Africa Monitor

Africa Monitor Intelligence

Angola: Change of Posture by Church Adds to Lourenço's Concerns

The Angolan Catholic Church has been taking increasingly critical positions in relation to the Government and its policies, evolving from that which has always been its own, of relative "complacency" towards the regime.

The authorities are particularly concerned that the Church is now being seen in society as one of the "critical voices" of the current situation in the country, namely with regard to the social effects of the economic crisis and human rights. The mobilizing capacity that it is recognized tends to serve as comfort to the disaffected.

The harshness considered "extreme" of the Government/ police and security reactions to the manifestations of popular discontent, Luanda in particular, are further undermining the external reputation of JOÃO LOURENÇO (JL) - previously already harmed by negative evaluations regarding the result of his reformist and anti-corruption policies.

JL is committed to strengthening his power and influences on the MPLA structures, but he has not been successful. The "weak point" that the MPLA in fact represents for JL is also seen as "a remnant" of the two-headed power model that his predecessor, JOSÉ EDUARDO dos SANTOS, tried to implement after the end of his presidency. The cadres of his strict confidence with which JES filled the party's governing bodies, in general still remain.

The mobilization and modus operandi of police and security forces (also military, more discreetly), set up with the aim of demobilizing or containing protest demonstrations, generally coming from the suburbs and moving especially youth, are described as "much higher" than what happened in the period of the previous PR. READ MORE