Angolan activists to serve 45 days in jail

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

A court in Angola has sentenced seven activists to 45 days in jail for their role in a demonstration in the capital.

The court found the seven guilty of taking part in a rebellion.

The seven were arrested in Luanda’s Cacuaco Municipality on Monday while demonstrating with 30 other people, to push for a credible election in August.

They were first detained at the Kifangondo police station, east of Luanda, before being arraigned in court.

Angola's forthcoming General Election will see long-serving President Jose Eduardo dos Santos retire.

Longest serving

The Angolan leader has been in power since in 1979 and is Africa's second longest serving president after Obiang' Nguema of Equatorial Guinea.

The run up to the poll has been characterised by numerous accusations against the government trying to manipulate the process to determine the outcome.

Main opposition party, the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), has in particular, opposed the transfer of the voter registration role to the Ministry of Territorial Administration.

Unita said only the National Electoral Commission should conduct the exercise.

World report

A coalition of the opposition parties has been mobilising the electorate to raise the alarm over any suspected electoral irregularities.

According to Angolan authorities, some 9,260,403 voters have been listed for the polls.

Human Rights Watch, in its 2016 world report released in January, said the government of President dos Santos continued to violate human rights despite several new pledges to improve its record.

“Security forces continued to crack down on independent media, human rights activists, and other critics through criminal defamation lawsuits, arbitrary arrests, unfair trials, intimidation, harassment, and surveillance”.

The ruling party MPLA has already nominated Defence minister João Lourenço as its flag bearer for the August contest.

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