Ver Angola


Civil society scrutiny center promises real-time transparency and results

In a “asphyxiated” Angola, the Movimento Civico Mudei wants to make a difference, counting on the mobilization of citizens across the country for a transparent vote count and whose results will be able to be monitored in real time.

: Paulo Novais/Lusa
Paulo Novais/Lusa  

In an interview with Lusa, Luaty Beirão, one of the coordinators of Mudei, says that the movement was born due to the lack of transparency in the electoral process that its members consider to exist.

"Nobody trusts this process, this is palpable, people are tense, they are unnerved", says the musician and activist, one of 17 who were arrested and tried in 2015 while discussing a book on peaceful methods of protest.

The mistrust ranges from the electoral rolls with "it is not known how many dead" to the "tropelias" made in recent months and which, for Luaty Beirão, also known as Ikonoklasta, reveal that there is no desire to promote an open, participatory and transparent process.

"What they want is for us to queue up to take a picture and say that democracy is working, but they have no intention of providing us with the elements that could reassure us", he justified.

In the parallel polling center, set up in Luanda, it will be possible to upload the summary minutes from polling stations across the country on an electronic platform, making the results visible to the public.

By law, the summary minutes must be posted in each assembly as soon as the votes are counted, and the movement expects to receive, through its WhatsApp and Facebook numbers, thousands of photographs sent by people, whether they belong to Mudei or not.

The data can be viewed as they are loaded, unlike what has happened with official results.

"The CNE [National Electoral Commission] is the body responsible for publishing the results, but I don't think they created a mechanism for transparency like that, I don't think it's going to happen. Unfortunately, for democracy it has to be a group of citizens to organize themselves, in the best possible way, to make the results public as soon as the polling stations are closed", laments the activist.

In 2017, the movement carried out a parallel count, counting more than 400 thousand votes and now has a more advanced platform where it is possible to view all the assemblies in the country, know how many tables and how many voters they have, as well as their geographic location need.

Luaty Beirão emphasizes that the count is reliable, even more than that of the parties "that are interested parties in the elections", while "civil society is interested in transparency".

Whoever enters the site will have access not only to the numbers, but also to the photos of the documents, and it is expected that a member of Mudei will be registered in each province to upload the minutes.

The Mudei official also criticized the CNE, the entity responsible for carrying out all accreditations, for not having accredited the movement, despite the request having been made well in advance.

The justification was that Mudei already exceeded the quota of 2000 approved observers, although it is not known exactly who they are or to which organizations they belong.

The responses (to the accreditation requests) were received late and all were negative: "We don't know why they fail us, what the criteria are", said Luaty Beirão, considering the number of observers "ridiculous", whose list was not publicly disclosed.

"This power that the CNE has, has been used to the limit to condition the permission of access to the assembly of some list delegates, namely the opposition. If there are no list delegates at all tables, the integrity of the final results is put concerned", he warned.

Luaty Beirão also defends the supervision of the vote by voters, despite not taking a position on the appeal "Votou/Sentou", launched by the largest opposition party, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), so that people keep in the assemblies after the vote.

The activist also asks those who have already voted to "check, control, stay there and denounce irregular things".

To those who decide on "Voted/Bazou", that they have "at least the curiosity to see if their summary minutes have been posted".

Regarding the potential for friction with the authorities, as the CNE, the ruling party, Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA), and other opposition political forces do not welcome "Votou/Sentou", he considers that such "it just depends on the behavior and the kind of things that are going to happen that day".

"Who led people to this level of mistrust was those who did not promote a transparent process", emphasizes Luaty, proclaiming that "people will use their legitimate and constitutional right to movement and freedom to inform and be informed".

And he adds that anyone who wants to stay close to polling stations is not committing any illegality.

"If there are no obscure maneuvers by those who want to stay in power at all costs, there will be no need for denunciations. But it will be very difficult to stick to the story that everyone, everywhere, is causing disturbances." .

Luaty Beirão describes Angola as "a suffocated state", where democracy exists on paper but not in practice and regrets the lack of separation of powers.

"It is enough to look at television to see how the press is abused to benefit a competitor and there is no action to put an end to it. We have brought an action and we have no answer, we cannot trust justice", he commented.

The Movimento Civico Mudei (MCM) was born from a group formed to support organizations in southern Angola, in the context of combating drought and poverty, in August 2021, and is made up of "citizens, citizens and organizations concerned with the dysfunctions of the Angolan political process and the risks to the integrity of the 2022 electoral process" with the purpose of contributing to the creation of conditions to guarantee universal suffrage.


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