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Cablegate: Angola - November Political Roundup


DE RUEHLU #1236/01 3331705
R 291705Z NOV 06





E. O. 12958: N/A

Refs: (A)Luanda 1209 (B) Luanda 1235
(C)Luanda 1197

---Voter Registration Campaign Update
---Supreme Court Host Conference on Penal System
---Independence Day Inaugurations, Honors and Celebrations
---Ambrosio de Lemos Appointed as New Chief of Police

Voter Registration Campaign Update
2. (U) After nearly two weeks of voter registration, numbers
registered have exceeded government expectations. In Luanda
province more than 62,000 eligible voters have successfully
registered. In Huila Province, more than 15,000 have received their
cards and in Uige Province, more than 12,000, despite the small
number of centers open in each capital city. CIPE Coordinator
Virgilio Fontes Pereira visited Lubango, Huila, on Tuesday, November
28, 2006, where he encouraged Angolan citizens to register. At the
same time, he chastised illegal immigrants for trying to register
following the apprehension of five Congolese citizens who were
stopped during the registration process when they presented
suspicious statements from personal witnesses. More extensive
reporting on Elections/Voter Registration Campaign can be found in
Reftels A (First Day of Registration) and B (Electoral Process
November Update).

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Supreme Court Hosts Conference on Penal System
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3. (U) Supreme Court Judges, all provincial and municipal judges,
public attorneys and prosecutors as well as Ministry of Justice
senior staff met between November 7-10, 2006 to brainstorm on how to
improve Angola's penal system. Minister Manuel Aragao chastised
judges and public prosecutors for holding detainees in custody
beyond the 135 days maximum number which is allowed by law. He
noted that in Luanda over two-thirds of the prison population are
detainees awaiting trial. Minister Aragao urged judges to expedite
cases brought before the courts. The president of the Supreme Court
Cristiano Andre called on judges to take their vocation more
seriously. However, he admitted that the court system was wholly
under staffed at all levels, thereby causing the excessive backlog
of cases. The final communiqu called for the recruitment of judges
and qualified court staffers and the creation of municipal courts in
every municipality of Angola to help expedite justice and uphold the
rule of law. Angola has 164 municipalities, but only 24 have
functioning municipal courts. In September 2006 the Supreme Court
swore-in 34 new municipal judges in an effort to get the municipal
court system working. Currently there are 9574 prison inmates in
Angola of which 4,900 are detainees.

4. (U) The USDOC through its Commercial Law Development Program
(CLDP) has worked with the Ministry of Justice to implement a case
management system to improve judicial case tracking and random
assignment of judges to cases. CLDP has implemented this system and
trained court officials in Luanda, Cabinda, Benguela, and Huila
provinces. In FY06 CLDP will continue the "train the trainer"
training in order to build capacity within the Angolan Ministry of

--------------------------------------------- ----------
Independence Day Inaugurations, Honors and Celebrations
--------------------------------------------- ----------

5. (U) President Dos Santos inaugurated the new fleet of five Boeing
airplanes bought by TAAG Angola Airlines as the key Independence Day
Event (Reftel C). During the ceremony, numerous GRA ministers
reiterated to Ambassador Efird the GRA's interest in maintaining
strong commercial ties with the US, expressing their appreciation
for US-made products and services, and the importance of good
bi-lateral relations. Otherwise, Angola's National Day celebrations
were relatively low-key with the "official GRA ceremony" occurring
in remote Cunene province, and presided over by Labor Minister Pitra
Neto. The theme of all the celebrations was "infrastructure
rebuilding." In all provinces, governors inaugurated social
infrastructures projects, in particular schools, health centers,
bridges and electric generating stations. Dos Santos also
inaugurated the new communal markets system by visiting "Asa
Branca," one of the new community markets in a Luandan suburb built
by the Chinese under the Chinese-Angola bilateral credit line.

6. (U) The President hosted a formal dinner for approximately 200
guests, including the diplomatic corps, but did not give a speech,
as was customary in other years. He bestowed National honors on six
eminent Angolans: Desiderio Costa; Mendes de Carvalho; Adriano
Sebastiao; Afonso Mahunda; Aristides Van Dunem, and Jose Manuel
Lisboa for their contribution to the Nationalist struggle.
Desiderio Costa was a member of the first MPLA leadership council
and is currently the Minister for Petroleum; Mendes de Carvalho is
an outspoken octogenarian Parliamentarian who served a fifteen-year
jail sentence for denouncing colonial oppression in 1959; Aristides
Van Dunem was Angola's first Minister for Finance. The others are
relatively unknown figures.

7. (U) Dos Santos also conveyed Military Honors on Generals Ciel da
Conceicao "Gato;" Daniel Prata "African;" Santana Andre Pitra
"Petroff;" Alexandre Rodrigues "Kito;" Mario Cirilo de Sa "Ita;"
Antonio Jose Maria, and Manuel Helder Vieira Dias "Kopelipa" for
service to the peace conquest. General Kopelipa received four
National Honors in one year, a record in Angola. General Petroff
now serves as Special Adviser to the President for Political Affairs
as well as head of CNIDAH (National Commission for Humanitarian
Demining). With exception of Generals Kopelipa, Petroff and Maria,
who is the head of Military Intelligence, the others are Generals
who served in the first Republic and are now retired.

8. (SBU) Comment: Aside from the purposeful showcasing of the new
TAAG airplanes, attended by nearly all key GRA government figures,
GRA commemoration of Angolan National Day was very low key in
comparison with previous years. The Government chose to make
reconstruction its Independence Day theme, inaugurating social
infrastructure projects, instead of throwing its usual grand
parties. This is a likely consequence of the local media criticism
heaped on the GRA in 2005, which accused the government of spending
huge amounts of money on celebrations rather than concentrating on
reconstructing the devastated country. End Comment.

--------------------------------------------- -----
Ambrosio de Lemos Appointed as New Chief of Police
--------------------------------------------- -----

9. (SBU) President Dos Santos appointed Ambrosio de Lemos Freire dos
Santos to take over from Jose Alfredo "Ekuikui" as Commander General
of the Police on November 6, 2006. General Ambrosio de Lemos most
recently served as Deputy Commander General of the police, and is
expected to continue his predecessor's effort at modernizing the
police force, improving professional standards and encouraging
respect for human rights. Although, highly respected in the police
force and by Human Rights activists, General Santos was an
unexpected choice, since he is due for retirement. A career police
officer, General Ambrosio de Lemos knows every officer and every
aspect of the police force.

10. (U) Biographic Information: General Ambrosio de Lemos (three
stars) was born in Luanda on January 9, 1945. He left high school
in 1962, joined the colonial police militia in 1966 and in 1970
joined the colonial civil service. In 1974 he joined the MPLA and
formed part of the first corps constituted of Angolan police
officers. He was appointed provincial police commander to Luanda and
in 1975 made police commander to Huila, Cunene and Namibe provinces
simultaneously. In 1979, General Ambrosio de Lemos was appointed to
the Commander General's office as head of planning and analysis and
head of operation for the police. 1989 General De Lemos took charge
of the public order division of the police and served in the Joint
Commissions of both the Bicesse and Lusaka Protocols. In 1993 he
was made Chief of Staff to the Commander General of the police and
in 2002 Deputy Commander General.


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