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Former UNITA leader defends dialogue between political forces

Luanda, ANGOLA, October 26 - The former leader of the country's main opposition party UNITA, Isaías Samakuva, Monday defended dialogue between the Government and political forces to avoid "situations that could disturb the peace and harmony necessary for community life. ,


Isaías Samakuva, who was received Monday by the President of the Republic, João Lourenço, said, as he left the audience, that the meeting served to address, essentially, the situation that occurred, in Luanda, last Saturday.


On that day, a group of individuals, encouraged by civil society activists and members of the UNITA party, tried to protest against the failure to set a date for local elections and the lack of employment, as well as for better social conditions.


The unauthorised demonstration attempt was foiled by the National Police, at a time when the country is seeing the strengthening of restrictive measures to prevent and combat Covid-19, which bans gatherings of more than five people on public spaces.


Samakuva, who in the 1990s led the UNITA team in peace negotiations with the Angolan government, noted that the action of the protesters resulted in acts of vandalism, obstruction of roads and destruction of public property.


"As Angolans we have to do everything we can to avoid unpleasant situations, necessarily through dialogue," said the politician, who led the largest opposition party in Angola for 16 years.


Following the demonstration attempt, the National Police detained several citizens, including some leaders of the UNITA party.


By the way, the politician believes that there should be a clarification about what happened and advised the release of the detainees "on the basis of dialogue and understanding.


Regarding the position of deputy David Mendes (independent for UNITA) who considered the participation of the second largest political force in the country in Saturday's act a "strategic error", Isaías Samakuva said it was an opinion that he respects.


This is the first time that Isaías Samakuva has been received by the Angolan head of state since he left UNITA leadership in November 2019.


The politician, born on 8 July 1946 in Kunje, Bié province, had already been received by the President of the Republic on three other occasions, in his capacity as party leader.


Isaiah Samakuva was, between 1989 and 1993, UNITA's representative in the United Kingdom and later a delegate in Europe.


After the peace agreement signed in Lisbon, Portugal (1991) and the Lusaka Protocol, Zambia (1994), Samakuva returned to Angola to lead the UNITA delegation in the Joint Commission set up to monitor the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol.


In 2000 he was appointed head of UNITA's external mission and, following the death of Jonas Savimbi, in the battle field, on 22 February 2002, he returned to Angola to discuss the ceasefire under the Lusaka Protocol, Zambia.


UNITA is the second largest force with parliamentary representation in the country. It has 51 deputies, behind the ruling MPLA, which has 150.