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As part of the state’s repression of civil society, in 2015, 15 young activists were arrested and detained for taking part in a group that discussed a book on liberation. After six years of struggle aimed at our President, José Eduardo dos Santos - who when we started had been in power for 32 years, and in 2017 marked 38 years in power - he finally did not run for the presidency again. I was born under dos Santos, and finally I have a second president.
The group were held in poor conditions, mistreated and, after an unfair trial, found guilty of rebellion. It’s the same regime and the same party that has been in power for 42 years, so we were not expecting the new president to act against his predecessors.
So we know they are reading our comments and they know we are there not just to be critical, but that we want to give them the benefit of the doubt.
There are things we want to propose and see how they react to them, so we are testing them.
One of that group, activist and rapper Luaty Beirão, speaks to CIVICUS about what changes may be underway in Angola, and how civil society is trying to engage constructively to seek reform under the new president. What dos Santos did towards the end of his term was put his family, especially his children, in very sensitive positions in our economy.
His daughter Isabel dos Santos was chair of the national oil company, Sonangol - oil is our main resource - and his son José Filomeno dos Santos managed the US billion sovereign wealth fund.
We did not expect the new president to move so swiftly, but in under 90 days he’d sacked Isabel dos Santos and got José Filomeno dos Santos under control: he should not last much longer because he’s recently been implicated in the Panama Papers scandal.
We don’t expect the new president to transform the country in two days, but we do want him to show he is willing to listen and put into practice other people’s ideas, to experiment and open up.These waves are strongly modified by the serrated contours of the coastline and are rapidly eroding the beaches and littoral rocky formations of the area.During the wet season, the trade winds are replaced by lighter, 2–4 m/s, S to SW winds that generate seas with significant wave heights of up to 0.6 m.But now they have lost the contract and Semba Comunicações has closed.The new president is also giving some space for judicial and state investigators to track how public money was used.