U.S. Embassy Team Observes Historic Angolan Elections

Posted by Dan Mozena
September 11, 2008
Ambassador Mozena on Angola's Election Day

About the Author: Dan Mozena serves as U.S. Ambassador to Angola.

For the first time in 16 years and only the second time in Angola's history, on September 5, Angolan citizens had an opportunity to vote and select the political parties to represent them in the National Assembly. The government of Angola and the National Election Commission invited the United States to observe the Angolan legislative elections. I led the U.S. Embassy Election Observation Mission, which deployed 37 persons in 12 teams across five of Angola's eighteen provinces.

Election Day was a long one for us observers. My team departed from the Embassy at 5 a.m., and we didn't return until nearly midnight. My team began by observing the opening of a voting station, to which we arrived well before 6 a.m. During the day, I visited over 20 other voting stations. I finished the day by watching the vote count at a polling station in Cazenga, one of the most populous municipalities in Luanda.

I witnessed millions of Angolans turning out to vote. Lines of voters were often long, but the voters peacefully awaited their moment in history. Most were voting for the first time ever and some for only the second time in their lives -- this time with the hope that their votes would help bring about a better Angola. Nearly a half million Angolans participated directly in the Election Day process as polling station workers, political party poll-watchers, and domestic observers. Many of these workers safeguarded the election materials for two nights to ensure the integrity of the process.

The teams witnessed logistical and other problems in the capital Luanda, but the elections proceeded relatively smoothly in the provinces outside Luanda. The U.S. Embassy observers found the elections peaceful and free from the intimidation and fear that had characterized the elections of 16 years ago. Those elections precipitated renewal of Angola's terrible civil war, which did not end until 2002.

UNITA and most of the other opposition parties have accepted the results of the elections. Now, the focus is on forming the next parliament and, after that, preparing for next year's presidential elections, which I hope will benefit from the lessons learned from these elections.

I hope the Angolan people are proud of their participation in this important step in strengthening Angola's emerging democracy.

Comments

Comments

Jeff
|
Angola
September 11, 2008

Jeff in Angola writes:

This was an important and the significant event in the history of a nation leaving a long period of civil conflict. How encouraging that the United States could play such a positive role.

Syrian P.
|
Syria
September 11, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

Why election in Angola, they must not have oil or resources needed by Multinational Corps, or no cash to buy Israeli arms and security gears. No dictator and standard regime issue is needed. When the Petagon will install a huge Air Base in Central Africa.

John
|
Greece
September 12, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ SNP

The answer is Soon!

Do you want to apply for a job at the "huge Air Base"?

Go ahead...

(Anyway, Eric in NM wrote you the other day that we have all understand that YOU "work hard for the money"?)

However, I really cannot understand what's your problem with the fact that "for the first time in 16 years and only the second time in Angola's history, on September 5, Angolan citizens had an opportunity to vote and select the political parties to represent them in the National Assembly".

When there is a dictatorship or regime somewhere you "anti-American guys" blame the U.S.A.

When they have democratic elections somewhere you "anti-American guys" blame the U.S.A. AGAIN?

J
|
United States
September 12, 2008

J in U.S.A. writes:

The reason for blaming the U.S. (and the E.U. and China) is that this apparent "democratic exercise" is quite obviously a farce, at best. No, it doesn't deserve the most charitable interpretation -- it is quite frankly a charade designed to legitimate the ongoing and continual brutality of a small number of politicians who head the Partido, in cahoots with their Western benefactors, towards the Angolan people. Nothing on here about folks being disappeared in Luanda and Cabinda both, let alone in other parts of the country, as well all know happened. Nothing in here about the busses full of people from Congo Brazzaville brought into Cabinda and paid for their votes. But what can you expect from the U.S., a nation that systemically disenfranchises its own citizens? Anyone with a shred of humanity should be outraged by this. Zedu now has the votes to change the constitution. This will never end.

John
|
Greece
September 17, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ J in U.S.A.

Hi J, are you American?

Although I don't quite understand what are you talking about, I'm curious about your "perspective":

You sign your post like a J (this stands for "Junta of Angola"?, what? -- we write with our names here). You live in the U.S.A. (so, I suppose that you legally live there), and you write:

"But what can you expect from the U.S., a nation that systemically disenfranchises its own citizens?".

You should respect the American hospitality my dear friend... I mean, if you like to be there (nobody forced you to be in the States) you should consider yourself part of this "nation" you describe so ironically.

Anyway --

Can you please explain us the word "disenfranchises", which, however, allows you to post your thoughts in an absolutely "Free" platform?

J
|
United States
September 17, 2008

J in U.S.A. writes:

So, you are insinuating that those who do not agree with present-day American policy do not belong here? That's distorted logic to say the least; it does not permit for the possibility of change. I'm glad that those Americans who fought to end child labor, obtain the 40 hour work week, etc., did not ascribe to the same twisted flag-waving sentiments.

As to your claim that no one forced me to be here, you might want to re-examine your understanding of American history and ask yourself if there are not entire groups of Americans for whom that sentiment does not hold true. Think about it, and stop making assumptions about who I am, where my roots are, and what that means.

I am supposed to silence my criticism because it can (however feebly) be articulated when U.S. policies lead directly to the death, the starvation, the enslavement of millions globally? I am supposed to wave a U.S. flag with pride when I think about the Made-in-the-USA landmines that STILL dominate much of the landscape of rural Angola? I am supposed to be grateful when I see Western and Chinese oil tankers off of the coast of Luanda in exactly the same place that the slave ships used to be, and realize that not that much has changed. Take a step outside of whatever protected little xenophobic sphere you inhabit and look at what is really going on as a result of U.S. policy.

Oh, and on disenfranchisement -- the systemic and unconstitutional violation of Black Americans' civil rights is what I am referencing. It is ongoing. The latest is an attempt to toss folks off of voter registration rolls if their homes were foreclosed. But look at 2000 and 2004 -- elections that the Carter Center itself would not have approved. Do not pretend that these were democratic exercises in any way, shape, or form.

John
|
Greece
September 18, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ J in U.S.A.

One of the most intelligent brains (among many others) in American history (Secretary Rice) is black. So, you understand J that this is not a matter of racial prejudice as you lay things out in your last comment. (a too much complicated lay-out I'd say though).

Modern America has proven plenty of times that if someone is capable he/she can make it even to the highest top, regardless of race, colour, sex, religion etc.

I have A NO PROBLEM AT ALL with who you are, where your roots are and how all these affect your thinking. Because they unfortunately do so (affect you), as long as you are referring to the slavery issue some 250 years ago. What this has to do with today? In today's America everybody is FREE!

Nobody suggested you to silence your criticism or that those who do not agree with present-day American policy do not belong here.

But, please re-read some of your views:

-- U.S. policies lead directly to the death, the starvation, the enslavement of millions globally
-- I am supposed to wave a U.S. flag with pride when I think about the Made-in-the-USA landmines that STILL dominate much of the landscape of rural Angola
-- I am supposed to be grateful when I see Western and Chinese oil tankers off of the coast of Luanda in exactly the same place that the slave ships used to be and realize that not that much has changed.
-- look at what is really going on as a result of U.S. policy.
the systemic and unconstitutional violation of Black Americans' civil rights is what I am referencing.

Etc.?

Do you think that you love and respect America by writing in this style?

I could answer back to all these questions of yours, but then I would have been trapped in the "Zharkov's School of Change".

The initial topic had to do with the fact that "for the first time in 16 years and only the second time in Angola's history, on September 5, Angolan citizens had an opportunity to vote and select the political parties to represent them in the National Assembly". A really historical and important fact I'd say. Would you like to comment on that?

Do you have a problem with the fact that they had their first democratic change in Angola after 16 years, or you prefer keep on changing subject and continue campaigning for the U.S. elections, using very debatable "rosettes"?

J
|
United States
September 18, 2008

J in U.S.A. writes:

Have you ever been to Angola? I mean, actually been there? And I don't mean some fortified diplomatic compound or some lush villa in south Luanda. I mean, the actual Angola.

I'm going to go ahead and say no, because if you had, you would know that this travesty is anything BUT a democratic election. If you look back to my first post, if you actually bothered having any sort of engagement with Angolans (not oil company/partido elites, actual Angolans), you would know that the story of this "election" is a hell of a lot bloodier than this little Western fantasy you see played out in such stories as this.

I'd be happy to talk about Angolan politics and history all day every day; I doubt you would contribute much to that.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 18, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Look folks, we have a lot of experience in the democratic experiment...230 some odd years worth.

Would we be so selfish as not to lend others the benefit of our experience in helping a nation with its own democratic experiment?

This is the heart of U.S. intent.

John
|
Greece
September 20, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ J in U.S.A.

No contribution... no hope? Then, Boa Sorte (Good Luck)!

I wish you the best J.

.

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