The current president of Angola opened the door for change and made Angolan society manifest an unprecedented sense of urgency. The UNITA leader sees an unprecedented chance of coming to power and for that he allies himself with the dos Santos family.
The path to the August 24 general elections in Angola is being marked by a new perception, that UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) can win the electoral act.
This possibility results, in large part, from the nature of the governance of the current President of the Republic. João Lourenço opened the regime and introduced a new anti-corruption narrative that legitimized the protests of Angolan society in other areas.
The pressure cooker that had been hermetically closed during the 38 years of José Eduardo dos Santos’ rule, which left no room for any kind of contestation, opened, and the vapors of a certain social and political liberation began to spread. .
Paradoxically, this openness provided by João Lourenço is his greatest weakness, insofar as certain fringes of society demand urgent measures and demand that the acting head of state and his government find solutions to problems that are decades old and for which remained silent during the consulate of José Eduardo dos Santos.
In other words, the growing democratization of society made it possible to consolidate the idea that there is a viable alternative of governance. In parallel, João Lourenço’s chances of political affirmation were limited by the economic crisis resulting from the covid-19. The problems resulting from an unfavorable external situation are being blamed on João Lourenço.
Under normal circumstances, without a pandemic, Angola would have seen an increase in foreign investment, thereby creating more jobs, a rise in oil revenues, and, perhaps, the much-heralded diversification of the economy began. All this, wrapped in the political crusade to fight corruption that won him recognition.
UNITA leader changes narrative
The realization that politics is built with opportunities and that the path to get there is winding is clearly evident in the narrative of Adalberto da Costa Júnior. UNITA, for countless years, made the dos Santos clan its greatest enemy. Now, its leader, puts that past aside and allies himself with the family of the late president in an attempt to defeat João Lourenço and the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola).
The dos Santos ones, in the oratory of the UNITA president, stopped being squatters of the public treasury and metamorphosed into sacrifices. The question remains whether the dos Santos people are not even financing UNITA, as this is the only way to understand the change in discourse.
“What we are seeing today is merely a problem of revenge. Of persecution, problems of relationships, of people, it is not a problem of fighting corruption”, said Adalberto da Costa Júnior in statements to the Observer on 31 July. .
However, it is necessary to take into account not only Angola’s electoral system (each province elects five deputies), but also the motivations of those who vote. It is very likely that the choices are dictated by more prosaic reasons than those mentioned by those who live in a more urban environment and have access to social networks.
João Lourenço (even unintentionally) democratized Angola and institutionalized change. And this is an absolutely new context for the country and that leads up to the United States, through its embassy in Luanda. say they are proud “to support Angola’s democratic reforms through training available to all political parties”.