EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Emerging slowly from decades of civil war, Angola
stands at a crossroads between a spectacular recovery or further cycles of
instability and crisis. The government that won the fighting must now move on a
number of fronts – with international support – to win the peace.
Although there are critical longer term political and
economic issues (to be considered in a subsequent report), several immediate
security and humanitarian challenges must be addressed to avoid laying the
foundations for a return to conflict. The late rebel leader Jonas Savimbi’s
ghost, the legacy of a war that killed a million people and uprooted a third of
the population, will haunt the country for years. Millions who are either
internally displaced or refugees in neighbouring countries must be resettled in
their areas of origin. 105,000 fighters of the former rebel organisation UNITA
– each with an average of six civilian dependents – must be reintegrated into
civilian life on an urgent basis. The removal of millions of mines laid over
the past half-century has to be accelerated.
If the government addresses these challenges responsibly and
is helped by the international community, Angola can stabilise. If it ignores
or minimises them, at best banditry and organised
crime will intensify insecurity in the provinces; at worst, resentments will
build, intersect with remnants of potential organised and armed resistance, and
form the nucleus for future instability.
Reintegrating the UNITA rank-and-file back into civilian
life is first priority. There are reports of their increasing disenchantment,
as government promises of support do not materialise and camp conditions remain
poor. The related problems – security, economic, psychosocial, capacity and
political – are enormous. How they are met will be a major determinant of
whether or not, five years down the line, the country has succeeded in building
The scope of population flows in Angola
has few equals. Approximately two million of a total displaced population of
over three million have been, are, or soon will be on the move, most seeking to
go home. These massive movements ensure the continuation of at least a
low-grade humanitarian emergency. Indeed, a year after the death of UNITA leader
Jonas Savimbi and the de facto end of
the war, mortality rates remain at emergency levels. The rainy season,
landmines, and the regional food crisis limit access for aid agencies and mean
the situation could worsen considerably over the several months before the next
harvest. Already, aid officials in five different provinces have reported acute
levels of malnutrition.
Landmine infestation – among the worst encountered in any
post-conflict situation globally – is the biggest challenge to resettlement. Injuries
have increased particularly on the Planalto, the central highlands. This is
happening as the hungry season is at its height and the rains have reached
their peak. Nascent commercial traffic has been inhibited by the incidents,
which, if they do not decrease, and especially if it is determined that new
mines are being laid, will seriously affect aid agency operations. This would both
impact deliveries to current populations – which in a number of provinces are
highly dependent on such deliveries – and prevent assessments for post-harvest
In the context of forthcoming democratisation efforts, the
government needs to recognise that it is in its strategic self-interest to
become more responsive and accountable. A good start would be to redirect some of
its oil money to social services and public investment in order to build wider
support for its policies. State building should be understood as a conflict
prevention strategy, and service delivery as a peace consolidation strategy.
To the government of Angola:
1. Demonstrate that it is assuming responsibility for the
welfare of all Angolans, most urgently by visibly taking the lead in the
process of resettling internally displaced persons (IDPs) and former UNITA
combatants, including by:
(a) building government capacity to deliver social services and
agricultural inputs in the provinces;
(b) investing transparently in infrastructure (roads and bridges)
and public works programs; and
(c) developing a strengthened partnership with donors for
2. Establish the necessary infrastructure for implementing the
reintegration plans for former UNITA combatants as soon as the rains end in April,
and engage UNITA, affected communities, civil society organisations, aid
agencies, and donors actively in this process.
3. Revitalise the provincial-level Reintegration Commissions,
which currently involve government and UNITA representatives, and expand
involvement to include UN agencies, NGOs, local community representatives, and
– where possible – donor government representatives.
4. Develop specific reintegration programs that include real
livelihood alternatives for former UNITA officers.
5. Develop the capacity to do serious humanitarian de-mining.
6. Create a peace dividend by reallocating expenditures in
favour of the social sectors and humanitarian assistance.
7. Commit to humanitarian assistance and development as basic
conflict prevention and stabilisation tools.
To donor governments and UN agencies:
8. Engage the government through both quiet diplomacy and
public pressure on its social welfare responsibilities, particularly regarding reintegration
of former UNITA combatants and internally displaced persons (IDPs).
9. Work closely with the Angolan government, UNITA and civil
society in order to help meet the country's massive requirements for
rehabilitation and reconciliation initiatives.
10. Increase de-mining assistance, including through the
provision of South African-made Chubby mine detection and clearance vehicles
specifically suited for Angola's circumstances.
11. Work closely with the government to address the significant
challenges inherent in the effort to reintegrate its former rank-and-file
fighters and to develop alternative livelihood programs for its former officers.
Luanda/Brussels, 26 February 2003