For the first time in 16 years, tomorrow Angolans get their long-awaited chance to vote in a general election. 1992’s vote triggered another phase of the 27-year civil war which only ended with the death of former Unita rebel leader Jonas Savimbi.
But MPLA President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has been appealing for calm:
“I want everyone in Angola to be united, and I want an Angola for all, that is my goal,” he told supporters at a rally on the eve of the vote.
The opposition Unita party still has plenty of support, especially in the capital Luanda where many people still lack basic facilities. Electricity and clean water remain in short supply.
Unita’s leader Isaias Samakuva is banking on a protest vote:
“If a person has been 33 years in power and did nothing, now we have to try the alternative,” he told a separate rally in the south of the country where he was on the campaign trail.
President Santos’s MPLA needs to win at least 147 seats out of 220 in parliament to secure a two-thirds majority.