Luanda — Question marks hang over the legitimacy of Angola’s general election as Africa’s second-longest serving leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos has won a five-year term in office following his party’s landslide victory.

The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) – which has ruled Angola since independence from Portugal in 1975 – secured a parliamentary majority of just under 72 percent.

Its former civil war enemy, the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), is second with nearly 19 percent, almost doubling its 2008 tally. Third is the newly-formed Salvation-Electoral Coalition (CASA-CE) which won six percent of the vote, according to provisional results released by the National Electoral Commission (CNE) on Monday, Sep. 4.

But while the MPLA – whose lavish campaign is reported to have cost over 70 million dollars – is celebrating its win, UNITA, CASA-CE and civil society groups are understood to be working on legal challenges to contest the results.

Once the final results are in, there is a 48-hour window available for a party to lodge a legal challenge with the southern African nation’s constitutional court.

Relevant Links

Ruling MPLA Party Wins Elections
AU Considers Angolan General Elections Free and Fair
More of the Same From Dos Santos
Priest Calls for Respect of Election Results
Nation’s Ruling Party Declared Election Winner
In a statement issued on Sep. 3, UNITA said it was running its own parallel counting and was following the provisional results being presented by the CNE.

UNITA accused the CNE of using government security staff to run polling stations, questioned its processes for transmission of data, and complained about how many party delegates and observers had not been able to get accreditation to monitor proceedings.

The party has been critical of the CNE and its preparation for the election for some months, alleging fraudulent manipulation on the part of the MPLA. Complaints have centred around voter lists, the way they were compiled, audited and shared.

UNITA claims thousands of “ghost voters” have been added to the rolls and that the delay in publishing the final list would prevent many people from voting.

“We will not allow a brand of fraud to take place and we will not recognise the legitimacy of any government resulting from elections held outside of the law,” UNITA leader Isaías Samakuva said a week before the vote was due to take place.

On Aug. 31, the day of the elections, many people – exact numbers are unknown – were unable to vote due because they were unable to find their names on the voters’ list. Some were told that they were actually registered to vote several hundred kilometres away in another province. Read more…