In Angola they feel prisoners political accused of any crime. They say that it is a democratic regime that it is in the middle of the joy of their functions. The democratic potencies close the eyes and they point that it is like this that it is good, that it is like this that it is made the stability in Africa. Here is the income of the terrorism of which Europe is not gotten to loosen. Who supports the corruption and their dictatorships, in the bottom it is also terrorist without the knowledge.
quarta-feira, 27 de junho de 2012
Isaias Samakuva’s Fortune and the Call for Transparency
It all began with a photograph, published on facebook, of a house in a
drab London suburb. A well-known pro-government social media activist, who goes
by the name of ManDavid, claimed that it belonged to the UNITA leader, Isaias
Samakuva. The UNITA leader, went the argument, was not poor. Several locations
picked up on 192.com, a website that gives London addresses, were connected to people with
the Samakuva surname. The activist claimed that the UNITA leader had bought all
these London properties with party funds.
The UNITA leader’s response was swift. He claimed that he was not
“farinha do mesmo saco” (“flower from the same bag”) as his opponents in the
ruling party. There have been well-documented allegations of corruption against
several members of the ruling party.
Samakuva claimed that he was going to declare all his possessions before
June 19. True to his word, the UNITA leader published a list his assets, which
add up to slightly under US $400 thousand. Many ordinary people lauded his
gesture and wondered who would follow this initiative.
But not all were impressed by Samakuva’s openness. Some noted that
assets could easily be hidden under close relative names. They called on all of
Samakuva’s close relatives to reveal their worldly possessions. They do,
indeed, have a point. In the eighties and early nineties, Samakuva was UNITA’s
principal London-based treasurer. He would certainly not have many difficulties
in stashing aways millions. In any case, many thought this was a positive move
towards creating a culture of transparency.
In the higher rungs of the Angolan political and financial elite, opaque
practices are almost seen as a virtue. For many high-ranking Angolans, secrecy
seems to be at the heart of most business practices. In some Angolan
establishments – restaurants, hotels, companies – asking who the owners are is
a highly delicate question. A hotel is likely to be empty for most of the
month. Suddenly, it will burst into activities and make much money because its
distant owners will have arranged a conference for which they will charge
exorbitantly high charges. A restaurant will see customers directed to it, and
its inflated bills promptly paid. Some key figure in a government department
connected to the restaurant will have directed the clients.
This lack of openness stifles all competition. Officially, the
previously Marxist-Leninist state operates now in a free market economy, and,
at least in theory, there is a private sector that is supposed to thrive on
competition. In this brave new world, entrepreneurs are supposed to identify
opportunities or needs, and devise ways of satisfying those needs. The private
sector is, therefore, supposed to be filled with efficient, resourceful and
determined individuals who would energize the national economy.
But in reality, there is hardly any division between the private sector
and the government. Several individuals use their government positions to
favour their private sector interests. Government officials will, for instance,
offer contracts worth thousands of dollars to companies they control. In the
process they make colossal tunes.
The Angolan government insists on there being an Angolan share on any
major investment ventures. The idea is that there must be some local
empowerment. The danger is that those benefiting from the local empowerment are
often those who have to decide on the ventures. This conflict of interests
results in further secrecy and lack of transparency. In the end, the government
ends up being nothing more than a structure to promote and sustain businesses of
specific groups and individuals.
The kind of transparency shown by Isaías Samakuva would undermine this
In a culture, for instance, where political leaders are supposed to
regularly declare their assets, eyebrows would certainly be raised if a
minister in charge of the environment was found to be a shareholder of a mining
company that was solely interested in profits. In this situation, the minister
would be mainly interested in his rewards and not in the welfare of the rest of
the society. Politicians are there to serve the interests of the society and
not take advantage of their positions to enrich themselves.
Isaias Samakuva move will certainly bring attention, once again, to the
question of how Angolan politicians are making fortunes. President Dos Santos
has, on several occasions, admitted that corruption had, indeed, become a major
menace in the country. In November 2009, he unveiled a zero-tolerance policy
against corruption. So far, despite overwhelming evidence against people close
to him, no major single person has been brought before the courts for
Furthermore, since June 2010, public officials are legally required to
submit their declaration of assets to the Office of the
Attorney-General.Failure to do so or providing false statements can result in
sanctions, including dismissal and criminal charges. Although this measure
looks good on paper, the fact of the matter is that such declarations are
treated as state secrets, and the public has no idea on whether the public
officials, including the president, have, in fact, filed their papers or not.
Samakuva has shown that leaders should lead by example. It is not just a
matter of making fine speeches whose content is forgotten as soon as they are
put aside. Abel Chivukuvuku, the leader of CASA, a newly founded electoral
coalition, had declared his assets in the past. These included a building worth
millions of dollars. How he got the money to afford such valuable real estate
remains a big question. Suffice it to say that Chivukuvuku’s name was once
featured among prominent figures that had not repaid their loans to a bank that
had gone bankrupt. There are certainly few saints in the Angolan political
elite. However, Samakuva’s gesture has suddenly prompted Angolans to start
asking about who will follow next.