Quinta-feira, 9 de Setembro de 2010

Foreign Direct Interference in Angola?

By Vasco Martins

 

The party in power in Angola, the MPLA, has accused the opposition, UNITA, of inciting civil disobedience through its affiliated radio channel Despertar and attempting to mobilise the population into protesting against the current regime.

In its last meeting, MPLA released a report which mentions a “strategy followed and supported by several identified foreign institutions, organisations and individuals, including national citizens, recruited to serve as the ‘tip of the sword’ in denouncing and criticising the executive’s actions and decisions”. This report makes reference to “people whose sole purpose is to mitigate MPLA’s popular support by lifting suspicions and false accusations, in an attempt to handle over power in the next elections to those who have always served their interests”.

Regardless of MPLA’s judgements of who serves whose interests, the fact that foreign institutions and organisations might be involved in political agitation could lay a path that would threaten the country’s stability in years to come.

It is not uncommon for foreign organisations to lobby and pressure governments to take this or that course of action for their own benefit, especially in a country ripe with natural resources and economic growth like Angola. However, MPLA’s suggestion that foreign organisms are attempting to disrupt the established power by inciting civil disobedience is indeed very serious.

It is in no one's interest, except possibly for some opposing the current status quo, to agitate the population into resorting to violent protest with the single purpose of gaining political leverage in order to “mitigate the differences in the next elections”.

Just like in Mozambique, the Angolan society and political leaders have not fully understood that elections and democracy, albeit not constitutionally liberal, serve as a platform to project these political struggles, as an alternative to popular agitation which always has serious consequences for the economy and for the functioning of society. The fact that foreign organisations might be involved in such internal struggles only shows that Angola’s democracy is flawed and sensitive to foreign pressure. In order to avoid future problems, the government must educate the population about democracy, active participation and civil responsibility. An educated, active population is the backbone of any democracy. Without popular participation, democracy in Angola will continue to be exploited by those who wish to gain or retain power at any cost. It is shameful that after almost thirty years of civil war, some in Angola still opt for dodgy protests instead of demanding true democratic representation.

 

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