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Angola: Lourenço tried to break with Dos Santos legacy, will voters buy it?

By Cláudio Silva

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Posted on August 24, 2022 09:41

lourenco and dos santos
João Lourenço, Isabel dos Santos and Jose Eduardo dos Santos. © Jeune Afrique Montage, Fernando Villar/EFE/SIPA; Massimo Sestini/ZUMA/REA; ELMOND JIYANE/AFP

14 million voters go to the polls in Angola today, Wednesday 24 August, in the most competitive elections in Angolan history.

For years, elections in Angola have been seen as a way for MPLA, the ruling party, to legitimise the autocratic, securitised state it has dominated since the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

Until 1992, Angola was a one-party state in the throes of a devastating civil war; the onset of multiparty democracy that year did nothing to shake the MPLA’s grip on the state and its institutions.

With the onset of lasting peace in 2002, the ruling party finally gained an opportunity to govern unopposed. Or so it thought.

For the next two decades, MPLA leaders had an opportunity to rebuild the country and usher in a new era of economic growth, prosperity, and sustainable development. Instead, they entrenched themselves in power and embarked on a journey of unprecedented corruption, self-enrichment and repression.

They handily won the 2008 legislative elections with over 80% of

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