Pohamba, Chissano among Dos Santos guests for Angola polls

By Santos Vilola

Luanda – Former Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba and ex-Mozambique president Joaquim Chissano are among statesmen invited by Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos as guest election observers for the upcoming general elections in the oil rich southern African scheduled for August 23.

Pohamba and Chissano are among high profile leaders invited by Dos Santos from the alliance of former liberation movements in the southern African. The alliance is made of Swapo Party (Namibia), Zanu-PF (Zimbabwe), ANC (South Africa), Frelimo (Mozambia), MPLA (Angola) and CCM (Tanzania). The parties have been invited by the ruling MPLA.

Pohamba, who was Namibian president from 2005-2015, is on the list of dignitaries, including former presidents, that President Dos Santos presented as his guest international elections observers during the elections to the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

Others include Ramos Horta (Timor-Leste), Pedro Pires (Cape Verde), Manuel Pinto da Costa (Sao Tome and Principe), former Ghanaian president John Dramani Mahama and José Maria Neves, the former Prime Minister of Cape Verde.

Dos Santos also invited SADC, the African Union, Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), the European Union and ECOWAS to observe the elections.

The electoral law of Angola make provision for the head of state, parliament, the constitutional court, the National Electoral Commission and the political parties to invite their preferred observers through the electoral commission.

For instance, the National Assembly has invited the SADC Parliamentary Forum, the CPLP Parliamentary Forum, the Pan-African Parliament, the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Forum of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, the Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Secretary-General of the African Parliamentary Union. The National Assembly may invite up to 50 international observers.

Political parties can invite at least 18 international observers. The MPLA and UNITA were the first political parties to submit their lists of foreign observers to the general elections.

The MPLA has invited several political parties such as Frelimo, Swapo, PAICV, PCT – Congo (Brazzaville), Portuguese Communist Party, Portuguese Socialist Party, Brazilian Labour Party, Social Democratic Party of Sweden, Zanu-PF of Zimbabwe, the ANC of South Africa, the CDS PP of Portugal, the PSOE of Spain, the Communist Party of China, the Communist Party of Vietnam and the International Socialist organisation.

UNITA has nominated the Carter Foundation of the United States of America, PRS of Guinea Bissau, Spanish People’s Party, MLC of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Renamo of Mozambique, Moçambique Democratic Movement, Konrad Adenauer Foundation and individually Dr António Vilar Pilares from Portugal.

The election commission set a maximum quota of 3,000 national observers to be evenly distributed among observers. The electoral commission will formalise in the coming days the invitations to the entities and institutions to invite for the observation of the elections of 23 of August.

The deadline for the submission of the lists to the National Electoral Commission was on Monday, with no possibility of extension.

It was not clear whether other contesting parties such as PRS, APN, FNLA and the coalition of CASA-CE parties submitted lists of their guests.

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