This week’s election in Angola was a key test for the political parties that led five southern African nations to independence through armed struggle and are still in power to this day.
Enquanto or ruling MPLA apparently won the 2022 elections with just 51.07% of valid votes, the party that has ruled the country since independence in 1975 suffered the worst election result ever, until ‘now.
Elections / Democracy
Apparently, thanks to the monitoring actions of the opposition and civil society, there are doubts regarding the results of the current elections in Angola and there seems to be a solid basis for contesting the official results. But the appropriate institutional channels to do so are rare or non-existent.
Angola is in fact a party/state: the public administration is made up of elements of the MPLA and there are no institutions that enjoy real autonomy, let alone the independence necessary for the opposition can challenge the result.
This situation is repeated in the other four southern African countries which, like Angola, obtained their independence through armed struggle and which remain in power to this day. Therefore, what is happening now in Angola may be a sign of what is to come.
Next year Zimbabwe will go to the polls and in 2024 citizens of South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique will also vote. The erosion of ruling parties is notorious and with the fading of past glories the votes must be tight.
The African National Congress, the movement that Nelson Mandela brought to power, could lose its grip on politics in South Africa for the first time since the end of apartheid.
The parties are increasingly under pressure. Party leaders are kotas (old), while voters are young and more concerned with jobs and the cost of living than their parents’ struggles for freedom.
All the founders of the new independent nations, Mandela, Samora Machel, Robert Mugabe, Agostinho Neto and Sam Nujoma, are dead or retired and their successors rule parties and nations with an iron fist, under the light of pseudo- democracies and fail to grow the economies of countries.
Fundamentally, prosperity has rarely accompanied the euphoria of liberation, and where it has it has been fleeting.
The least sophisticated economies in the world
Angola’s focus on oil exports is holding back economic growth. Despite oil wealth, half of Angolans live on less than $2 a day.
Elsewhere, Zimbabwe’s economy has collapsed, Mozambique is the world’s third poorest country and South Africa has been rocked by a decade of corruption scandals and remains deeply unequal. Namibia, meanwhile, is recovering from a period in which its economy shrank in nine out of ten consecutive quarters.
It is the economic reality that only proves the wear and tear of the parties in power and, the young people, want work and bread on the table, do not care about the glories of the past, only care about the present and the future. ‘a future that, for the moment, is uncertain.
The frustration and despair of young people is a crucial factor in political life. Even if it does not manifest itself forcefully at the ballot box, it will increasingly express itself in terms of rejection of the parties in power, especially if this power is obtained with uncertain and disputed results.
Gustavo Plácido, an independent political risk analyst based in Lisbon, said:
“The emerging generation is different from the one who lived through the wars […] they will force change”.
The reality is this, there is no turning back. It may not be this week, it may not be next, but political change for these countries emerging from revolution is coming.
What do you think of this situation? Do you agree that the parties in power are worn out or do you have another opinion? We want to know what you think, feel free to comment and if you liked the article, share and give a “like/like”.
Angolan peacemaker José Eduardo dos Santos dies aged 79 in Barcelona
Picture: © 2022 Júlio Pacheco