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Angolan civil society files lawsuit against President and public press

Angolan President João Lourenço

Members of Angolan civil society filed this Friday a popular action with the Angolan Supreme Court (TS) against the Angolan President and public media, for the “lack of exemption and unequal treatment” of political parties.

The popular action, signed by 57 members of civil society, affected by various civic organizations, was delivered at the Angolan TS headquarters, in Luanda, by a group headed by the Portuguese-Angolan activist, Luaty Beirão.

The measure is against the Angolan President, João Lourenço, the Angolan Media Regulatory Authority (ERCA), the Public Television of Angola (TPA), Rádio Nacional de Angola (RNA), Jornal de Angola and TV Zimbo, a private station owned by the Angolan State.

For the subscribers, the media has an added responsibility for the consolidation of democracy, but the performance of these bodies, especially in this election period, is marked by “lack of exemption and unequal treatment” of competing political forces.

“The petition comes from an urgency, an urgent need to go further than to make statements, we are dedicated, not only to the Mudei movement, but there are several citizens and groups of citizens who are very attentive to the way the press treats the different political actors”, Luaty Beirão told Lusa today, after leaving the Supreme Court.

According to a Portuguese-Angolan activist, unequal treatment is accentuated, especially at this “time of elections, in quotes”, where, he stressed, “the difference is so atrocious, it is so blatant, the distribution of time is completely unequal and violates democratic precepts of a country that is not yet and wants to be”.

“And, therefore, this is a searched action of some symbolism, because we appeal to the organs of justice, which we know are completely asphyxiated by the executive and, therefore, we are aware of being a symbolic act, but necessary”, he noted.

The activist recalls that the initiative has constitutional support: “To try or demand that legality be restored, a little late considering the days left for the elections, in quotes, but it had to be done and we decided to do it together”.

Luaty also said that he does not believe that the popular action brought by the Angolan Supreme Court, but, he noted, that “the small drops end up filling the glass, we do not know which drop will overflow”.

“And we have our mission, as civic actors, is to keep pouring drops into that glass, so it’s one more drop, if it’s going to have practical consequences, the past tells us no, the past tells us there will be no consequences of this “, he said.

“This will be kept in the drawer until a few years from now, if you remember how it was with precautionary measures that we put, years ago, which came out very late and completely out of step with the law, but it has to be done, so it was”, argued.

The “unbalanced” performance of the media, especially the public, in Luaty Beirão’s opinion has already pinched the current electoral process, considering that public opinion daily confirms this “stain” to the process.

“For us, it’s already been pinched, just look at how public opinion is when you ask about the media, no one cares, no one has confidence, so this is completely pinched, this is not an electoral process, this is a theater”, he noted.

The activist reaffirms that the Angolan electoral process, which culminates in the suffrage scheduled for August 24, is a theater: “And unfortunately we continue to follow the African paradigm, sad African paradigm, of people who use all kinds of artifices to pretend to democratic”.

“And even organizing elections to legitimize themselves in power and to continue to do their excess in power as we see in many African countries and, instead of following the good examples, we are unfortunately following the bad ones”, he added.

“Because there is this corrupted will to remain in power at all costs, regardless of people’s will”, concluded Luaty Beirão.

Alexandra Gamito, one of the signatories of the popular action, said that the initiative of Angolan civil society actors aims to “bring the truth and discuss the issue publicly because it is a situation that concerns us all”.

“We all have the right to have diversified, varied information that addresses the various points of view, we cannot be manipulated by a single force and knowing that many people depend exclusively on the public media”, he told Lusa. .

The current posture of the public information organs, he added, “is worrying, we at this stage of elections would like to see and hear all the opinions of the various candidates without excluding anyone”.

Fathers Jacinto Pio Wakussanga and Júlio Candeeiro, doctor Luís Bernardino, journalists José Luís Mendonça and Carlos Rosado de Carvalho, teacher Cesaltina Abreu, writer Jacques dos Santos and actor Orlando Sérgio are part of the list of subscribers to this petition.

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