Poll giving MPLA candidate victory sparks debake in Angola

By Santos Vilola

LUANDA – The Angolan general election set for 23 August has ignited debate in the public press following a joint poll by two specialised companies that are believed to have leaked and presented false information about the poll to the public.

Human rights activist Rafael Marques recenly published on a website, quoting anonymous sources, that an opinion poll by Consortium Marketpoll Consulting, an Angolan company, and Sensus Pesquisa e Consultoria, a Brazilian company, gave a parliamentary majority to the opposition and a victory to presidential candidate of the MPLA, João Lourenço.

According to the activist, the MPLA would emerge in third place, albeit with an elected president.

After the publication of the poll, Consortium Marketpoll Consulting and Sensus Pesquisa e Consultoria publicly denied, the following day, that the survey conducted between 8 and 12 August gives victory to the MPLA presidential candidate with 68 percent of the vote.

Marketpoll Consortium and Sensus Pesquisa e Consultoria considered that all the data contained in the article by the activist was “false and irresponsibly widespread”.

In a statement, the two companies said that “the material is served from an unreliable source, being completely false and liable to judicial accountability under Angolan law and in the international framework of cyber crimes.”

“Marketpoll/Sensus do not recognise and did not apply any questionnaire to the content provided by this site,” the statement said, adding that “attributing to Sensus the paternity of such data demonstrates a clear attempt to disinformation and manipulation of public opinion at national and international level, with the aim of undermining the normal development of the electoral process in Angola. “

The two companies have been working in Angola for years and, according to the statement, comply with technical and academic criteria, national and international, for conducting population surveys and are governed by the Code of Ethics of ESOMAR World Research, an entity that regulates the technical and ethical conduct of research institutes. The companies clarified that the national survey that gives victory to the MPLA and its candidate, João Lourenço with 68 percent of the votes, was conducted on 4 000 interviews in the 18 provinces of the country, based on the data of the Electoral Register of 2017 .

In each commune, the statistical calculation of the quotas by sex, age and schooling was done, based on the Electoral Register of 2017 and the Census of 2014. The margin of error of the survey is 2.5 percent for more and for less .

Sensus is a company established over 30 years ago, with credible Brazilian, Angolan and other international institutions such as the UN/UNDP, the World Bank, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, The London Business School and others of great, medium and small size, registering in its more than 30 years of activity, about 150 searches per year, totaling more than 4,500 searches.

Sensus data are released by the national and international press, such as Globo, Record, São Paulo State, Jornal de Angola, Sábado de Portugal, Washington Post, New York Times, Financial Times, Economist magazine, among others.

Sensus is a member of the ABEP (Brazilian Association of Research Companies), and has been a member of the board of directors for eight years, in accordance with the Code of Ethics of ESOMAR.

In Angola, according to the electoral law, polls are not officially allowed. The general law on elections refers to the regulation of the matter to a special law, but so far has never been approved. The surveys that have been done are commissioned by private bodies.

Rafael Marques is an investigative journalist and political activist from Angola who became internationally known for his reports on the diamond industry and corruption in the Angolan government.

Between 1998 and 2004 he worked for the George Soros’ Open Society Foundation in projects to support education, media, democracy and human rights in Angola, working in collaboration with the country’s Ministry of Education. In January 2005, he left the Open Society.

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