The recent Angolan elections on August 24, 2022 were the subject of intense scrutiny by Angolan and international public opinion. Interestingly a good part of the attention was devoted to political and/or legal subjects. There was a great deal of courts, electoral processes, law application, voting counting, multitude of initiatives and even constitutional revision.
However, the qualitative inquiries that a partner executed during the election period did not point out these as the main concerns of Angolans, but those linked to the economy, namely employment and unemployment. What Angolans seem to ask above all is a job and good living conditions.
Consequently, the issue of unemployment is one of the most important in the activity of the executive who has now taken office.
At this time, the most current data point to a 30.2% general unemployment rate (data from the National Institute of Statistics for the II Quarter of 2022) and the youth unemployment rate (15-24 years) will be located in the 56.7%. The unemployed population over 15 years old in the entire country is calculated in 4 913 481 of people, while young people from 15-24 unemployed is 3 109 296.
Source: Instituto Nacional de Estatística de Angola
Even if they doubt statistics and considering the very large weight of the informal economy, which makes calculations difficult, the reality is that the unemployment rate is too high. By the way, it is almost certain that the high rate of youth unemployment has manifestly contributed to the MPLA defeat in Luanda.
Unemployment is one of Angola’s most serious and important political, economic and social problems.
Government Employment Policy
Government policy regarding unemployment has been essentially passive, although accompanied by some concrete programs.
Essentially, the government expects the effort of macroeconomic stabilization (budgetary equilibrium, public account control, exchange rate liberalization, etc.) to translate into an incentive to private investment that in turn will increase employment.
The inaugural address of the President reaffirmed this approach when he said that “we will continue to work on policies and good practices to encourage and promote the private sector of the economy, to increase the offer of national production goods and services, increase exports and create more and more jobs for Angolans, especially for younger people” (our emphasis).
The Minister of State for economic coordination, now reappointed, had already pointed out this direction when referring to unemployment and public employment promotion programs, he does not mention them concretely, but focuses on macroeconomic aspects. In early September, Nunes Júnior advanced that he was confident in reducing unemployment based on the private sector, claiming that the government was able to “put the country in economic growth giving currency stability and net international reserves” and placed “the country on the economic balance track, exchange rate stability and international reserves”.
The government successes in the area of stabilization of public finances and currency politics are not challenged, what is doubtful is the belief that the Angolan private sector has immediate ability to resolve the issue of unemployment.
On the basis of this non-interventional policy on the correction of excessive unemployment is the neoclassical model that summarizes the essence of all economic activity to the free interaction between supply and demand for price flexibility. The neoclassical model has a valid relevance in many areas of economic analysis, but certainly will not be applicable linearly in the job market and even less in Angola.
The government continues to believe that it is sufficient to create the appropriate framework conditions (financial and currency framing) and employment emerges moved by the private sector.
This would be so if Angola were a free market economy with a strong and capitalized private sector. Angola is nothing like that. It is an economy that began with a process of destruction and Sovietization after independence in 1975 and whose “liberalization” after 1992-2002, it was false, or rather, was post-soviet, imitating Mother-Russian: some oligarchs linked to power took advantage of privatization and alleged free markets to quickly “hand in hand” with political power take dominant positions. In fact, there have never been true entrepreneurs, but essentially political entrepreneurs. And there was never a private sector, but a sector of friends of power. This reality has no strength to promote employment as the minister wants.
Making the recovery of employment in Angola dependent and combating unemployment only in the private sector is impossible.
There are two orders of reasons why the policy against unemployment is only based on the private sector.
Firstly, the operation of the market. As a general rule, the labor market does not function as a free market, by obeying the rules of supply and demand defined by the neoclassical economic model that seems to sustain government philosophy, the behavior of the labor market is tendentially rigid, wages are hardly lowered or people are fired without social turmoil and constraints.
In technical terms it is said that the labor market operates as a market without compensation (non-clearing market). While according to neoclassical theory, most markets quickly reach a balance without excess supply or demand, this is not true for the job market: there may be a persistent level of unemployment. Comparison of the labor market with other markets also reveals persistent compensatory differentials between similar workers.
Keynes in the context of the 1930s crisis studied the subject and concluded that the economy could go into underemployment balances, this means that it can reach a level where it will never employ all potential workers and not leave without the intervention of a “visible hand” that would be the State.
The second reason is the magnitude of unemployment in Angola. It is one thing to expect that the private sector hire people when unemployment is 10% and it is intended to go down to 6%.
It is possible that economic growth automatically increases employment. Okun’s famous law, even though it is inaccurate, tells us that a 2% rise of the product (GDP) implies a decrease of 1% of unemployment. Thus, if Angola’s GDP increased 4% by 2023, unemployment would only drop 2%, i.e. to 28%. Manifestly insufficient.
Explanation of the Okun Law
Therefore, there is a problem here for the economic theories in which the government rests on its policy. To go down unemployment to acceptable levels, for example 8%, 11 years would be needed with an average growth of 4% per year. Only in 2033 would unemployment be at a satisfactory level for the well-being of the population.
Exemplification of the necessary to achieve an unemployment rate of 8% without state intervention
Alternative and complementary policies
It is possible that this reality was what led the newly deposed minister of state to the social area, Dalva Ringote, to announce the “redinamization” of several government social programs. Although it has not specifically referred to unemployment, it is assumed that training programs, education programs and fighting poverty are included in the portfolio of the minister’s concerns and begins to have some inflection in the passive orthodoxy of the fight against unemployment.
It is evident that there are no miracles, but there has to be a government effort to idealize a more active employment policy than the private sector and expected economic growth supplemented.
Essentially this policy would be based on three pillars:
i) The hiring of staff for the State for the coverage of fundamental needs in education, health and social solidarity. Here the focus would be the hiring of licensed staff to occupy positions of human Capital that reproduce social welfare;
ii) The grant to private companies to hire contract workers, giving preference to Angolans;
iii) the launch of vast professional training programs for unlicensed citizens to provide them with practical qualifications in agriculture and in several posts.
In order to finance these massive programs to fight unemployment, one would have to rely, in part, on budget surplus funds and, on the other hand, on the famous recovery of assets in the fight against corruption.
There is no doubt that much of the government’s future is based on what will be done in the employment area. This will really have to be the employment legislature.
There is an undeniable fact. Angolan elections scheduled for the 24th of August are the most disputed of the post-civil war (2002). Never has been a discussion so renamed and the intensity of the arguments and uncertainty so debated.
Despite some tension and sometimes incendiary rhetoric, this electoral context represents a significant advance of the democratic struggle, which is expected not to go beyond from other forms of struggle.
One of the innovative aspects that has arisen in these elections is the plurality of polls. As much as memory and files allow to determine, the existence of polls was not a usual fact in the previous Angolan elections.
In fact, in 2017, only one reference came up to a supposed poll made by the Brazilian company “Sensus, Pesquisa e Consultoria”. The existence of this poll was never confirmed, but at the time sources revealed that this entity would have learned that the MPLA would gain only 38 percent of the votes. UNITA would obtain 32 percent of voting intentions, while the Casa-CE would appear very close to Unita, with 26 percent. From this it would result that the majority in the National Assembly would be the opposition.
What is certain is that this poll has never been confirmed and the final results were quite different. As is well known, the MPLA had 61.05%, while Unita and Casa-CE reached 26.72% and 9.49% of the votes, far from what the supposed poll stated.
2-The polls in the 2022 elections
If the 2017 elections revolved around a ghost survey that had nothing to do with the final reality in 2022, unlocked public polls appear, although fought by the forces that do not like the results.
It is about these polls and the possibility of predicting an end result based on them that this analysis is leaning.
We follow the identification of polls by a Portuguese Cable Channel and consider five published polls. These are:
All of these entities have their site and present the results publicly.
We do not ignore that there are several controversies around some of these entities, however, we chose to rely on the technical records of each of the polls and the good faith of the interveners. Let’s look at the message and not “kill the messenger.”
In fact, with the exception of Afrobarometer, all other entities are reasonably recent and seem to be dedicated to present Angolan elections, containing professionals from other companies or organizations. This is a sign of democratic liveliness and therefore does not deserve criticism. What is certain is that these entities after the first essay that are these elections in Angola will be perfecting to contribute to the democratic discourse in Angola.
Looking at the data sheets of each of the polls and results we will make a measure of the results following two criteria, the reliability of the method and the normal Gaussian distribution.
First, the type of inquiry performed. From the technical records and affirmations of those responsible we conclude that Mudei and Afrobarometer do random street surveys based on premises that specify in their methodology pages. In turn, Angopolls and PoBBrasil perform telephone inquiries according to a random computed selection. Angobarometro, on the other hand, performs online polls.
We understand that online surveys are not reliable because they benefit from a “neighborhood effect”, that is, there is a tendency to call friends and people who think the same way to visit the site. Therefore, if a site is taken as closer to UNITA will call more people from UNITA, having a bias in its favor, the same happening if the site is MPLA. To this extent, we believe that online polls demonstrate a party’s ability to mobilize, but not the voting intentions of a random sample of the population.
We thus remove the AngoBarometro from this appreciation.
Regarding the remaining four, we proceed to a Gaussian distribution by eliminating the extremes and maintaining the standard-normal distribution. To this extent we will not consider the POBBrasil Survey that gives the MPLA an extreme victory, and also Mudei that gives UNITA an extreme victory.
There are two polls that seem to us the most standardized: Afrobarometer and Angopolls.
Afrobarometer’s technical record reveals that: “The Afrobarometer team in Angola, led by Ovilongwa – Public Opinion Studies, interviewed 1,200 adult Angolans, between February 9 and March 8, 2022. A sample of this size produces national results with one Error margin of +/- 3 percentage points and a confidence level of 95%. The previous research in Angola was conducted in 2019”.
The results achieved are presented in the table below:
Table No. 1- Afrobarometer results
Angopolls has conducted several inquiries since December 2021. We will focus on the last of the published sequence, “VII-General Elections poll. July 2022”. Its datasheet states that: “The poll was made by telephone. 5040 valid inquiries were obtained, 21.03% of respondents were female.”
The results obtained were as follows:
Table No. 2: Angopolls results
¹ Not accounting for undecided and abstentions.
The Angopolls page also contains a curious chart with the presentation of the evolution of results over the several months:
Table No. 3- Voting Trends According to Angopolls
In a first analysis, it would seem that Afrobarometer and Angopolls polls give different results. In fact, the presentation of Afrobarometer attributes 29% to the MPLA and 22% to UNITA, while Angopolls refers to a percentage of 60.15% to the MPLA and 39, 85% for Unita. It appears to be a very large difference between the two polls.
However, a thinner analysis reveals that this is not the case.
In the end, in essence, the two entities came to very similar results: MPLA wins and UNITA reinforces its result, and even in percentages the difference is not very significant. The explanation for the apparent difference that does not exist is in the methods of presentation of the results and not in the results themselves.
If we notice Angopolls withdraws from their presentation the non-response (abstentionists, undecided on whether they would vote, etc.), while Afrobarometer does not do so. Note that they keep 46% – don’t know, don’t vote, refused to answer.
Now if we apply the same criterion for both polls, that is, removing the do not know, don’t vote, refused to answer, the so -called non-responders we will have a significant approximation between the two polls that mirror the table below:
Table No. 4: Comparative results Afrobarometer and Angopolls Following the same method of presentation
It is evident that another method for considering non-response is to impute them according to historical criteria (that is, considering the meaning of voting in previous elections) to political forces or then you can go into several speculative exercises.
What results from this analysis is that normal predictability points to a victory of MPLA in a percentage that oscillates between 54% and 61% and a substantial reinforcement of UNITA to 40%, with a sharp decrease of other political forces, what is called in political science a bipolarization.
It should be noted, however, that giving the percentage of non-respondents, these numbers are not fixed and definitive. They are a photograph at a given moment, but everything can change.
Therefore, polls give some indications, mark trends, but do not give certainty. As mentioned at the beginning of this work, this is an area of democracy that only now begins to be explored, so you can’t expect definitive answers, but only mutable observations.
 In this analysis it is not included the 1992 elections because they were conducted in a historically very different context.
 Due to rounding adjustments it doesn’t equal 100 %
https://www.cedesa.pt/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/image.png302619CEDESA-Editorhttps://www.cedesa.pt/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/logo-CEDESA-completo-W-curvas.svgCEDESA-Editor2022-08-17 11:00:002022-08-17 15:05:51Elections in Angola: polls and results predictions
The starting point for this study is the statement of a renowned researcher during the II International Congress of Angolanistics according to whom the “next elections in Angola should be the least transparent and credible.”
It is recalled that Angola had its first elections in 1992, after which there was a resurgence of the civil war that ended in 2002, and it only held elections again in 2008, followed by electoral acts in 2012 and 2017, so far, four electoral processes in Angola.
The next elections are scheduled for August 24, 2022.
In all the elections whose count has reached the end, the MPLA, the party in government since independence in 1975, won with the following results: 1992- 53.74%; 2008- 81.76%; 2012-71.84%; 2017- 61.05%.
Table no. 1- Winner of the elections in Angola (1992-2017)
Interestingly, in every election, even in 1992, which had wide international coverage and had over 400 foreign observers, the main opposition party alleged fraud.
In 1992, these allegations resulted in renewed civil war and undisguised massacre and violence. In fact, the resolution of the dispute only took place with the death of the opposition leader and the end of the war in 2002. In the other elections, there was final acceptance of the results and integration into the constitutional-legal functioning.
In 2008, 90 observers from the European Union were present, and the MPLA’s victory was overwhelming. It was, in fact, the time of the oil boom. Even so, the opposition claimed fraud, and demanded a repetition of the elections due to delays that marked the process, described by the opposition leader as “a disaster”, with numerous delays across the country. In any case, despite these protests, the elections were eventually accepted and the deputies took their seats. This time there was no war and a certain democratization of public life began.
2012 was again the year of elections, and again, there were reports of irregularities, but without the vocality of the past. The opposition took their seats in parliament and played their part.
In the year 2017, the African Union sent observers to the elections, with the aim of guaranteeing democratic elections, but the European Union decided not to send a large team of observers. The opposition contested the results, but ended up accepting them after decisions by the Constitutional Court that validated the elections.
There are patterns that repeat themselves. The first two are obvious, the victory of the MPLA and the permanent contestation of the process by the opposition. There is also the intervention of external observers, for example 400 in 1992.
Despite repeated accusations of fraud on the part of the defeated candidates, what is certain is that, with the exception of 1992, they always ended up accepting the results and taking their seats in the National Assembly.
Comparisons: Transparency and Democracy in 2022
The question that we are going to answer is whether the present elections, scheduled for August 24, 2022, represent a decrease in the electoral conditions of the past, as some researchers claim, or if, on the contrary, even though they are not perfect, they present a clear evolution in terms of transparency and democracy?
To assess the conditions, we will review current legislation, as well as the characteristics of the current public scrutiny compared to the past, as we believe that this is the realistic critical mechanism to assess the transparency of elections.
Regarding the legislation in force, there are some aspects to emphasize, many of which have been the target of misunderstandings or not very literal interpretations. Elections are now regulated by Law No. 30/21 of 30 December, which amended Law No. 36/11 of 21 December — Organic Law on General Elections (OLGE). In the current legislation we have to highlight the following topics that focus on the electoral process:
i) Basic conditions: demonstration, right to broadcast and financing
During the electoral campaign period, freedom of assembly and demonstration for electoral purposes is governed by the provisions of the general law applicable to the exercise of freedom of assembly and demonstration, with the following specificities (article 66 of the OLGE):
a) Processions and parades may take place on any day and time, respecting only the limits imposed by freedom of work, maintenance of calmness and public order, freedom and traffic management, as well as respect for the period of citizens’ rest.
b) The presence of public authority agents at meetings and events organized by any candidate can only be requested by the competent bodies of the applications, with the organizing entity responsible for maintaining order when such a request is not made.
c) The communication to the competent administrative authority of the area about the intention to promote a meeting or demonstration is made at least 24 hours in advance.
What results from the law is a broad possibility of demonstration, with no constraints or noticeable obstacles.
It should be noted, moreover, that in the pre-campaign period there have already been large demonstrations without incident, either by the government party or by the opposition.
The opposition leader has moved freely in the territory from north to south, specifically, from Cabinda to Menongue and carried out large mass acts, without any impediment or confrontation. This fundamental aspect for the electoral process has been ensured.
In relation to the right to broadcast, article 73 of the OLGE provides that candidates for general elections are entitled to use the public broadcasting and television service, during the official period of the electoral campaign, in the following terms: a) Radio: 10 minutes a day between 3 pm and 10 pm; b) Television: 5 minutes a day between 6 pm and 10 pm.
The law guarantees what we might call the minimum amount of political intervention during the electoral campaign period.
The global funding of all political parties carried out by the State is also provided for and is imperative under the terms of article 81 of the OLGE, which provides that the State will allocate an amount to support the electoral campaign of candidates for the general elections, which is distributed equitably, and it can be used to support the List Delegates.
The letter of the law offers sufficient guarantees that certain minimums of equity and competition between parties are upheld for the 2022 elections.
ii) Voting and counting of votes
This is an area where there has been a lot of discussion and perhaps misunderstandings or misinterpretations. Therefore, it is important to underline the essential provisions of the law.
Firstly, polling stations, contrary to what one might think in light of some published analyses, play a central role in the process. From the outset, the List Delegate present at the Polling Station can request clarifications and submit, in writing, complaints regarding the electoral operations of the same Polling Station and instruct them with the appropriate documents, and the Polling Station cannot refuse to receive the complaints, and must initial them and attach them to the minutes, together with the respective resolution, whose knowledge will be given to the claimant. (Article 115 of the OLGE).
This means that there is a direct inspection by each of the parties in each of the Polling Stations. What we might call an atomist oversight. Every atom of the election is being verified.
Afterwards, it is still at the Polling Station that the polls are opened and the votes are counted, also contrary to what has been stated.
In fact, once voting is over, the Chairman of the Board, in the presence of the other members, opens the ballot box, followed by the counting operation in order to verify the correspondence between the number of Voting Ballots in the ballot box and the number of voters who voted at that Polling Station. (Article 120 of the OLGE).
Then, the President of the Polling Station orders the counting of the Ballots, respecting the following rules:
a) The President opens the bulletin, displays it and reads it aloud;
b) The first scrutineer records the votes allocated to each party on a sheet of white paper or, if available, on a large board;
c) The second scrutineer places, separately and in batches, after displaying them, the already read votes corresponding to each of the parties, the blank votes and the null votes;
d) The first and third tellers proceed to the counting of the votes and the Chairman of the Board to divulge the number of votes that fell to each party.
After this operation, which is well detailed in the law, the President of the Polling Station compares the number of votes in the ballot box and the sum of the number of votes for each lot. The List Delegates have the right to verify the lots without being able to complain in case of doubt to the Chairman of the Board who analyzes the complaint. (Article 121 of the OLGE).
Consequently, we have an electoral act that is supervised and the votes are counted locally at each Polling Station with the presence of delegates from each party.
This is what the law defines.
After this local operation, a Minute of the Polling Station is drawn up by the Secretary of the Table and duly signed, in legible handwriting, by the President, Secretary, Tellers and by the List Delegates who have witnessed the voting, being then placed in a sealed envelope that must be duly forwarded, by the quickest route, to the Provincial Electoral Commission. (Article 123 of the OLGE). Subsequently, the National Electoral Commission is responsible for centralizing all the results obtained and for distributing the mandates (article 131 of the OLGE). In summary, the national tabulation is based on the summary minutes and other documents and information received from the Polling Stations (article 132 of the OLGE).
It can thus be seen that the counting of results is carried out at the local level, with no centralization of the opening of the polls or the counting, the centralization is carried out a posteriori, based on the results obtained at the Polling Stations.
Looking at the legal provisions mentioned above, a transparent and properly supervised mechanism can be seen at the local level.
Added to this mechanism is the rule of article 116 of the OLGE which makes it mandatory that the technologies to be used in the scrutiny activities meet the requirements of transparency and security.
The same rule requires the audit of source programs, data transmission and processing systems and control procedures and makes it imperative that before the beginning of each election, the Plenary of the National Electoral Commission carry out an independent, specialized technical audit, for public tender, to test and certify the integrity of source programs, data transmission and processing systems and control procedures to be used in tabulation and scrutiny activities at all levels.
iii) The transparency of the President of the Republic election
The Voting Ballot is printed in color, on smooth and non-transparent paper, in a rectangular shape with the appropriate dimensions so that it can fit all the candidacies admitted to the vote and whose spacing and graphic presentation do not mislead voters in the exact identification and signage of the application one has chosen.
The serial number, the statutory designation of the political party, the name of the candidate for President of the Republic and the respective passport-type photograph, the acronym and the symbols of the political party or coalition of political parties, arranged vertically, are printed on each Ballot, one below the other, in the order of the draw carried out by the National Electoral Commission, after the approval of the candidacies by the Constitutional Court (article 17 of the OLGE).
This means that despite the presidential election method chosen by the Constitution, voters clearly know who they are voting for for President of the Republic. It has the face and name indicated.
iv) Electoral litigation
The assessment of the regularity and validity of elections is ultimately the responsibility of the Constitutional Court (article 6 OLGE). This rule commits the Constitutional Court (CC) all final decisions on elections, not the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
The fact that the CC has the final word and not the NEC is an added jurisdictional guarantee. At the present time, as we will see later, this is relevant because the CC has been the subject of a great deal of public scrutiny, making it more difficult to make decisions that have no legal basis.
It is natural, above all for the supporters of a realistic vision of the law, in which we include ourselves, according to which what is important is not what is written in the law, nor even the meta-legal principles on which it is based, but its application and practical result, one is not satisfied with the mere legal enumeration, even if it appears well constructed and promising, as it seems to us to be the case with the present Organic Law on General Elections.
It is necessary to invoke other real factors that allow a more objective assessment of the electoral phenomenon in Angola, as expected for 2022.
We understand that the key factor is the public scrutiny that the electoral process is having. Public scrutiny understood as a thorough examination and diligent investigation of a phenomenon carried out by society in general, and not just by specific bodies that may or may not be aligned with a given political or ideological option.
Our argument is that the greater the public scrutiny to which an electoral phenomenon is subject, the greater its transparency and democracy and the lower the probabilities of fraud, with a direct relationship between scrutiny and transparency.
Now, the brief excursus that we carried out on the several elections that took place in Angola, and removing the one from 1992, which due to its specificity and historical context has no place in this comparison, and considering that some of our contributors personally followed the 2012 and 2017 elections, allows us to advance with some trends in relation to aspects of scrutiny by members of civil society or non-political structuring bodies of the community. These themes lead us to a qualitative comparison between 2008 and 2017.
First, let’s highlight the Catholic Church. Possibly, as a result of certain accusations of collaboration with the colonial power and some clash with the post-independence Marxist ideology, the Catholic Church, in general, had committed itself in the previous elections to a discreet and little public intervention role, not contributing for a strong debate about the electoral process in the previous elections (2008 to 2017).
This will not happen in 2022, following in the footsteps of its counterpart in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in which the Catholic Church played a decisive role in the 2018/2019 electoral transition between Kabila and Tshisekedi, the Angolan Catholic Church has adopted a manifesto leading role in the preparation of the Angolan elections. Its bishops and priests are active in their pastoral care and in their homilies and have an intense public activity, demanding adequate elections.
It is precisely this Catholic activism, bearing in mind that according to statistics, around 40% of the Angolan population is Catholic, which allows us to conclude that the scrutiny that the Catholic Church is carrying out of the elections will not leave a large part of the population indifferent and obliges by itself to increased transparency in the process. In other words, Catholic scrutiny and its multiple organizations is, in itself, an intrinsic factor of transparency.
A second factor that we notice different in relation to other Angolan elections is the role of social networks. These will cover about a quarter of the voting population, but perhaps more of those who actually vote. By frequenting social networks, one can easily glimpse the intensity with which they talk about the elections and how they discuss their realization and the need for transparency. A candidate for deputy for the opposition party and activist constantly present on the networks like Hitler Samussuku has 52,000 followers on Facebook and his posts often reach more than 1000 likes. This is just a random example, but many others could be mentioned.
Never before have social networks in Angola been so alive and active as in this period, contesting, discussing and affirming positions.
As in the situation of the Catholic Church, we understand that this digital scrutiny has a double function. By itself it is synonymous with transparency and at the same time it increases transparency by placing the discussion on the elections in the public space.
We have here two factors intrinsically conducive to electoral transparency: the activism of the Catholic Church and digital activism.
Finally, it is worth mentioning the issue of international observers. In the difficult year of 1992, according to public information, 400 international observers were present, in 2017, more than 1000 observers will have been present, currently, according to publications that have focused on the subject, 2000 national observers are expected for 2022 and an undisclosed number of international observers. It should be said that in view of the aforementioned activism of the Church and in the digital world, national observers will play a very intense role, contrary to what could happen in the past.
The issue we studied here is not the platonic perfection of the Angolan elections, but the evolution of electoral transparency since 2008 with the forecast for 2022.
What we have found, taking into account two indices, legislation and public scrutiny, is that, at the moment, there is a law strong enough to hold free and fair elections, and that public scrutiny, namely by the Catholic Church and its satellite organizations and also through social networks, has never been as high as it is today.
To that extent, even with imperfections, it is expected that these elections will be more transparent than in the past, because if this does not happen, public opinion will feel better and more deeply than in the past.
 We do not discuss in this work the problem of public service imbalance in the pre-campaign period. It will possibly be the object of another study pointing out solutions and needs for a holistic view of the situation encompassing all sources of news: public, private, foreign and digital.
 See for exemple Rui Verde, Juízes: o novo poder, 2015.
https://www.cedesa.pt/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/28263904.jpg10801920CEDESA-Editorhttps://www.cedesa.pt/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/logo-CEDESA-completo-W-curvas.svgCEDESA-Editor2022-06-29 12:53:002022-06-23 17:59:15Theories of electoral fraud, legislation and public scrutiny in Angola
Recently, rumors have circulated in Luanda and received echo in generally well-informed portals about a possible increased interest of the United States in the Angolan elections, which would lead the Western power to demand that the elections have impartial international observers to guarantee the electoral truth, as well as the threat of possible sanctions against the João Lourenço government if it did not comply with these American recommendations. Specifically, it is announced that the Biden Administration has been threatening the application of financial sanctions, visa restrictions and travel bans against government officials who undermine elections in their countries. From there it is extrapolated that it will be doing the same in relation to Angola.
This apparent position represents a break with the relative passivity with which the United States of America in the past has faced the general elections in Angola, at least since 2008, it is necessary to try to understand if this change in US policy verifiably exists and in what terms.
Firstly, the sources we consulted state that they are not aware of any reversal of US foreign policy towards Angola, noting that the rumors essentially originate from documents sent by Angolan Non-Governmental Organizations to the State Department, which has always happened and will happen and also in the usual inquiries that the American Embassy in Luanda carried out, but which it has always carried out in the past and will carry out in the future. Therefore, nothing new.
Secondly, and this is the object of our study, it is interesting to investigate whether the structural conditions of US foreign policy imply a more accentuated intervention/concern with the elections and the situation in Angola, which could lead to serious misunderstandings between the Biden Administration. and the executive of João Lourenço.
The Biden Administration’s foreign policy, curiously, in its broad lines follows the policy adopted by Donald Trump, breaking only in specific aspects, such as the weather emergency or some multilateralism. Thus, Biden’s foreign policy is based on a commitment to dealing with the relationship with China, a pragmatism in most relations and a lack of interest in Africa.
The withdrawal, as it took place, from Afghanistan is a typical example of this approach, in which Americans do not want to get involved in “nation building” projects or actively promoting values in other countries. They now prefer a strategy that benefits them commercially, guarantees stability and helps control China.
The idealism of the neoconservatives who embraced George Bush Jr., in his attempt to build democracies and the rule of law in Iraq and Afghanistan, is no longer part of the American foreign policy guide. So don’t expect this idealism to come to Africa. There will be no interventions in Africa to promote any kind of American values, not even muscular interventions of any kind.
What exists on the North American side is a desire for the African continent to be as stable as possible and the supply of essential raw materials ensured in the most adequate way possible.
This October, in the prestigious Foreign Affairs magazine, they wrote “President Joe Biden’s administration has been similarly slow out of the blocks on Africa. Aside from its focused diplomatic response to the horrific civil war in Ethiopia and a few hints about other areas of emphasis, such as trade and investment, Biden has not articulated a strategy for the continent.”
Consequently, in terms of the structural lines of American foreign policy, it appears that with the withdrawal from Afghanistan, any wish for “Nation building” or intervention in a third country that does not directly threaten the national interest has been abandoned.
Additionally, the focus was placed on China and its control and more generally on Asia.
The US State Department’s statement from May this year is very clear on the importance of China and the role it plays in the American approach: “Strategic competition is the frame through which the United States views its relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The United States will address its relationship with the PRC from a position of strength in which we work closely with our allies and partners to defend our interests and values. We will advance our economic interests, counter Beijing’s aggressive and coercive actions, sustain key military advantages and vital security partnerships, re-engage robustly in the UN system, and stand up to Beijing when PRC authorities are violating human rights and fundamental freedoms. When it is in our interest, the United States will conduct results-oriented diplomacy with China on shared challenges such as climate change and global public health crises”.
If the structuring lines of American foreign policy are those mentioned above, and Africa does not occupy a relevant place, it is worth pointing out, however, what the United States wants or expects from Africa. Essentially, it can be summed up in a colloquial phrase: The US wants Africa not to bother them and provide some economic profits.
Following this strategy, the US has handed over a good part of the anti-terrorist fight to France and counts on African countries to guarantee local stability, pursuing strong alliances with some of them. Only if US national interests and security are affected by Islamic terrorism will the United States intervene strongly. It should be noted that the US also has its trauma here, which occurred in Somalia, and so well portrayed in the beautiful film Black Hawk Down, masterfully directed by Ridley Scott. There is no US willingness to get inside any imbroglio in Africa. This idea is reinforced by the donwsizing proposals regarding its Africom (United States Command for Africa).
To this extent, the US has a very practical view of the balance of power and needs for Africa. And in reality its history with Angola demonstrates this. In fact, even when in the 1980s they reportedly supported Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA against José Eduardo dos Santos’ MPLA, they were careful that such support did not disrupt the activities of their oil companies operating in territory dominated by the MPLA government. At the time, Cuba sent an additional 2,000 soldiers to protect Chevron’s oil rigs (in Cabinda). In 1986 Savimbi called Chevron’s presence in Angola, already protected by Cuban troops, as a UNITA “target”. So, we had Savimbi backed by the Americans to invective an American company protected by the Cubans. Later, it was rumored that a company linked to the conservative Dick Cheney, future vice president of George Bush Jr., had a role in the location and death of Jonas Savimbi.
This means that the US attitude towards Angola has always been ambivalent, and it will not be now that it will embark on a path of confrontation, when Angola became an important ally for two very realistic reasons.
Firstly, Angola, specially under the leadership of João Lourenço, has played a role of pacification in its area of influence. Remember that Angola helped a peaceful and electoral broadcast in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), tries to establish some peacefulness between the triangle DRC, Uganda and Rwanda, besides having contributed decisively to the recent peace in the Central African Republic (CAR). In fact, in the latter country, President Touadéra highlighted the crucial role played by the Angolan state in achieving peace. Angola is an ally of US peace in Africa and obviously the Americans will not neglect Angola’s diplomatic and military support and collaboration for African tranquility.
It is also a strong bulwark against any penetration of Islamic terrorism.
Secondly, it is clear that Angola is currently pursuing a new foreign policy, intending to “detach itself” from the excessive dependence on China. Now, given its experience with China, which pioneered intervention in Africa and the current attempt to a more Western foreign policy, Angola constitutes an experimental platform par excellence for US policy towards China, where the true implications of this policy will be tested and how far the US effort to counterbalance China will go.
To that extent, an American failure with Angola will be a global failure of its strategic approach to China. Here, as in the Cold War in relation to the Soviet Union, the reality of American action in relation to China will be measured.
Thus, it does not seem that the Biden Administration embarks on any hostility or change in relation to the João Lourenço government, as this does not correspond to American interests in relation to Africa and even in relation to China. All rumors in another sense should be seen as part of the Angolan infighting and not any muscular American positioning.
 Franklyn, J. (1997), Cuba and the United States: a chronological history
 Madsen, W. (2013). National Security Agency surveillance: Reflections and revelations 2001-2013
https://www.cedesa.pt/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/angola-eua.png380750CEDESA-Editorhttps://www.cedesa.pt/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/logo-CEDESA-completo-W-curvas.svgCEDESA-Editor2021-10-27 14:00:002021-10-26 19:00:452022 Angolan elections and the United States
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