…Observes State-Owned TV Was Favouring Ruling Party
By: Hertha Ekandjo
Head of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) and Namibia defence minister Frans Kapofi says that SEOM’s is concerned that the National Electoral Commission (CNE) did not publish the voter’s roll on time.
According to him, this should be done at least 30 days before the election date.
Kapofi’s words follow after Angola’s general elections on 24 August 2022.
Kapofi added that another concern was primarily from the political parties, where the composition of the CNE was based on the proportion of parliamentary seats held by each political party.
“The mission has noted that according to Article 16 (2) of the Organic Law on the Organisation and Functioning of the National Electoral Commission, decisions of CNE are made by consensus, failing which, the absolute majority of members present prevail,” he said.
He added that the mission observed that the CNE reported that 14 399 391 voters within and outside Angola were said to be on the voter’s roll.
He revealed that this is an increase of about 50 per cent, based on the registered voters from the previous election cycle of 2017.
Moreover, the mission also noted that 13 212 polling assemblies were established countrywide.
“The mission observed that there is a need for compliance with the law about timely disclosing of the voters roll and the need for the periodical updating of the civil identification database,” Kapofi noted.
The head of SEOM highlighted that they had noted that the constitution of Angola provides for media freedom and freedom of expression, which serves as broad guidance for the conduct of the media.
Kapofi stated that the organic law on the general elections gave rights to all candidates for the General Elections to use public media on an equal basis.
However, he said during interactions with stakeholders found complaints that the state-owned television was favouring the ruling party.
“We have observed that although some political parties have put in place policies for the equal participation (50/50) of women in politics, the stakeholders acknowledged that the participation of women in the electoral process is still minimal compared to the relevant demographics. Out of the eight candidates who their political parties had listed as presidential candidates, only one was a woman,” SEOM mentioned.
Furthermore, the mission added that the organic law on the general elections also provided equal funding for political parties.
“The law further prescribes the time within which the funds should be made available to the political parties, within five days following the constitutional court’s disclosure of the definitive list of approved candidates.”
CONCERNS OVER CAMPAIGN FUNDS
Despite the provisions in the law, he said some stakeholders raised concerns that the funds were released late into the campaign process.
Kapofi also highlighted that the environment at the polling stations was peaceful, and the voting proceeded in an orderly manner.
“The police officers were present at most polling stations and professionally conducted themselves,” he said.
The mission said 88 per cent of the polling stations observed opened on time, while 12 per cent did not open on time for various reasons, including the late arrival of polling officers.
Kapofi emphasised that 88 per cent of the polling stations observed were accessible to persons with disabilities, adding that persons with disabilities, the elderly, pregnant and nursing mothers were given priority.
“Party agents were present at all times at the polling stations that were observed, and party agents verified seals and serial numbers of ballot boxes at polling stations. Most of the polling stations observed were not congested, and there appeared to be a low turnout of voters.”
Meanwhile, Angola’s main opposition party, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), has rejected the provisional results of the national electoral commission, claiming the process was marred by counting irregularities.
UNITA leader Adalberto Costa Júnior said the victory being claimed by the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) is misguided.
At the same time, there has been no reaction from MPLA but
on Friday indicated that there would be a statement by president João Lourenço but it was delayed until the final results were declared.
For now, the only official results are those announced on Thursday night, with 97 per cent of the votes counted, which attributed 51 per cent to the MPLA and 44 per cent to UNITA.