ANGOLA: National Debate

ANGOLA: National Debate The government takes the unusual step of consulting the people. The Angolan news agency Angop reported on October 27th that the process of drafting a new constitution had entered the stage of national debate over three drafts for the final text of the Constitution of the Republic. The chairman of the National Assembly Constitutional Commission, Bornito de Sousa , told the press that the drafts for the “A” category (presidential system), “B” (semi‐presidential) and “C” (parliamentary presidential) were available on http://www.comissaoconstitucional.ao , and that documents would be sent out to community groups in the provinces within the following week so that interested parties could make a contribution to discussions. (Angop, Luanda 27/10) AFP commented later that this debate is a rare process in the country, but the outcome may not have much influence over the final document. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has ruled for 30 years, and his party holds an overwhelming majority in parliament. Each draft constitutional version is based on proposals put forward by the three main parties, but they are labelled only by letters to deflect from party allegiance during the consultations. The documents outline citizens’ rights, how the country should be governed, and how elections should take place. The charter backed by Dos Santos’s Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola ( MPLA ) creates a strong presidency chosen through a party list and sets out electoral rules that could allow the head of state to remain in office until 2022. The opposition parties are calling for separate direct election of the president. One also supports greater autonomy for the oil‐rich Cabinda enclave. Another suggests a federal system which gives more power to the prime minister. The MPLA holds an 82% majority in parliament and 35 out of the 45 places on the constitutional commission, sparking fears that their version will automatically be accepted. But MPLA spokesman Kwata Kanawa rejected the criticism, telling reporters: “Despite the majority we have, we will be discussing with our colleagues to find the constitution which is right for the Angolan people”. The public consultation is scheduled to run until December 22nd. The commission will then produce a final draft for parliamentary approval by March 2010. (©AFP 4/11 2009) New Provincial Governors: President Dos Santos on November 18th swore in five provincial governors who had been appointed the previous day, at a ceremony held at the Presidential Palace, in Luanda. João Bernardo de Miranda is the new governor of Bengo province; Mawete João Baptista takes on Cabinda; Paulo Pombolo will govern Uíge, Cândida Celeste da Silva goes to Namibe and Álvaro de Boavida Neto to Bié. (Angop, Luanda 18/11) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social and Cultural Series Wiley

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2009
ISSN
0001-9844
eISSN
1467-825X
DOI
10.1111/j.1467-825X.2009.02643.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The government takes the unusual step of consulting the people. The Angolan news agency Angop reported on October 27th that the process of drafting a new constitution had entered the stage of national debate over three drafts for the final text of the Constitution of the Republic. The chairman of the National Assembly Constitutional Commission, Bornito de Sousa , told the press that the drafts for the “A” category (presidential system), “B” (semi‐presidential) and “C” (parliamentary presidential) were available on http://www.comissaoconstitucional.ao , and that documents would be sent out to community groups in the provinces within the following week so that interested parties could make a contribution to discussions. (Angop, Luanda 27/10) AFP commented later that this debate is a rare process in the country, but the outcome may not have much influence over the final document. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has ruled for 30 years, and his party holds an overwhelming majority in parliament. Each draft constitutional version is based on proposals put forward by the three main parties, but they are labelled only by letters to deflect from party allegiance during the consultations. The documents outline citizens’ rights, how the country should be governed, and how elections should take place. The charter backed by Dos Santos’s Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola ( MPLA ) creates a strong presidency chosen through a party list and sets out electoral rules that could allow the head of state to remain in office until 2022. The opposition parties are calling for separate direct election of the president. One also supports greater autonomy for the oil‐rich Cabinda enclave. Another suggests a federal system which gives more power to the prime minister. The MPLA holds an 82% majority in parliament and 35 out of the 45 places on the constitutional commission, sparking fears that their version will automatically be accepted. But MPLA spokesman Kwata Kanawa rejected the criticism, telling reporters: “Despite the majority we have, we will be discussing with our colleagues to find the constitution which is right for the Angolan people”. The public consultation is scheduled to run until December 22nd. The commission will then produce a final draft for parliamentary approval by March 2010. (©AFP 4/11 2009) New Provincial Governors: President Dos Santos on November 18th swore in five provincial governors who had been appointed the previous day, at a ceremony held at the Presidential Palace, in Luanda. João Bernardo de Miranda is the new governor of Bengo province; Mawete João Baptista takes on Cabinda; Paulo Pombolo will govern Uíge, Cândida Celeste da Silva goes to Namibe and Álvaro de Boavida Neto to Bié. (Angop, Luanda 18/11)

Journal

Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social and Cultural SeriesWiley

Published: Dec 1, 2009

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