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Cablegate: Angola: Political Roundup

VZCZCXRO1700
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHLU #0847/01 2280701
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160701Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY LUANDA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4236
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LUANDA 000847

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL AO
SUBJECT: ANGOLA: POLITICAL ROUNDUP


1. (U) SUMMARY
-- Supreme Court Proscribes 19 Political Parties

-- Ministries Improve Documentation of Children

-- Sixty Cuban Doctors Arrive In Luanda

-- Angola Reestablishes Relations With Togo

-- Angola and North Korea Re-affirm Military Cooperation

-- MPLA Parliamentarian Criticizes Angola's "New Elite"


Supreme Court Proscribes 19 Political Parties
---------------------------------------------
2. (U) On June 26, Supreme Court President Cristiano Andre
announced the court's proscription of 19 political
parties, thereby reducing the number of legal political
parties to 107. This move stems from the Supreme Court's
continuing investigation of all registered political parties.
The investigation is looking for registration anomalies such
as registration documents with falsified signatures, parties
with no physical headquarters, and parties with less than the
15,000 members required to obtain legal status. Other
parties are expected to be proscribed in the coming months as
investigations continue.

3. (U) COMMENT: The only outcry about the court's decision
came from the proscribed parties, who now find themselves off
the government teat. Although 126 parties have been on the
books since the multi-party system was introduced in 1991,
only 15 or so show signs of genuine political activity. Most
political parties surface only when the GRA announces its
intent to disburse funds, which the government generally
disburses equally among parties rather than proportionally
based on party size. Fewer parties mean more money in the
trough for those who remain, and this move is not seen as a
precursor to a widespread crackdown on active opposition
parties.

Ministries Improve Documentation of Children
---------------------------------------------
4. (U) On June 25, in efforts to improve service delivery and
mitigate the problem of undocumented citizens, the Justice
and Health Ministries launched the "register at birth"
campaign in all public health clinics. Birth certificates
can now be issued in clinics, freeing parents from having to
travel to the provincial Ministry of Justice for
registration. Certificates can be issued at birth, at the
child's first medical examination before age five, or upon
enrollment in a public school.

Sixty Cuban Doctors Arrive In Luanda
-----------------------------------------
5. (U) Under a contract between the Governments of Cuba and
Angola, sixty Cuban doctors arrived recently in Luanda to
work in medical facilities throughout the province. The
sixty doctors have been sent to the municipalities of Kilamba
Kiaxi (17), Samba (2), Rangel (2), Sambizanga (2), Maianga
(3), Viana (11), Ingombota (7), Cazenga (12) and Cacuaco (4).
Additional doctors are expected to arrive in the coming
months.

6. (SBU) Comments: This contract is only a small step towards
plugging the holes in Angola's health care sector. Though
Cubans medical professionals have a long history of work in
Angola - many have Angolan-born children that are essentially
stateless - this is the first time the GRA has publicly
announced the arrival of Cuban doctors since the withdrawal
of Cuban troops during the civil war. Publicity about the
Cuban doctors may be intended to show government efforts to
improve medical care before the next rainy season starts.

Angola Reestablishes Relations With Togo
----------------------------------------
7. (U) On June 26, Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe began
the first official visit by a Togolese leader to Angola.
Togo and Angola's relations have been chilly since Angola's
independence, when it was confirmed that then President
Gnassingbe Eyadema supported UNITA and not the MPLA-led
government. Fence mending began in 2005, when Gnassingbe
turned military hardware stored in Togo by UNITA over to the
GRA.

8. (SBU) COMMENTS: Political observers believe President
Gnassingbe's visit will be used to push Togo's request for
compensation for the military hardware turnover and expelling
UNITA from Togo. Reports state that the GRA pledged in
return to assist Togo with its energy crisis, potentially
through the sale of crude oil at discount prices.


LUANDA 00000847 002 OF 002


Angola and North Korea Re-affirm Military Cooperation
--------------------------------------------- ---------
9. (U) After an early June trip to China to find companies
interested in funding Angolan defense projects, Angolan
Minister of Defense Kundy Paihama spent four days in North
Korea to reinforce military cooperation between the two
countries and to lay the framework for an official bilateral
accord. Paihama called military cooperation between the two
countries "excellent" and noted long historical ties,
specifically North Korea's help with Angola's struggle for
independence.

MPLA Parliamentarian Criticizes "New Elite"
-------------------------------------------
10. (U) MPLA Parliamentarian Joao Melo strongly criticized
those he classified as "new money" in Angola. In a Radio
Ecclesia public debate, Joao Melo questioned the source of
this new-found wealth and said that, like most newly rich in
Africa, they are "exhibitionists and consumers" who spend
rather than produce wealth. He praised Asia as an example of
wealth production, stating that the higher investment levels
there create more employment and wealth. Joao Melo called
for investigations into allegations of corruption in the
nouveau riche. (NOTE: It is widely believed that Angola's
"new elite" are mainly MPLA members closely associated to
President Dos Santos. END NOTE.)
FERNANDEZ

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