Bloomberg News

Dos Santos Grip on Power ‘Dangerous’ for Angola, Ex-Premier Says

September 14, 2011

Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s 32-year grip on power is “very dangerous” for the country, former Prime Minister Marcolino Moco said.

Angolans enjoy fewer individual liberties and human rights today than during the period of one-party rule between 1975 and 1992, Moco, a law professor at the state-run Universidade Agostinho Neto, told reporters in yesterday in the capital, Luanda.

Dos Santos’s Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA, won 82 percent of the seats in the 2008 parliamentary elections, the first in 16 years. The party changed the constitution so that lawmakers elect the president, scrapping a public vote scheduled for 2009.

The MPLA last week signaled for the first time that Dos Santos’s rule in sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest oil producer may be coming to an end. The president may step down before or after next year’s parliamentary elections, Rui Falcao de Andrade, a member of the party’s political bureau, said in a Sept. 6 interview.

A court on Sept. 12 sentenced 18 protesters who had demanded an end to Dos Santos’s presidency to as much as three months in prison, and similar charges are pending against about 30 more dissidents. Human Rights Watch has condemned the trials, and Moco said the sentences will show whether Angolan courts are independent or “an extension” of the executive.

Moco was prime minister between 1992 and 1996. He was sacked by Dos Santos after proposing negotiations to end the civil war that began with the country’s independence in 1975, departing from the official line that the rebels must be crushed, according to news reports at the time.

--Editors: Ben Holland, Heather Langan.

To contact the reporter on this story: Candido Mendes in Luanda at cmendes6@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.


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