Civil society members and political party representatives in Angola have heavily criticized President João Loureço’s budget for his travel to the UN General Assembly. Earlier this month on the 8th, in a presidential decree, Loureço approved over US $4 Million for operating expenses in preparations for the 76th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations that kicked off last week.
Reactions from various law makers among them Mihaela Webba, an MP in the main opposition party, Unita, queried what Angola would likely achieve with such an amount of money if channeled to the right areas, describing the $4 million of additional credit approved by the President for almost one week in the US as being unfair to the citizenry.
“It is too much abuse of our money,” she said.
Tchizé dos Santos, a former MP of the ruling MPLA party would also add his voice to the matter and ask:
“Were the State coffers not as empty as the President said he found them when he took over?”
“$4 million on a trip and the President travels almost every month. Whenever he goes by plane he leaves in private jets.” Santos added.
The matter has sparked debate in the country and prompted some members of the country’s ruling party, MPLA, to come out in defense of the President. Mr João Pinto, a ruling MPLA Member of Parliament, has warned that whoever attempts to injure the image of the President will be held answerable to their actions.
“It is outrageous to damage a poster or the image of the President and leader of the MPLA, that in December organises its ordinary congress. Being a democrat requires respect for others, even if you don’t agree with them, so those involved in acts of outrage, injury or damage must be held responsible…” he wrote on his Facebook page.
The controversies have emerged as Angola nears its next general election in 2022; where the current President and his ruling MPLA party are seeking to retain power. President João Lourenço took over in September 2017, at the end of José Eduardo dos Santos’s 38-year reign, and pledged to fight corruption.