Angolan demonstrators remain in detention

Angola. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The seven Angolan activists arrested on Monday during a demonstration for a credible election remained in detention Tuesday.

A police source, taking on phone on condition of anonymity on Tuesday, confirmed their continued confinement at the Kifangondo police station, east of Luanda.

They were arrested in Luanda’s Cacuaco Municipality as they demonstrated with others to press for a free, fair and transparent General Election in August.

The throne

The August poll will be Angola's third since the end of the civil war in 2002.

The landmark election will see long-serving President Jose Eduardo dos Santos retire, having ascended the throne in 1979. The Angolan leader is Africa's second longest serving president after Obiang' Nguema of Equatorial Guinea.

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

DR Congo. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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

Criminal defamation

According to country’s 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”.

“Security forces arbitrarily arrested and used excessive force against critics of the government, in addition to stopping a number of peaceful anti-government protests and other gatherings”, the watchdog added.

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