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Society

Rafael Marques: movements that claim independence for the Lundas have no legitimacy

Angolan activist and journalist Rafael Marques argues that movements that claim autonomy in Lunda provinces have no legitimacy and do not bring benefits to local populations.

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Rafael Marques de Morais spoke to Lusa regarding the launch of his book "Magia e Miséria: Revolta em Cafunfo", an investigation into the tragic incidents of 30 January, in which several people died during clashes with the police at a demonstration organized by the Movement of the Portuguese Protectorate of Lunda Tchokwe (MPPLT).

"The leaders of the movement do not have any legitimacy, from a historical point of view, to claim the independence of the Lundas (northern provinces of Angola). There was never a Lunda Tchokwe kingdom, there was a Lunda kingdom that was destroyed by aggression by the Tchokwe" , justified.

The destruction of the capital of the Lunda kingdom comes with colonial penetration, coinciding with the arrival of Henrique Carvalho, the Portuguese envoy to the Lunda court, who celebrates on September 2, 1886 what Rafael Marques describes as "fictitious treaties" that were not signed nor validated by the then king Lunda, Shah Madiamba.

"All these leaders are Tchokwe, not Lunda. They are the descendants of the invaders who now claim the legitimacy of being legitimate heirs of the kingdom they destroyed, it makes absolutely no sense," said the journalist in an interview with Lusa.

For Rafael Marques, "the MPLA government has a great responsibility, which has never been concerned with history and has always tampered with, in a certain way, for its own benefit, the history of Angola".

The independence of the provinces of Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul is claimed by two organizations: the MPPLT, which promoted a demonstration in which more than a dozen people died, led by Zecamutchima (currently imprisoned); and the Sociological Legal Manifesto of the Lunda-Tchokwé People, by Jota Filipe Malakito.

In the book that analyzes the events of January 30 that will be released on Monday in Cafunfo, Rafael Marques uses the historical framework to refute these claims, concluding: "At the end of the 19th century, the Tchokwe invaded the Lunda, ending with the its former kingdom. From then on, what exists are constructions or reconstructions carried out by the colonial power in order to guarantee its domain".

In the work, he also makes reference to the difficulties he encountered when conducting research in the field and which were posed to him by the MPPLT leaders.

It specifically points to the "extraordinary network of informers, intrigues, disinformation and slander" that MPPLT general secretary Fernando Muaco managed to manage in Cafunfo, with the support of opposition politicians and social activists to "prevent at all costs the continuation of the investigation".

The journalist and activist stresses, on the other hand, that "under no circumstances do local communities find relief or hope in MPPLT and that the demonstrations that have been organized by the Movement ignore the population's elementary claims about the lack of jobs, the state of the roads , the issue of the ravines, etc."

On January 30, clashes between police and MPPLT demonstrators left an undetermined number of deaths in Cafunfo, a mining town in Lunda Norte, rich in diamonds but with high levels of poverty.

Rafael Marques estimates that 13 people have died, while official figures point to 6 deaths and members of the local community heard at the time of the incidents accounted for more than 20 victims.

Versions also diverged as to the objectives of the march, between those who guarantee that it was a peaceful demonstration and the report by the Angolan authorities that describes an attempt to invade the local squadron and an attempt against Angola's sovereignty.