Angolans march to demand fair elections

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The opposition party along side civil society groups in Angola have expressed serious concern over the independence of the electoral commision ahead of key upcoming general elections in August.

At least 4,000 Angolans marched through Luanda on Saturday June 3rd, to demand a fair election when President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is due to step down after 38 years in power.

Protests are rarely allowed in Angola but the protest which was organised by UNITA opposition party, was this time authorised by the police.

This protest is to denounce the vicious system of fraud perpetuated in recruiting the same companies that participated in manipulating elections of 2008 and 2012. UNITA leader Isaias Samakuva.

Dos Santos has ruled Angola since 1979, and his MPLA party is set to retain control at the election.

“This protest is to denounce the vicious system of fraud perpetuated in recruiting the same companies that participated in manipulating elections of 2008 and 2012,” UNITA leader Isaias Samakuva told the crowd.

Protesters, chanted slogans against dos Santos and against the two companies that have been contracted to count the votes.

Dos Santos’s rule has seen the end of civil war and an investment boom in the oil-rich country.

But he has been criticised as corrupt, with authorities crushing dissent and Angola’s citizens suffering dire poverty as his family became hugely wealthy.

Defence Minister Joao Lourenco has emerged as the president’s chosen successor at the August 23 vote.

In April, seven opposition activists were jailed for “rebellion” after attending an unauthorised protest calling for election transparency.

The elections slated for August are a legislative ballot; and will produce a leader from the majority party who will be appointed president of the republic.