Angolan opposition joins forces to challenge long-ruling party

The ex-rebel movement National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita) joined up with political movement PRA-JA Servir Angola and the Bloco Democratico.

FILE: Adalberto Costa Junior in Luanda on 11 September 2021. Picture: Osvaldo Silva/AFP

LUANDA - Angola's largest opposition party Unita joined forces with two other groups on Tuesday in a coalition aimed at defeating the MPLA, which has ruled the country for almost half a century, in next year's general election.

The ex-rebel movement National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita) joined up with political movement PRA-JA Servir Angola and the Bloco Democratico.

Unita leader Adalberto Costa Junior was named the leader of the coalition known as the United Patriotic Front.

He is expected to be the candidate to square off against President Joao Lourenco, who is expected to seek a second term in polls due in August 2022.

"Angola, our homeland, is crying out for change... to improve our country, which is today stricken by despair, by accelerated impoverishment of the majority of its citizens," said Costa Junior.

"The alternative that we propose... aims to free the country from stagnant party control, from fear, from the successive powers of the oligarchies that stifle development and foment corruption," he added.

The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) has ruled the oil-rich country since independence from Portugal in 1975.

The southern African country of 33 million people is resource rich, but a large part of its population lives in poverty.

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