Cablegate: Angola: Samakuva Re-Elected for Unita Party

DE RUEHLU #0756 2040713
R 230713Z JUL 07




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary: Incumbent UNITA President Isaias Samakuva
trounced rival Abel Chivukuvuku in the party elections held
on July 19. In an electoral process designed to position
UNITA as the only party prepared to bring transparency and
democracy to Angola, the 1,076 delegates to UNITA's 10th
Party Congress voted by an overwhelming margin to re-elect
incumbent party president Isaias Samakuva for a second four
year term. Though the race was labeled too close to call at
the outset, internal political maneuvering by the incumbent
Samakuva's campaign ensured his victory before the Congress'
opening session. The results notwithstanding, it's too early
to discount the younger and more charismatic Chivukuvuku from
moving into the party leadership at a later date. End

Why Samukuva?
2. (SBU) In an unexpected landslide, Isaias Samakuva was
re-elected to a second term as UNITA party president.
Samakuva defeated rival Abel Chivukuvuku with 73.4 percent of
the votes in elections held on July 19, 2007, during UNITA's
10th Party Congress. The young, urbane and charismatic
Chivukuvuku seemed the stronger candidate when the campaign
started, but in the end didn't resonate with delegates.
Insiders pointed out that many delegates were "old-school
UNITA" members who were older, rural, and often not
well-educated. This group remains resistant to change and
fiercely loyal to Savimbi's memory; Samakuva is seen as
peacefully carrying Savimbi's legacy, whereas Chivukuvuku has
been known to criticize the party founder's actions. The
political machine that Samakuva has built over the last four
years also came into play, as provincial delegates were
selected through local administrators that owe their jobs -
and loyalty - to Samakuva. Though publicly saying the race
was still neck and neck, insiders told Poloff at the
Congress' opening session that Chivukuvuku didn't stand a

3. (SBU) In statements following the election, both
candidates praised the clean campaign and the need to move
forward as a united front as the party prepares for future
legislative elections. Samakuva played to the need to
prepare for legislative elections in his campaign; though
Chivukuvuku is seen by many as a stronger presidential
candidate due to his mass appeal, Samakuva has the
grass-roots connections and organizational skills that the
party needs for the fight to maintain or increase its seats
in Parliament.

Positioning the Party

4. (SBU) Political maneuvering aside, UNITA made a point of
ensuring that both the campaign and electoral process were
free and transparent in a bid to position themselves as the
party to bring democracy to Angola. The Congress and
democratic angle resonated in the country's independent press
outlets. Articles pointed out that UNITA is the only party
to have regular Congresses and elected leaders, and election
was hailed as a role model for the country to follow. State
media outlets also carried news, updates, and highlights from
the Congress, though clips from speeches were generally
followed by an interview from a representative from the
ruling MPLA, extolling the party and the government's work
and progress.

5. (SBU) Comment: Chivukuvuku has every reason to take this
defeat in stride. He is still seen as UNITA's heir apparent,
and as a relatively young leader can bide his time. Party
insiders do not rule out the possibility that given a poor
showing by UNITA in the legislative elections an
extraordinary congress could be called to elect him the
party's presidential candidate. All the same, the
surprisingly large margin of defeat is an indicator that the
Luanda-based Chivukuvuku needs to build a rural base if he
intends to win the party's leadership, rather than inherit it
upon Samakuva's retirement or resignation. End comment.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Washington Riot And The Georgia Results
Hong Kong and Washington DC. On the same morning, the tyrants in power in Beijing and their counterpart in the White House have shown how they refuse to accept the legitimacy of any different points of view, and the prospect of losing power… More>>

WHO: Vaccination No Guarantee Of Virus Eradication

In the final World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 press conference of the year, on Monday, senior officials warned that the virus is 'not necessarily the big one', and that there is a real chance of another, more serious pandemic spreading ... More>>

Covid: Two Billion COVID Vaccine Doses Secured, WHO Says End Of Pandemic Is In Sight

The end of the pandemic is in sight but we must not let our guard down, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, as he welcomed the news that the global vaccine partnership COVAX has lined up almost two billion doses of existing ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>

UN Rights Office: Iran Execution Of Child Offender Breaks International Law

The execution of an Iranian man for a crime allegedly committed when he was 16 years old has been condemned by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and raised concerns over violations of his right to a fair trial. In a statement released on Thursday, ... More>>

UN News: Fighting Displaces Over 500,000 In Northern Mozambique, Reports UN Refuge Agency

Attacks by armed groups in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Zambezia and Niassa provinces have displaced more than 530,000 people, many of whom have been forced to move multiple times, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday. According to ... More>>