in January 1999 to elect
a replacement for Roberto.
In response, Holden Roberto expelled the members of the caretaker committee,
calling their actions unconstitutional.
The FNLA currently has five seats in the National Assembly.
UN extends mission by one month
The United Nations Security Council on 16 September adopted Resolution
1195(1998) which extended the UN Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) until
15 October, and requested that the UN Secretary General report to the Security
Council by 8 October.
The Security Council stated that "the primary cause of the crisis
in Angola and the current impasse in the peace process is the failure by
the leadership of UNITA to comply with its obligations".
The Security Council had before it a letter from President dos Santos
that requested that the Security Council take up a position of recognising
UNITA-R as the only legitimate interlocutor for the completion of the Lusaka
Kofi Annan, in his report to the Security Council on 7 September (S/1998/838),
stated that there should be a full-scale review of MONUA by the end of
November, and that if there had been no substantial progress by then, MONUA
should be wound up by February.
SADC support may tip military balance
Southern Africa's leaders have paved the way for military assistance
to the Angolan government should Savimbi's UNITA continue to refuse to
A meeting of Southern African Development Community (SADC) military
chiefs in Luanda on 29 September discussed what practical support the region
can give to the Angolan army. Mozambique, Botswana, Mauritius and Lesotho
did not send a delegation, though only Botswana would have been in a position
to offer any significant assistance.
Beyond the political significance of this decision lies the question
of what concrete military backing the Angolan government might receive.
A major deployment by the South African Defence Force could alter the military
balance greatly in favour of the Angolan government. Angola's military
capacity has been stretched by the presence of thousands of its crack troops
in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they have been assisting Laurent
The decision to look at regional military aid follows the SADC Heads
of State or Government meeting in Mauritius. A statement on 14 September
said that the meeting considered Savimbi to be "the person solely
responsible for the increasing deterioration of the security situation
in Angola" and concluded that "the behaviour of Mr Jonas Malheiro
Savimbi is that of a war criminal and, thus, renders him objectively incapable
of leading his party onto the road of peace in Angola".
The statement went on to recognise the UNITA-R leadership as valid negotiators,
and called on "the UN, the troika of observer nations and the entire
international community to recognise the new leadership of UNITA".
Further international support for the Angolan government came from a Central
African Countries Heads of State summit in Gabon on 24 September. The summit
called for Savimbi to be isolated, and for the international community
to recognise the UNITA renewal committee.
Stopping short of the all-out war that some had predicted, armed clashes
between the Angolan army and UNITA troops have continued throughout the
country. UNITA has continued to seize towns and villages, whilst the government
has hit back, retaking some locations.
UNITA had seized control of the important diamond-mining town of Luremo
on 31 August, but this was retaken by the government on 18 September.
The strategic dam at Ngove in Huambo province has also been under fierce
attack from UNITA. Government forces were said to be under heavy artillery
fire on 9 September. The dam is an important source of hydroelectricity,
and is linked to the Epupa energy project.
Uige province has been the site of serious conflict, with UNITA attacking
several locations. In Puri on 9 September the police headquarters and other
buildings were destroyed in the fighting.
The town of Maquela do Zombo, Uige province, was attacked and occupied
on 10 September. It is alleged that UNITA was then supplied by aircraft
landing at the town's airport. Government forces retook the town on 18
There have been persistent allegations that UNITA has been bringing
its troops into Angola from the Democratic Republic of Congo along with
defeated forces from the Rwandan backed "Banyamulenges" (Congolese
from a Tutsi ethnic background).
In Malanje province only 4 of the 14 districts are under government
control, with several districts being recently seized by UNITA.
According to the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, "UNITA forces
continued to threaten the positions of FAA and the Angolan National Police
in Uige, Cuanza Norte, Malanje, Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, Moxico and Bie
provinces". The report also points out that the Angolan army is laying
"protective minefields" around their positions, and that UNITA
is also laying mines. Most demining operations in the country have been
suspended due to the increasing insecurity. A number of demining organisations
have suspended their operations in a direct protest at the relaying of
Insecurity halts aid convoys
The security situation in the country has deteriorated to such an extent
that the World Food Programme has suspended deliveries to some areas. This
decision followed an attack on a WFP convoy, which was escorted by MONUA.
The convoy of 21 trucks carrying food for Uige province was attacked on
16 September by UNITA in Cuanza Norte province. One UN member was killed
and six others injured in the attack.
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.
ACTSA, 28 Penton Street, London N1 9SA
fax: +44 171 837 3001 telephone: +44 171 833 3133.
Back issues of the Angola Peace Monitor are available on the World Wide
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa
Policy Information Center (APIC). 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.