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Intergenerational commitment

Frederico Miranda


The celebrated scientist Albert Einstein repeatedly advised his students not to overestimate science and scientific methods in questions of human problems. For Einstein, it was fallacious to assume that only academics and specialists were the only ones who should issue opinions on matters that affect society and its organization, since, on the one hand, analyzes of phenomena depend on the observation of several factors, which in turn cannot and should not be evaluated in isolation. On the other hand, science does not aim to create ends, but the means to achieve ends, and finally, all the knowledge in the world is not found under just one discipline.


Based on this assumption, the present exercise, although it has an inevitable legal impact, which already admits little or almost no control, is a humble proposition that has as its ultimate objective the achievement of the coveted economic, social and cultural development of Angola. It is an open idea that brings as a suggestion an agenda for nation building, based on the concrete socio-economic reality, and taking into maximum consideration the tragic trajectory of struggle and suffering of the Angolan people.

After nearly 500 years of colonial rule, 14 years of liberation struggle, a long and torn civil war lasting 27 years, with two foreign invasions in between, constant external interference and 21 years of peace, Angola is still a country of colossal and complex challenges that will certainly not be overcome with mere political programs, but through a nation project that establishes solid foundations that will make its construction, development and sustainability possible over time.

In developed and developing democracies, the strengths of the parliamentary system are also its weaknesses. The competitive nature of parliamentarism generates cycles of advances and setbacks resulting from the rise and fall of power of political parties. However, this peculiar characteristic of parliamentarism has a greater impact on developing democracies with institutional deficiencies and outdated market economy structures, as the dynamics of political alternation often compromise a given social or economic process in progress. As the electoral cycles in Angola become increasingly competitive, as can be seen from the last three elections, the risks of deviations from governance programs or established national strategies increase, which may lead to setbacks depending on the interests of the political party that will install up in power.

The Constitution of the Republic of Angola (CRA) which has been in force since 2010 establishes the parliamentary model with a presidential bent that does not escape the aforementioned characteristic. Although some voices of the political class and, likewise, different segments of civil society defend a constitutional revision with a view to reducing the powers of the President of the Republic and changing the way of election, it does not seem that this should be the spirit of an eventual revision , bearing in mind that, contrary to what they argue, it is not the powers of the President of the Republic that should be reduced, but rather the legislative and judicial powers that should be effectively expanded, in order to ensure the necessary balance for the construction and development of a viable Angolan nation in time. On the other hand, the weaknesses of the CRA are not limited to the aspects they point out, since the social, economic and political reality seems to demonstrate the failure of the current Constitutional Law in the face of the needs and idiosyncrasies of Angola and its people.

The nation lacks a sui generis constitutional architecture distanced from established legal-constitutional thinking, and designed to measure its concrete reality. The aforementioned architecture, understood as an intergenerational commitment, can constitute a realistic way to eradicate the curse of material, human and spiritual misery from the Angolan soil. In this sense, for the Angolan nation to thrive in space and time, a constitutional architecture is expected that brings the concept of imperative-programmatic norms to its normative structure, so that certain tasks are compulsorily carried out independently of the party's governance program politician in power.

Imperative-programmatic norms within the framework of a constitutional configuration that responds to the challenges of nation building and the needs of its integral development are the cardinal points of intergenerational commitment. The cardinal points are structuring and immutable pillars, which offer consistency and ensure the necessary stability for the realization of nation building. Nation building is understood as a set of actions and tasks aimed at developing the essential social capital for the cohesive functioning of Angolan society. Social capital is the tangible and intangible resources that include, among others, individual responsibility, trust, cooperation, technical-scientific instruction, the public good and private property.

The constitutional consecration of a share of the General State Budget (OGE) for the health, education and infrastructure sectors is the first imperative-programmatic norm (development norm) of the idealized commitment, since a healthy, well-nourished population and educated not only influences investment rates and return on investments, but is fundamental for development and the elimination of poverty, avoiding the passage of it from one generation to another.

A nation's hard infrastructure comprises all the physical assets essential for the functioning of society and the well-being of its citizens. Its non-existence, deficit or precariousness is not only detrimental to economic activity, but also constrains the investment needed to create jobs that help to overcome poverty. Contrary to developed nations whose growth engine is consumption, urbanization is the engine of development and growth in emerging and developing economies, as it stimulates migration from the countryside to cities and increases productivity. Considering that the flow of foreign capital in developing nations tends to be directed towards infrastructure, the attribution of an OGE quota for the development of essential infrastructure throughout the national territory aims, on the one hand, to facilitate the effective attraction of investments, and, on the other, to promote urbanization and industrialization.

Despite its function of social conformation, the strong economic component of the development norm gives the constitution a developmental and pro-business characteristic, taking into account that it guarantees, by law, annual investments in health, education and training, and in the construction of infrastructure that should make the country an attractive destination for foreign investment. The predictability of this standard gives the necessary confidence that any investor considers in his analysis and decision-making process.

Angola is a heterogeneous nation made up of diverse ethnic groups, with a traumatic colonial past ingrained in the genetic memory of the people. The long civil war also left consequences that are difficult to overcome in the absence of concrete social engineering for this purpose. In this context, reconciliation and national unity is the second imperative-programmatic norm (cohesion norm) and a necessary condition for nation building. There can be no integral and sustained development without meeting this task, as it requires the inoculation of values and principles from an early age. The implementation of this norm must be carried out, among others, through the education system and a cultural policy for the purpose, in a way that avoids and mitigates the reproduction of atavistic beliefs, prejudices, ideological-party, inter-ethnic, among others, from one generation to the next and through parents. On the one hand, the education system must focus in depth on history, on the exaltation of national identity, on the unity and indivisibility of the nation, on loyalty to the Constitution of the Republic, on the importance of the family, on tolerance, and, very particularly, on in restoring the self-esteem torn from the Angolan people. On the other hand, a cinematographic policy of national conscience similar to Italian neorealism would complement the challenge of deconstructing mistrust and effectively promoting reconciliation and national unity.

In post-World War II Italy, the famous movement of historical cinematography known as New Realism was born, whose visual production realistically focused on the events that caused the war and the social problems that derived during and after the conflict. Some of the characteristics of New Realism were based on the use of non-professional actors, improvised dialogue and filming in loco, portraying the difficult living conditions of the working class, which was the stratum most affected by the war not only physically, but also emotionally, spiritually. and financially. The analysis of Italian society through a human filmic approach with the production of morally positive and empathetic content was decisive for the pacification of spirits and the reconciliation of the Italian nation.

The cinematographic policy of national awareness and obligatory dissemination in the education system at all levels, and for all those who, in one way or another, lived through the war and its consequences, can serve the same purpose in Angola. It can also be a useful tool for raising awareness about the harmful consequences of corruption, its prevention and combat. In this context, the country has national talents of reference that can be decisive for the task of effective reconciliation of the Angolan nation through neorealist cinematographic production. Likewise, the country also has the vast experience of the Church, whose set of social teachings on the life of peoples can certainly serve as a guide for the solution of countless psycho-emotional challenges that affect the individual, families and communities.

The norm of stability concerns defense and national security and Justice, insofar as these constitute escorts of social, economic and political development. This norm stipulates the special responsibilities of the Defense and Security bodies, with emphasis on the Armed Forces (in line with military doctrine), the Intelligence Community and the Justice bodies in the context of the intergenerational commitment, who are responsible for ensuring compliance and the democratic restoration of the constitutional order in situations that violate the rule of law. On the other hand, considering that the ultimate goal is to build a strong and fully developed nation, military patriotic education must be in sync with the regular education system, so that all Angolans are educated on the importance of national unity, social cohesion and the strong defense of the country's sovereign interests above any other, as demonstrated by the experience of the State of Israel. Only a solid patriotic education will be able to safeguard the interests of the Angolan people and protect the nation from internal and external enemies, and, in this context, an option to achieve this goal would be through the creation of military, paramilitary and international relations academies (boarding schools), where , among others, orphaned and/or physically disabled children could be welcomed in order to be used for the due indoctrination of the nation project, and receive training of all kinds and at all levels. The construction of the Angolan nation that has always been dreamed of and believed in requires the use of all living forces in full use of their mental faculties.

The search for solutions that allow the nation to leave the old condition of a rich country with enormous potential, in addition to requiring the combination of several ideas, also demands flexibility of thought and a deep multidisciplinary approach. It is not about reinventing the wheel, but finding the most realistic, desired and consensual solution so that the Angolan people genuinely have a chance. However, it is precisely here where the issue of established legal thinking emerges.

Constitutions are bodies of law and basic principles that describe the organization and functioning of states and societies. They contain fundamental principles and norms that underlie and guide governance actions. Constitutions are simultaneously legal, political and social instruments. A constitution is not intended to provide norms for all aspects of society, and for this reason, experts typically do not find it beneficial to go into detail, as it is almost impossible to predict future events. However, the Republic of India whose written constitution is considered the longest and most detailed in the world embraces unique characteristics according to its idiosyncrasies.

Within the scope of a constitutional arrangement that fundamentally aims to free the country from the shackles of underdevelopment, the imperative-programmatic norms must be analyzed in the context of the social, economic, political and cultural reality of the country. On the one hand, these are exceptional measures that exist to keep the country on track for development, and, on the other hand, shield certain national objectives from the electoral volatility of citizens, and consequently of political parties and their respective government programs. In other words, it is essential that the imperative-programmatic norms contemplate some details.

It is important to remember that law, like any other science, does not create ends, but rather the means to achieve those ends. The Fundamental Tasks of the State (Art.21 - CRA) are programmatic norms that aim at public authorities to achieve certain ends. However, its generic nature chains the materialization of the very ends it seeks to the governance program of the political force that is in power. It is as a result of this normative inconvenience that important components of the Fundamental Tasks of the State can become hostages of the political will, and, eventually, of the unstable nature of parliamentary systems, as the alternation of political power becomes a reality and frequent. However, the limitations of programmatic norms can be overcome by combining them with prescriptive norms.

In Norma e Acção, the Finnish philosopher, George Von Wright, argues that programmatic norms establish generic principles that must be pursued with a view to certain ends. However, as they do not establish guidelines on how to implement them, their materialization depends on the sole will of their executor. On the other hand, prescriptive norms aim to guide a certain action, insofar as they can be mandatory, prohibitive or permissive, and can be complemented by a sanction if their application and effectiveness are not verified. In turn, Gomes Canotilho, a Portuguese constitutionalist, states in his work entitled Direito Constitucional (2nd Ed), that programmatic norms outline the public purposes to be achieved by the State, and their application is not subject to specific commands or execution. immediate. On the other hand, prescriptive norms are a category of constitutional norm of imposing nature, that is, obligatory. In the constitutionalist's view, prescriptive norms, when accompanied by substantive directives, simultaneously impose and establish constitutionally binding concrete actions and directives (prescriptive norms of substantive directives). In other words, they are a direct and concrete order that guide a certain action or task of the State.

Following Gomes Canotilho's reasoning, it can be inferred that the prescriptive norm of material directive is another definition for the concept of imperative-programmatic norm, since both fundamentally share the same teleological nature. Therefore, the imperative-programmatic norms of the constitutional architecture being defended must contain guidelines, so that the executors are unequivocally aware of the path to follow, and the structured and coordinated action of the State is ensured over time. In practical terms, it means to say, by way of example, regarding the development norm, that the guidelines for the education sector are not limited to budget allocation alone, but should also cover essential components of the curriculum (i.e. financial education) or even a hypothetical program nutrition school, since the objective is to give consistency to the fulfillment of the objectives (i.e. healthy and well-educated population) of the intergenerational commitment. The guidelines are still a way of sealing margins of interpretation beyond their purposes, but which can be complemented with governance programs. Consequently, no General State Budget can be considered or approved by Parliament without safeguarding the items constitutionally enshrined for the health, education and infrastructure sectors, and in their respective areas of intervention as stipulated in the guidelines.

The intergenerational commitment is a long-term pact agreed between all Angolans of different generations, without distinction of race, ethnicity, gender and creed, which aims at building and integral development (human, economic, social and cultural) of the nation . This pact materializes under a constitutional arrangement that enshrines exceptional measures embodied in immutable imperative-programmatic norms during a pre-determined time horizon, understood as necessary for the due structural transformation of the health and education systems, the formation of a solidly educated generation and educated, and the provision of sufficient infrastructure essential for sustainable social and economic development. If, on the one hand, guidelines ensure consistency, on the other hand, the immutability of norms guarantees stability. In other words, consistency and immutability are the stable rails along which the train of progress circulates without the risk of derailment, regardless of the driver driving the locomotive.

The constitutional consecration of the OGE quota for the health, education and infrastructure sectors must be understood as an act of restorative justice that has long been due to the Angolan people, and justified by their endless trajectory of suffering. For this reason, the constitution must have sanctioning mechanisms that penalize all those who compromise the fulfillment of the objectives of the intergenerational commitment. In other words, if it is a national objective to achieve a highly educated and healthy people, it is not extremism to consider any corrupt or deviant act in the education and health sectors as the highest crime of treason to the homeland.

It is understandable that the development norm is susceptible to misunderstandings, given that it suggests the attribution of fixed quotas over a time horizon, which cannot always be supported due to a certain adverse economic context. However, taking into account its indispensability for the construction and development of the nation, the norm itself must safeguard the possibility of productive indebtedness for the realization of its intentions. Despite the existing apprehension in relation to the country's external debt, on the one hand, it is important to be fully aware that Angola will not achieve the development it aspires to without some type of indebtedness. On the other hand, any indebtedness is good or bad depending on the destination given to the credit that created this same indebtedness, or debt. A debt is productive when it generates revenue flows greater than its service, and it is unproductive when the reverse is true. Any indebtedness for investments in the health, education and infrastructure sectors will tend to be offset by the resulting productivity of these sectors. Therefore, the more educated and healthy the Angolan population, the greater its productivity, wealth creation and economic growth. This is a proven and timeless cause-and-effect relationship.

In short, this exercise tries to reflect on a proposal for an eventual nation-building project that Angola lacks. A national project embodied in the Constitution of the Republic that is not limited to the organization of political power or the consecration of fundamental freedoms, but that frees the people from the shackles of ignorance and poverty, through the consecration of imperative-programmatic norms aimed at compliance mandatory and immediate by public authorities. A nation project embodied in the Constitution of the Republic of a developmental nature, which minimizes the gap between promise and performance. A national project embodied in the Constitution of the Republic that does not subdue future generations. This seems to be the kind of agreement that the nation needs, and not a regime pact between the political class as some sectors defend.

It is an axiom that solutions to the most complex problems can only be achieved by combining several ideas that compete to make something work. There is no incongruity between the deepest ideals and the rational application of human effort in solving problems, as the experiences of other peoples prove. However, if the search for the truth in the facts is fundamental for correct choices and decisions, it is clear that the established legal-constitutional thinking is inadequate to respond to new phenomena. For this reason, not overestimating science and scientific methods is as important as not underestimating them.

Prudence advises a serene and profound discussion in favor of a national project whose materialization depends on the destiny of the Angolan people. Postponing or dragging such a discussion beyond 2027 necessarily implies postponing the future, bearing in mind that discussions on the way societies are organized and functioning are not frivolous and brief exercises. The discernment of the political class, civil society and all Angolans of good will at the present time will determine in the near future whether Angola is truly destined to be a great nation, or simply another African nation cursed to the permanent status of a resource-rich nation. natural resources of enormous potential.

Finally, sociologists agree that it takes, on average, between 15-20 years for the formation of a generation, that is, the average time that a generation takes to be born, grow up and have children. If the Angolan people want to achieve something they've never had, they must do something they've never done. If you truly want a fully developed and strong Angolan nation, the good must already be implicit in the good things of the present. A good future is implicit in the quality of health and education systems today, and in the patriotic-moral virtues of its citizens. Angola will become an unstoppable nation if it succeeds, in 20 years, in forming a generation in the spirit of intergenerational commitment. The old maxim says that a country grows well when the elders plant trees knowing that they will never sit under their shadows. The intergenerational commitment is the seed of the tree of progress whose shadow will certainly be the nation's social, economic, cultural and spiritual development. This can still be the legacy of the different generations of the present for posterity.

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