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President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Angola’s long serving
president is seeking five more years in power in order to
“rebuild” an already booming economy in a country that suffered
nearly three decades of war.
A decade after the ravaging destruction of a 27 year-old
war, Angolans are headed to the polls for a second consecutive time. And dos
Santos believes that he can pull the southern African country from the ashes of
war, despite it now being considered as one of the world’s fastest growing
economies.
Acknowledging the problems facing the country, the
long-serving president said he would invest the nation’s oil wealth into
building roads, schools and clinics and make “everyone to feel part of the
grand project to make Angola a prosperous and democratic country”.

Dos Santos is certain to retain power by virtue of a
parliamentary system of power that saw his party, the People’s Movement for the
Liberation of Angola (MPLA), raking over 80 percent of the 2008 polls, and
widely criticised by the opposition as having been tampered with. UNITA, the
biggest opposition scored only 10 percent in the last elections.
Angola’s traditional media’s failure or inability to
question his rule, as a result of his party’s omnipresence, has stifled
criticism making a series of protests by groups of young activists in recent
months to demand jobs, housing, water and electricity unprecedented. While
Angola boasts of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the majority of
its people still struggle with poverty, with an unemployment rate of about 30
percent.
We know the challenges that Angola faces. We are a
realistic, pragmatic party
The cost of living in Luanda, the capital, is such that the
European Union sent only two technical experts to observe the elections. Luanda
is the second most expensive city in the world after having occupied the top
spot a year ago.
In an attempt to win over an increasingly disenchanted
youth, dos Santos launched a campaign that sought to appease and attract them,
as he described his own poverty-riddled youthful years. The southern African
country has a young population with about half below the age of 18. And despite
tight media regulations, a more internet-savvy youth have got the political
classes vying for their attention.
Sporting a casual look dos Santos told the youthful crowds
in one of his campaign speeches that he and his party “know the challenges
that Angola faces. We are a realistic, pragmatic party”.
But sailing on the winds of the youth’s disenchantment, the
opposition National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) is
adding a few more supporters to its rank and file. UNITA has also courted young
voters with promises of jobs and better living conditions in response to the
president’s call to private businesses to join government in creating jobs.
As voters deliberate their choice on Thursday ahead of
Friday’s polls, the question is not about whether or not Eduardo Dos Santos’
party would win the elections, assuring him of a 38 year-rule, but rather
whether his last term in office would go unperturbed and leave a legacy that
dances to the tune of the masses.

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