A sunset in Luanda, the capital of Angola.
On Friday, for the first time in 16 years, Angolans went to the polls.
The two main parties - the MPLA, or Popular Liberation Movement of Angola and
UNITA, or the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola had caused
chaos in earlier elections when the country spiraled into war after a
disagreement about election results.
On Friday, eight million Angolans, half the country were registered to vote. And
vote they did – with the MPLA “winning” a landslide election with 82 per cent
of the vote. Vote-rigging was widespread, according to election watchdogs, with
bribes being the most popular road of choice. Want a motorcycle? A television?
"Why should I care about Angola?” muttered a friend of mine to me
the other day in Canada.
"Oil. Oil. Diamonds. Oil.”
Angola has the fastest growing economy in the world and is awash in both oil and diamonds. It is also “relatively”
stable, and has been for the past six years. Many of the resources are untapped.
There's a darker side as well - one in 10 Angolans has a disability, most from the war. People in rural areas still suffer from extreme poverty, compared to the
infrastructure that has been built in the cities.
But for now, we watch and see. After watching so many elections on the continent,
the one thing that always sticks in my mind, the one thing I constantly fret
and worry about, is what happens after the “win.” I also wish I was there to witness it.
Will there be violence? Will the country spiral into conflict after an election, yet
Here's hoping for peace.
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