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Cablegate: "The Angolan" Electoral News Bulletin, Vol Vi

VZCZCXRO6830
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHLU #0666/01 2351559
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221559Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY LUANDA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4985
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LUANDA 000666

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

USAID PASS TO MCNAIRN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM AO
SUBJECT: "THE ANGOLAN" ELECTORAL NEWS BULLETIN, VOL VI

REF: LUANDA 0651

1. (U) In This Issue:

- UNITA President Give Police Generally High Marks

- All Hands on Deck: MPLA and UNITA Recall Staff

- Catholic Church Scolds UNITA-Supporting Priest

- Beauty Queen Relinquishes Crown to Support the FpD

- High-Tech System Helps Voters Identify Polling Stations

UNITA President Give Police Generally High Marks
--------------------------------------------- ---

2. (SBU) On Monday, August 18th, UNITA President Isaias
Samakuva met with the Minister of Interior, Roberto Monterio
"Ngongo," to discuss the recent violent incidents in Huambo
and Bie provinces (reftel). Following the closed-door
meeting, Samakuva stated that Ngondo had assured him the
police would take "adequate measures to ensure that the
situation is controlled." Samakuva praised the overall work
of the police during the campaign period, stating that, with
the exception of these recent incidents, overall the police
have been "doing good work" and "acting where it is
necessary."

All Hands on Deck: MPLA and UNITA Recall Staff
--------------------------------------------- --

3. (SBU) Both the ruling MPLA and main opposition party UNITA
have summoned key internationally based staffers to Angola to
bolster their respective campaigns. For the MPLA this means
key Ambassadors and the majority of their overseas press
attaches; for UNITA the recall includes their representatives
in key international capitals, including Washington. In
addition, both parties have beefed up staffing in key
provinces by sending the skilled professionals that generally
gather in Luanda and overseas to help manage grassroots
provincial campaigns.

Catholic Church Scolds UNITA-Supporting Priest
--------------------------------------------- --

4. (U) During its Sunday August 17 slot of free television
airtime, UNITA featured "Father Benedicto,8 a Catholic
priest, who called for all "faithful" to vote for UNITA and
called UNITA a "party with a good social program that will
better the lot of the common person." In response, on August
18 the Catholic Church issued a communique disassociating the
Church from Father Benedicto's statements and stating he will
be subject to further sanctions from the Church. Though the
Catholic Church was quick to disassociate itself from Father
Benedicto's public partisan display, opposition parties have
quietly questioned the neutrality of Angola's various
Christian denominations, as MPLA leaders have appeared at
various churches during the campaign period to call for full
participation in the September 5 race and a vote for the
"right" party.

5. (U) UNITA's decision to use the priest during one of its
spots was controversial in view of electoral law regulations
that can be interpreted as a ban on any kind of direct
participation by any religious institution in election
propaganda. Insiders state that UNITA's decision to use the
priest was in reaction to the MPLA's use of churches to
campaign.

Beauty Queen Relinquishes Crown to Support the FpD
--------------------------------------------- -------

6. An Angolan beauty queen was reportedly forced to
relinquish her crown due to her open support for the Front
for Democracy (FpD). The woman, who at the start of the
campaign was the reigning Ms. Kwanza Sul, was told by
provincial pageant organizers to choose between her crown and
her work as an announcer in FpD's nationally televised spots;
she also received numerous phone calls and messages
threatening her with physical violence. According to one
source who heard the messages, many carried the theme that
"You belong to us (the MPLA), you weren't selected as Ms.
Kwanza Sul to represent another party." The woman has
reportedly relinquished her crown and moved to Luanda to
escape the threats and continue her work with FpD. NOTE: A
key patron for all "Ms" contests in Angola is First Lady Ana
Paula dos Santos, and the organization is seen as staffed by
MPLA party faithful. END NOTE


LUANDA 00000666 002 OF 002


High-Tech System Helps Voters Identify Polling Stations
--------------------------------------------- ----------

7. (U) The Inter-ministerial Commission for the Electoral
Process (CIPE), which was responsible for voter registration,
has launched a high-tech system to help voters identify their
polling station in advance of election day. Using
information from their voter registration card, voters can
call an automated help center, send an SMS, or use the CIPE's
website (www.registoeleitoral.com) to confirm their polling
station. In urban centers, CIPE has also set up kiosks in
airports, markets, churches, fuel stations, banks, local
administrative offices, educational institutions and public
utility offices at which voters can swipe their registration
card. Mission's locally-engaged staff have easily and
successfully used all the high-tech systems to ascertain
where to vote. On election day, people with PDAs (personal
digital assistant) loaded with the entire registration
database will also be deployed throughout densely populated
areas, to help potentially confused voters find their correct
voting location.

8. (SBU) CIPE has spared no expense at finding high-tech
solutions to the confusion caused by a registration process
that often failed to ask voters as they registered where they
intended to vote. The National Electoral Commission (CNE)
forecasts that 85% of potential voters will vote close to
their place of residence, and the others close to their place
of work. While, in theory, voters with voter registration
cards in hand should be able to vote at any polling station,
the CNE and CIPE are working to limit the use of provisional
ballots as much as possible.
MOZENA

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