Angola inches towards polls

The Angola government has since set aside US$85 million for the registration exercise. Since 2002 when the three-decade long civil war ended in the oil and diamond rich southern African country when rebel leader Jonas Savimbi was killed, the country has been undergoing a multi-pronged reconstruction exercise. The National Electoral Commission of Angola (CNE) announced recently that it had completed most of the groundwork that would pave way for the registration exercise. This is aimed at facilitating the polls slated for some time this year. According to a statement released by the Angolan Embassy in Windhoek, Namibia, the electoral body has been having consultative meetings with other stakeholders. “The Angolan Prime Minister, Mr. Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos, recently announced on the National Assembly, that the government of President Jose Erduado dos Santos approved the amount of US85 million dollars to support the registration of voters expenditures in Angola,” said Ant’nio Pimenta, Press Attach’ at the Angolan Embassy. He said the CNE was currently scrutinizing proposals submitted by the Inter-Ministerial Commission for the Electoral Process (CIPE), a committee that was established recently to tackle technical, logistical and administrative matters for the smooth running of the electoral process. Spoke-person for CNE, Ad’o Lameida, said the proposals by CIPE were satisfactory and that all that remained was to determine the implementation process. The ministry of Territorial Administration has worked out modalities in which both local and international election observers and monitors shall be screened and accredited. The CIPE has lined up programmes regarding civic awareness for the registration and subsequent mode of voting. The civic education programme which is already on course is aimed at mobolising eligible citizens to turn out for registration en masse and also the need for them to participate in the actual voting. Pimenta said the government of Angola was urging Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the Church and other stakeholders to reinforce its efforts in the civic education exercise. According to the country’s laws all citizens aged 18 years and above of the Angolan population estimated at 10.4 million people are eligible to take part in the poll. The country is also making efforts to register Angolans living abroad using its foreign missions. In order to make the system as foolproof as possible, the voters’ cards will bear features comprising a passport size photo, registration number, voter’s full names, date and place of birth, sex, area of registration, signature or finger print and identity card or passport number. These particulars will also appear on the voter’s register, said Pimenta.

April 2006
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