By: Prof. & Writer Moisés Kambundi
and Daniel Lara, Master’s Student in International Relations
The power of the party in power, the size of its party machine and its structures remain superior to that of the other parties. This ability needs to be translated into proximity, assertive and effective governance.
The story of David and Goliath could serve as a great example for the political chess we observe today. However, the much-vaunted alternation, not materializing, allows the hegemonic party in Angola to keep both feet firmly on the ground.
Following the biblical narrative of the book of Samuel, Goliath was a strong man with great physical structure. In the historical and biblical confrontation, Goliath was confronted by a humble man of small physical dimensions. David, anointed by Samuel, faced Goliath, who in turn challenged Israel aloud to present a man who would fight him in single combat, the outcome would determine which army would become the other’s servant.
There was no man in the Israelite army capable of facing Goliath. The ensuing confrontation revealed that not always the strongest wins.
Despite the fact that the results of the election on 24 August dictated the victory of the candidate João Lourenço, we will have to make numerous reflections at the political and strategic level.
At the strategic level, it is inevitable that we bring up the issue of support for political decisions, the work of anticipating scenarios and the real assessment of the state of the country.
As a rule, this work is done by auxiliary structures of the state, the information services.
It is important to mention that the intelligence work to be carried out by the competent institutions must be conducted and aligned with a grand strategy that is wanted for the country.
Strategic information is produced not only based on what is happening in the country, but also based on the interest for the political decision-maker, in this case the President of the Republic, of certain political matters, among others. They are strategic insofar as they result from a proactive rather than a reactive State process. This means that strategic information lies within the sphere of your decision maker.
If we bring to the heart of the issue, who competes in the political chess to win, and who is already on the throne, we will obviously have to affirm the need for greater effectiveness in situational decisions. This effectiveness is achieved when, at the strategic level, the national interest is given primacy.
In other words, the measurement of the pulse within society has been carried out in the opposite direction, not seeking to perceive trends, but rather obscuring the very field of vision of the holder of executive power. This work, which has been done in the form of information and not intelligence, still leads us to try to understand which way to go.
As Sun Tzu “if we know the enemy and if we know ourselves, we need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If we know ourselves, but not the enemy, for every victory we will suffer a defeat. If we do not know ourselves or the enemy, we will succumb in every battle”.
Here, the idea that knowledge is the basis of power must be adjacent. This knowledge must be produced and used so that the structures of the State are effective, exercising power for the achievement of national conjunctural objectives.
The reflection of Goliath’s near fall is in the continuous errors of the route, the fantasies and pride of the stilted numbers at rallies, for example.
The parallel reality to which the President of the Republic is often transported deserves a correction.
Interestingly, David sought five stones to bring down the giant Goliath. It is true that in the political context the MPLA celebrates its fifth victory, it is urgent that the troops gather and think of a strategy to put the country on the rails.
Still trying to carry out an analysis of the country, and the electoral context, at the strategic level, we bring an idea that refers to the vital importance of the production of information. Given the colossal size of the ruling party, intelligence work would, under normal circumstances, have a less cunning task in maintaining stability. We believe that this work will be more valued when carried out with less visibility.
A secret service will never be unknown, but its modus operandi must be unknown. Its methods should be reflected in the great production of knowledge, in the forecast of future global and regional economic trends, as well as in everything that is convenient for a better political decision, regardless of the sector.
The analogy of Goliath and David, which we refer, not in a linear way in its outcome, is brought about because we categorically recognize the greatness of the MPLA Party, and how its adversary, UNITA, fought better in relation to other times. , so well that in these elections, it forces us to draw several conclusions, however, Goliath did not fall.
For some time, we were alerting that at the political level, the way in which the two parties, with greater expression, were managing the pre-campaign and electoral campaign process, emphasizing the fact that the two contenders used all possible means for the desired result , ultimately leaving the decision of the electorate. However, the excessive attacks against UNITA, created a wave of solidarity in its favor, and its leader, who instead of being overthrown, was simply capitalizing on it, gaining ground and more sympathy. It wasn’t the attacks, but the type of attack and its predictability, where before Goliath happened, he already premeditated how he would crush David.
For some reason, and even perceptible, we noticed some similarity with bipartisanship, that is, it seemed that the other competitors were not in the game, also the result of a great environment of polarization that is lived in the Angolan political chess. What we undoubtedly saw was MPLA and UNITA, João Lourenço and Adalberto Costa Júnior, Golias and David, who fought fiercely, within the political game, with barbs, insults and provocations, with some desirable speeches and others outside the recommended political model. .
The focus of this comparative parallelism to the story of Goliath and David, referring to what happened in the elections, is that our experience as analysts made us understand that the size of the two groups is not even and does not lead to a certain balance, in fact, what we could see was the MPLA machine against ACJ, not against UNITA, but against the leader. It presupposes that the MPLA used all its strength against a single person, for this reason, we call ACJ the man of 7 lives, he endured any attack, from both sides, even within his own party. This made him the most visible politician in Angola, with all the spotlight on him, with a culprit in that. JL, with everything at his disposal, had only one problem, which at first were suspicious, but after seeing the results of the elections, we came to the conclusion that we were right. More than a boycott and betrayal against themselves, someone did their homework very badly, in the campaign phase the marketing teams began to prepare everything, even fine-tuning the speeches, which we did not see happen.
David didn’t win this fight, but Goliath came out of this process with many lessons to learn, in fact, according to PR JL’s profile, only he can correct this, there are many people against him, and due to the greatness of his party, it is imperative to sanction and reform , because these results, where David took some blows, shaking Goliath, giving a result of 124 deputies against 90, it is either because Goliath was overconfident or David prepared very well.
A big dichotomy is that people are not with UNITA, they are with the leader, ACJ, he built a great image and with a lot of help from the adversary, it is UNITA today clinging to its figure, because of the context and, on the other hand, it is the displeasure against the MPLA, which, despite doing something extraordinary, will not satisfy the population, because of time and the governance model.
That’s why Goliath almost fell, which gives a feeling of winning, but being defeated, not by votes, but by social position. The near fall, for the best philosophers, for those of us who do scientific policy analysis, is the moment when we no longer fall, because the lesson has been passed.