The country’s leading opposition party walked out of an extraordinary parliamentary session called to discuss a possible impeachment against President Joao Lourenco on October 14, heightening political turmoil in the oil-rich country, Voice of America reports.
Lawmakers met in the capital, Luanda, to decide whether to set up a parliamentary commission to examine a motion to remove Lourenco from office presented by the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), a former rebel group turned political movement that lost a disputed election in 2022.
But UNITA MPs walked out in protest crying “dictatorship, dictatorship!” ahead of the vote, after the ruling party pushed for a public ballot, which the opposition said should be secret instead.
The proposal was then rejected with 123 votes against and one abstention.
UNITA had presented an almost 100-page-long motion to impeach Lourenco earlier after months of preparations.
It accused the 69-year-old of being authoritarian, breaking budget rules and corruption, among other things.
Angola may slow the removal of fuel subsidies to avoid a repeat of protests in June 2023 over a near-doubling in petrol prices in which at least five people were killed, the Finance Minister Vera Esperança dos Santos Daves de Sousa said. No decision was yet made in internal discussions on whether to extend the end-2025 deadline for phasing out the subsidies, Vera Daves de Sousa told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank’s Annual Meetings.
This comes a week after more than 130 protesters were detained by police for taking part in a separatist march calling for the autonomy for Angola’s northern region, according to Ghanaweb.
Police said the protests Saurimo, Lunda Sul province’s capital turned violent leading to the multiple arrests.
The separatists argue that the ‘Lunda-Tchokwe Kingdom’ was never a Portuguese colony, and it’s not, therefore, bound by the Alvor Treaty, which granted the country independence from Portugal in 1975.
The government has in the past dismissed the separatists’ claims and always insisted on the unity of the southern African country.