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Angola at a pivotal point as tight presidential elections starts

Angola at a pivotal point as tight presidential elections starts

  • President Joo Lourenço of the MPLA party is vying for a second term in power.
  • The party has been in power for 38 years, and its leader José Eduardo dos Santos was chosen personally.
  • Her brother was sentenced to five years in prison for fraud during her father’s time in office.

Voters in the oil-rich African nation of Angola will cast ballots to determine who will rule the nation—the party in power for almost five decades, or an opposition promising a new beginning, particularly for disgruntled millennials.

Joo Lourenço, the president of Angola and leader of the MPLA party, is vying for a second term in power. He became the country’s president in 2017.

On Monday, Lourenço declared the end of his campaign and said he had created “a new Angola.”

At a campaign ceremony over the weekend, he declared, “”There have been exactly five years since the moment we started this mandate that is ending now,” “We worked during this mandate to make Angola a new Angola, an Angola that is better accepted by the Angolans but also by the international community.”

Although Angola is the second-largest oil producer in Africa, many of its underprivileged population do not benefit from the tremendous oil resources of the nation.

Angola, a former Portuguese colony, recovered from a 27-year civil war to become one of the key economic players on the continent.

The MPLA party’s longtime leader José Eduardo dos Santos was in charge of many of the post-war initiatives for economic development and reconstruction in Angola.

Dos Santos, who governed the nation for 38 years and amassed tremendous wealth for himself and his family, was succeeded by Lourenço, who was personally chosen.

During his rule, his daughter Isabel dos Santos rose to prominence and briefly held the title of richest woman in Africa.

Nepotism and cronyism under dos Santos, according to the anti-corruption group Transparency International, “stopped ordinary Angolans from benefiting from the country’s natural resource wealth, especially when oil prices were high.”

When Lourenço became president in 2017, he vowed to eradicate corruption and turned on the dos Santos family, removing Isabel and her brother from high-paying jobs. Jose José Filomeno dos Santos, her brother, was ultimately sentenced to five years in prison for fraud. He had previously served as the $5 billion sovereign wealth fund’s director.

The funeral for the late President dos Santos, who passed away last month while visiting Spain, will take place at the conclusion of the difficult election season.

Despite Lourenço’s pledge to strengthen the economy, the World Bank reports that more than half of the population in the nation’s rural areas is considered to be living in poverty.

With a sizable expat population working in the nation’s oil and gas industry, Luanda, the capital of Angola, is also one of the most expensive cities in the world.

While Madalena Mondole, a street seller in Luanda, told CNN that she does not see the point in voting, Luanda resident Pedro Simao stated,”We are not content or happy with the government actions, we await more from them.”

When asked who she would vote for, Mondole replied, “I have no one to vote for because, even if I vote, no one will help my son in life.”

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