Civil society activists in Angola are warning that economic stringency is likely to generate social unrest.
Rafael Marques de Morais, the head of the NGO Maka Angola, (Friends of Angola), denounced the brutality with which National Police attacked citizens (above) taking part in a peaceful demonstration on October 15, 2019, held to protest the high level of youth unemployment.
President Lourenço today honored Morais with the Order of Civil Merit, First Class, for his pioneering efforts to combat high-level corruption – much to the chagrin of several ministers, judging by their expressions. In July 2018, an Angolan court acquitted investigative journalist Rafael and editor Mariano Bras on accusations of insulting the state, a ruling that Human Rights Watch described as a ‘huge victory for press freedom.”
Civil society entities have also criticized the huge bureaucratic obstacles to establishing Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
It’s a familiar practice of the Ministry of Justice, said Morais, a recipient of the National Endowment for Democracy’s 2017 Democracy Award, citing the exemplary cases of the Omunga Association and SOS Habitat.
“We have organizations such as SOS Habitat, which has not been certified for over 15 years,” while Omunga was accredited this year, but only after the death of its coordinator José Patrocínio, he lamented.
Morais is a former Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, during which time he worked on a book, Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola, about systematic human rights abuses against workers in Angola’s diamond mines.