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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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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, V, 2

Angola: Peace Monitor, V, 2
Date Distributed (ymd): 981103
Document reposted by APIC

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +security/peace+
Summary Contents:
This issue of the Angola Peace Monitor includes reports on new desertions from UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, as well as on continued fighting in northern Angola and a notice of a new publication on Angola from the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR).

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Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no. 2, Vol V, 28th October 1998

Jonas Savimbi's leadership under new challenge

UNITA strongman Jonas Savimbi is facing a fresh challenge to his leadership following the decision of UNITA's parliamentary group to confirm Abel Chivukuvuku as their leader. The parliamentary group had been suspended at the end of August from the Angolan parliament, the National Assembly, following UNITA's refusal to abide by its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol(1). However, following assurances that the parliamentary group supported peace, it was reinstated on 20 October.

Abel Chivukuvuku revealed on 26 September that he had broken links with Jonas Savimbi and was committed to peace. The decision to confirm Chivukuvuku as leader of the parliamentary group is a blow to both Jonas Savimbi and the other faction fighting for the leadership of UNITA.

Jonas Savimbi is already challenged for his leadership by a group known as UNITA-Renovada (see APM no.1 vol IV). However, the leading figure in UNITA-R, Jorge Valentim, is unpopular among the UNITA parliamentarians, the vast majority of whom have distanced themselves from UNITA-R.

UNITA-R had attempted to replace Chivukuvuku with the former UNITA Secretary General, Eugenio Manuvakola. In effect, this would have been a takeover of the parliamentary group by UNITA-R. However, in an election on 26 October, 49 deputies voted for Chivukuvuku whilst two voted for Domingos Caetano. Manuvakola did not stand.

All seventy UNITA deputies have been reinstated, despite a move by UNITA-R to remove fifteen deputies, and make Manuvakola a parliamentarian. UNITA-R had put forward to the Standing Committee of the National Assembly a new list of UNITA parliamentarians, consisting of 57 nominees to fill the 70 parliamentary places.

There is speculation that Chivukuvuku is a more credible leadership figure in the eyes of some policy analysts in the United States administration. However, his leadership of the UNITA parliamentary group is still being fought over. On 27 October, the President of the National Assembly Roberto de Almeida declared Manuvakola the leader of the parliamentary group. This move is likely to be challenged.

UNITA deputy secretary-general defects

In a further blow to Savimbi, UNITA's deputy secretary-general, Martires Correia Vitor, has disassociated himself from Jonas Savimbi's movement.

On 12 October, Vitor announced that he had given up his post following UNITA's failure to abide by the Lusaka Protocol. Vitor came to Luanda in January to prepare for the arrival of UNITA's political leadership.

Infighting isolates Savimbi

Political infighting in the UNITA movement has left Jonas Savimbi isolated whilst his close associates fight over who should take control of the new leadership.

The Angolan government in September broke all links with Jonas Savimbi and recognised UNITA-R as the only legitimate interlocutor for the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol and has pressurised the United Nations to follow suit. The UN Secretary General, in his report to the UN Security Council on 8 October, stated that the Angolan government has warned that if the UN Secretary General's Special Representative to Angola, Issa Diallo, does meet with Jonas Savimbi, then the government would cease all contact with Diallo.

Issa Diallo had sought to visit Savimbi on 21 September. However, the Angolan government vetoed the trip on the grounds that it could not provide the necessary security guarantees.

In a further restriction of contacts between the UN and Jonas Savimbi's UNITA, the Angolan government on 15 October banned UN flights to UNITA-held territory.

The UN has been working for a lifting of the ban, reasoning that without air support the presence of the UN Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) observers in UNITA held territory was not viable. The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has taken up the issue with the Angolan Vice Minister for Territorial Administration, Higino Carneiro.

Whilst the emergence of a second major internal opposition to Jonas Savimbi's leadership makes the government's task of getting UNITA-R recognised as the true representative of UNITA more difficult, it may pave the way for further defections from Savimbi's movement.

The key issue is whether either of the new power centres, or the former UNITA generals who are now in the government's army (see APM no.1 vol V), can deliver on UNITA's obligations under the Lusaka Protocol. So far there have not been any major defections from Savimbi's military wing. The United Nations is working under the logic that unless there are large scale military defections, then the only person who can deliver peace is Jonas Savimbi.

Moves to tighten sanctions on UNITA

The UN Security Council on 15 October called for an investigation into allegations that Jonas Savimbi has been spotted outside Angola, and that his military forces are receiving training abroad.

In its resolution on 15 October, the Security Council also called for the Secretary General to report by 23 November on measures for improving the application of sanctions already in place against UNITA.

There have been consistent rumours that Savimbi has been sighted in Uganda and Togo. In addition, the Angolan government has accused Togo and Burkina Faso of giving military training to UNITA forces.

Sanctions in place against UNITA are currently not taking full effect. In Britain, the UNITA representative Anibal Kandeya is still in place contrary to the UN sanctions imposed on 30 October 1997.

Mr Kandaya was immediately asked to leave the country following the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1127 (1997). However, he used his right to appeal against the decision, and has since continued his duties as UNITA representative.

The Home Office recently denied Kandeya's application for further leave to remain in Britain, and the Home Secretary intends to start deportation proceedings against him. However, Kandeya is entitled to appeal against any such move, giving him further time to remain in the country.

Angola takes action against sanctions busters

UN sanctions have also not been fully implemented in regards to the closing of supply routes to UNITA. However, action by the Angolan government has had some effect in reducing the supplies.

Mystery surrounds the events following the arrest of eight men who were aboard an aircraft forced down by the Angolan air force on 20 January 1998. Following a trial, three South Africans were sentenced on 20 October to jail terms of 23 years for smuggling mining and other equipment to UNITA. Four other South Africans received prison sentences, and a further foreign national received a 23-year jail sentence. All four men given 23-year sentences have either been released or have escaped.

UNITA MP arrested over leadership fight

A UNITA member of parliament, Sabino Sakutala, was arrested on 7 October in connection with an incident on 2 October in which shots were fired at the car of UNITA's parliamentary leader, Abel Chivukuvuku. His detention was immediately condemned by the UNITA parliamentary group, who deny that he was involved. They complain that Sakutala has been held incommunicado, and has been denied his right to a lawyer.

Also arrested was the UNITA-appointed Deputy Governor for Bie province Joaquim Paulo Somakesenje.

Chivukuvuku has claimed that the attack was carried out by persons unknown, to persuade him to join UNITA-R.

China recognises UNITA-R

The People's Republic of China has recognised UNITA-R leadership as the legitimate representative of UNITA. The recognition came as Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos visited China from 12-16 October.

China has historically been one of the major backers of UNITA, alongside the United States. However, in recent years the relationship between China and Angola has warmed considerably. The Chinese delegation to the UN Security Council has been highly critical of UNITA's failure to abide by the Lusaka Protocol.

MONUA mandate extended for six weeks

The UN Security Council on 15 October adopted resolution 1202, which extended MONUA's mandate by six weeks until 3 December.

The resolution reiterated that the primary cause of the crisis was the failure of UNITA's leadership to comply with its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol.

In a warning that time and patience is running out, the Security Council emphasised that "the extension of the mandate of MONUA provides the Special Representative of the Secretary General an additional opportunity to revive the stalled peace process, and strongly urges UNITA to take advantage of this period to transform itself into a genuine political party and to secure a legitimate and constructive role in the Angolan political process".

In his report to the Security Council on 8 October (S/1998/931) the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, stated that if the pattern of UNITA non-compliance continued, and if dialogue between the parties remained elusive, he planned from December to withdraw UN personnel to eight key bases. The implication of this is that it would signal the withdrawal of the UN from Angola. This would highlight the lack of political will by the members of the Security Council to back a tougher UN stance and military presence in Angola.

The Joint Commission(2), which is supposed to oversee the peace process, has not met properly for several months. It did meet for consultations on 7 October, but without any UNITA representation. It has so far not taken any decision over who should represent UNITA on the commission. The previous incumbent, Isaias Samakuva left for Europe on 2 September. Prior to the creation of UNITA-R, he had been absent from the Joint Commission for several months, leaving the commission unable to make any firm decisions in his absence.

UNITA-R wants to replace Samakuva with Eugenio Manuvakola. However, at the moment such a move is unlikely, especially in the light of the failure of UNITA-R to take control of the UNITA parliamentary group.

Fierce fighting continues in north

The UN Secretary General in his report to the Security Council warned that the security situation has continued to deteriorate, "primarily as a result of persistent UNITA attacks on strategic locations". Fierce fighting is reported to be continuing in the north and north-east of Angola, particularly in Uige, Malanje and Lunda Norte provinces. Reports suggest that UNITA has surrounded the provincial capital of Uige city, and that government forces are countering with air assaults.

Fighting over the Maquela do Zombo, Uige province, has reportedly left most of it in rubble. Fighting and insecurity in the province has led to 12,000 new refugees flooding into Uige city. Nationally, there are now 1.3 million internally displaced people, which is ten per cent of the total population. There have also been reports that government forces have been halted in an offensive against the UNITA stronghold of Andulo.

The fighting up until now has not amounted to an all-out war. Regional analysts suggest that the presence of around 7,000 Angolan troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they have been involved in heavy fighting against forces seeking to oust President Laurent Kabila, has seriously limited the capacity of the Angolan government to strike a major blow against UNITA. Further Angolan troops are stationed in Congo-Brazzaville.

However, the fighting in Congo is related to the conflict in Angola. The Pan African News Agency reported on 8 October that 50 UNITA troops were captured whilst supporting anti-Kabila forces in Bas-Congo province in Congo.

The report also states that 28 Congolese rebels were seen supporting UNITA troops in an attack on the town of Damba, Uige province.

Senior US officials visit Angola

Two senior US officials are to visit Angola from 28 October. Under Secretary of State Susan Rice will be making her fifth visit to Angola, and will be accompanied by President Clinton's Special Assistant, Gayle Smith.

It is understood that the two will be discussing the current impasse in the peace process and the situation in Congo.

According to a report in the Washington Post, the United States, Russia and Portugal have given an implicit nod to the Angolan government for an offensive against UNITA. The report states that a source warned that, "the troika is not pushing for a government offensive, but see one as a natural byproduct of the stalemate". The report links this to the letter sent by the troika to Savimbi on 25 September.

Senior UNITA general dies in South Africa

The most senior UNITA general to join the government's army under the Lusaka Protocol, General Arlindo Pena "Ben Ben" died in a Johannesburg clinic on 19 October. General Pena was the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA).

General Pena, the nephew of Jonas Savimbi, was flown to the clinic following a serious bout of malaria. Both the UNITA movement in Andulo and UNITA-R claimed that the other was responsible for the death of the general. However, a post mortem revealed that General Pena had indeed died of cerebral malaria.

On 10 September the general was one of the former UNITA generals who called upon UNITA combatants to lay down their arms.

Major oil find

A major oil find has been discovered in Block 14 off the coast of Angola. Named "Belize" initial estimates suggest that it might produce 10,000 barrels per day.

Total, Sonangol and Agip have 20 per cent stakes in Block 14, whilst Chevron have a 31 per cent interest and Petrogal a 9 per cent stake.

A large find in Block 15, named Bikanza, with a predicted output of 4,400 barrels per day, was announced on 15 October.

There have also been allegations, printed in the London-based Southscan, that the Angolan national oil company, Sonangol, will be given access to offshore oil fields in return for Angolan support for President Kabila. According to Etienne Ngangura, spokesman for the anti-Kabila rebels, the Muanda area has been earmarked for Sonangol. The area was previously held by US oil companies.

Angola on way to IMF programme

The London-based journal, Africa Analysis, states that the Angolan cabinet is on the verge of agreeing a stringent recovery agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

The government lost a third of its planned income when the price of oil dropped from $18 a barrel to $12 at the beginning of the year. The report states that the drop in revenue has left the country struggling to meet its debt service payments. The country is therefore turning to high interest commercial loans, secured by future oil revenue.

The first step would be for an IMF "staff monitored programme" which if successful would lead to a full structural adjustment programme next year. This would open the door for the rescheduling of debt and access to official credit on more favourable conditions than on the commercial market.

International conference calls for tighter implementation of sanctions

An international conference in Vienna, ahead of the scheduled EU-SADC Foreign Ministers meeting on 2-3 November, has called on international action against UNITA.

The Chair of the conference in his conclusions "called upon the international community to implement international measures decided upon by the UN Security Council, such as sanctions against Jonas Savimbi's UNITA, since there is little use of having anti-conflict measures if they are not implemented".

The meeting, held on 12 - 14 October, hosted by the Austrian Parliament in cooperation with the European Network for Information and Action on Southern Africa, brought together 300 parliamentarians and NGO representatives from Southern Africa and the European Union.

CIIR briefing points out role of civil society in peace

The Catholic Institute for International Relations has published a briefing entitled "Peace Postponed - Angola since the Lusaka Protocol".

The pamphlet argues that "if Angola is to achieve lasting peace, its people need economic, social and political freedom. They need to be able to move around freely, and to be free to associate and express themselves as they wish. This kind of reconstruction requires cooperation between national, local and provincial governments, NGOs, private enterprise and international institutions".

It points out that "human rights practice has improved little in Angola since the Lusaka Protocol. A culture of human rights is unlikely to take root as long as there is such acute insecurity and suspicion".

It continues that "building confidence in the peace process requires measures that will inform ordinary Angolans about their rights, and how to complain if these rights are violated. Both the media and non-governmental organisations have an important role to play in promoting an awareness of human rights".

The pamphlet concludes that, "the cycle of impunity in Angola needs to be broken. If peace lasts and peace and reconciliation are really to take root, the truth about the past needs to be exposed, and measures must be taken to deal with those responsible".

The pamphlet, costing 3.50 pounds sterling, is available from CIIR, Unit 3, Canonbury Yard, 190a New North Road, London N1 7BJ, e-mail, tel +44 (0) 171 354 0883, fax +44 (0) 171 359 0017.

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 Web at:

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.

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