The constitutional court has just annulled the election of Adalberto Costa Júnior as head of the main Angolan opposition party. Its members denounce a political decision.
It is the emotional lift within Unita, the main Angolan opposition party. Tuesday, October 5, the party, led by Adalberto Costa Júnior since the end of 2019, experienced great joy by launching a “United Patriotic Front”: an alliance of Unita and two other opposition parties for the next general elections from 2022.
This union initiative, attempted several times in the past without success, is presented as the only way to shake up the MPLA of President João Lourenço, the party in power in Angola since the country’s independence in 1975. Hence the whole face. smile of a Costa Júnior calling on Angolans to join his “platform of hope”.
Except that, on the same October 5, the Angolan constitutional court met and made a decision, officially made public two days later, in the form of a cold shower for Unita: it canceled, due to procedural irregularities , the congress at the end of 2019 having brought Adalberto Costa Júnior at the head of Unita.
According to the fifty-page decision, several rules provided for by the law on political parties and the rules of the party itself were not respected.
Main problem, Adalberto Costa Júnior, who renounced his Portuguese nationality to stand – the candidate must have only one nationality -, did not do so within the time limit. Other gray areas are highlighted, such as the extension of certain deadlines during the electoral process and the erroneous composition of certain committees.
It is a decision more political than legal and a blow to Angolan democracy
“It is astonishing to see that the documents relating to the congress, which were sent just after its holding to the constitutional court as provided for by law, did not at the time call for any reaction”, indignant Alcides Sakala, deputy and historical member of the party who must meet to decide on the response to be made.
The complaint at the origin of the file was lodged by ten activists of Unita, according to the decision of the court, chaired since August by Laurinda Cardoso, former secretary of state for the administration of the territory and member of the MPLA.
“This is a decision more political than legal and a blow to Angolan democracy”, continues Alcidès Sakala, whose party already denounced, under the presidency of José Eduardo dos Santos, the instrumentalization of the justice for political ends – a charge still rejected by the MPLA.
The case is highly sensitive a few months before the election next year. It comes as Unita is on the rise, driven by growing discontent among the population and the emergence of strong criticism against the ruling party.
The latter, divided by the fight against corruption led by President Lourenço and weakened by a context of economic crisis, must find the means to defend its record and ensure an electoral victory.