December 6, 2002

MPLA and UNITA sign memorandum - Nando named as Premier

Angola's ruling MPLA party politburo and main opposition UNITA standing committee Thursday, December 5, in Luanda signed a Memorandum of Understanding that settled down outstanding items of the Lusaka Protocol. The content of the Memorandum was not disclosed to the public but it is believed that a consensus on matters on the meeting agenda has been reached. For over three days, the two parties' delegations discussed issues concerning the country's future constitution and whether the President of the Republic should appoint the provincial governors on proposal from the party with the highest number of votes in the constituency concerned or elected instead. The meeting also examined whether the Government should fall under the Head of State or the Prime Minister and whether or not the post of Head of State was compatible with partisan executive tasks.

A source told ANGOP the parties on Wednesday, December 4, had reached an accord on the number of parliament chambers, the agreement being that there should be one only, working in connection with a "National Council" tasked to represent the interests of the local and traditional authorities that should be heard over issues of local interest. The parties agreed as well that with regard to the compatibility of the President of the Republic with partisan executive tasks, the matter should be left omitted at the level of the Constitution. But principles stressing the need for impartiality and equity between the Head of State and holders of public posts should be put in place. The memorandum of Understanding was signed by MPLA secretary general, Joao Lourenco and Paulo Lukamba Gato for opposition UNITA.

In a separate development, Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos named Fernando Dias dos Santos "Nando" prime minister. Before appointing Nando, the President had first consulted with the Council of the Republic, ruling MPLA and other members of the society from whom he got green light. Born in 1952 in Luanda, Nando in 1974 joined MPLA Guerrilla Forces. In 1986 he was Vice Minister of State Security, and Vice Minister of Interior and Head of the Information Services in 1990. In 1991 he led the Government Delegation to the 3rd and 4th Rounds of Talks for the Bicesse Accord, before being named Assistant Chief of Government Delegation to the Politico-Military Joint Commission a year later. In 1998 he was elected in Congress as Member of MPLA Central Committee and Politburo and, in 1999, named Interior Minister doubling with the post of Commander-General of the National Police to become in 2000 Co-ordinator of the Peace Process Inter-Sectoral Executive Commission, and Co-ordinator of the Fund for Peace and National Reconciliation. In 2002 he was name on July 1 Head of Government Delegation to the Joint Commission. (Angolan Press Acency, Luanda)

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