Luanda (Agenzia Fides) - "2022 is the year of elections for the consolidation of our still young and weak democracy", said His Exc. Mgr. José Manuel Imbamba, Archbishop of Saurimo and President of the Bishops' Conference of Angola and São Tomé (CEAST) in a statement on the occasion of the first Plenary Assembly of the Conference chaired by him.
In August 2022, Angolans are called to elect the Head of State and 223 deputies to the National Assembly. President João Lourenço elected in 2017 is eligible for a second five-year term.
The Bishops underline that "a strengthened democracy, by its very nature, undoubtedly contributes to the affirmation of human dignity, to the strengthening of justice, peace and the well-being of citizens". This is why they invite "Catholics to avoid abstention" and "to renew their electoral cards".
For this reason, CEAST hopes for the promotion of "civic education of citizens" so that "education for democracy is cultivated". The bishops also invite political parties to respect each other during the electoral campaign, because the vote will only be truly free if the campaign "is based on mutual respect and if all the recognized parties have the right and the possibility of expressing their ideas".
The bishops' appeal is all the more timely as the first tensions in Angola were felt in the run-up to the vote. On January 10, during a taxi drivers' strike in Luanda, a headquarters of the ruling party MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) and a Ministry of Health bus were set on fire. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 3/2/2022)