Angolan leader pledges jobs for youth

ANGOLAN President Joao Lourenco promised to create jobs for the country’s disenfranchised and largely unemployed youth, as he was sworn in after an election he acknowledged had been bitterly disputed by the opposition.

Angola’s Constitutional Court threw out a complaint filed by the runner-up, opposition party UNITA, in the August 24 election. UNITA, a former rebel group that fought the ruling MPLA for nearly three decades, received many of its votes from youths who feel left out of the country’s oil riches.

Analysts fear their anger could boil over into violence if they answer UNITA’s calls for protests starting on September 24.

Security was tight throughout the capital Luanda on Thursday and UNITA, whose leaders did not attend the inauguration, decried the heavy police presence as an effort to stifle protest.

Just over 51% of the electorate voted for the former Marxist MPLA. The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) meanwhile took about 44%, its best result yet.

“We will work on policies and good practices to incentivise and promote the private sector of the economy to … create more jobs for Angolans, but especially for young people,” Lourenco said, draped in the black and red of the Angolan flag.

He added that the MPLA would “guarantee peace, stability and economic and social development,” but gave no further details.

Lourenco acknowledged the polls had been “the most disputed elections of the history of the young Angola democracy,” but he said they had nonetheless “contributed to the strengthening of our democracy”.

Lourenco, 68, has pledged to press on with reforms in his second term, including privatising poorly run state assets and continuing to clean up corruption after investigating wealthy and powerful members of the Dos Santos family.

But his reforms have so far failed to create a fairer distribution of Angola’s vast oil wealth, which remains mostly in the hands of a few well-connected MPLA officials.

Translate »