On August 31, the Angolan people will have an historic opportunity to voice their democratic aspirations. For only the second time since the end of Angola’s devastating civil war, the southern African nation’s citizens will go to the polls and choose their leaders by voting. Angola has an opportunity to demonstrate to the world the stability, vibrancy and plurality of its young democracy.
The United States supports the Angolan people’s democratic aspirations and will accompany them through this electoral process. Our government has provided $2 million this year in support for civil society to train domestic observers and conduct voter education, as well as to train journalists in objective electoral coverage. The U.S. Embassy in Luanda will send its diplomats to observe the electoral process in four provinces. Ultimately, however, it will be for the Angolan people to judge the quality of the electoral process.
The election campaign is currently underway. It is encouraging that so many Angolans registered to vote, that the process so far has been broadly peaceful, and that political parties are actively participating in the campaign.
Unfortunately, there have also been reports of peaceful protests being broken up by violence and of protestors and journalists being arrested and detained. Such actions do not reflect the values of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press that are enshrined in the Angolan constitution.
The U.S. hopes that the Angolan people will have a free, fair, transparent and credible election. The Angolan people deserve a peaceful election campaign and an election day in which every Angolan voice will be heard.