Angola's main opposition party, UNITA, accused President Jose Eduardo dos Santos on Friday of giving a small elite access to vast resources while leaving most Angolans in misery, and pledged to fight poverty if it wins an election next month.
Dos Santos, who has been in power for 32 years, is bidding to secure another term for his MPLA party, which won the war against former rebel group UNITA and has dominated the country's politics since. The president heads his party's candidate list and most analysts expect MPLA to retain power.
"A group of political leaders with links to the ruling party has taken ownership of resources that belong to all Angolans. Meanwhile, most Angolans are left at the mercy of hunger and misery," UNITA leader Isaias Samakuva wrote in the introduction to his election manifesto.
UNITA, whose campaign slogan is "United for Change", would make fighting poverty its main focus of government if it were to win the election and pledged to introduce a minimum wage of around $500 per month as part of the effort, Samakuva said.
Opposition parties and global rights groups have long accused Dos Santos' government of mismanaging oil revenues and doing too little to fight widespread poverty and graft.
Dos Santos has faced growing opposition by anti-government youth activists staging street protests and by civil war veterans claiming unpaid subsidies.
Still, most observers say the MPLA is likely to win the poll thanks to its superior funding resources and control of state media.
Government officials reject accusations of greed and graft as ill-intentioned. In a manifesto presented last week, the MPLA said strong economic growth had allowed it to cut poverty levels to around 39 percent of the population in 2009 from 68 percent in 2002.
But the ruling party also said there was still much to be done to combat poverty and promised to introduce a minimum income and subsidies for the elderly.
UNITA'S Samakuva accused the government of creating mass unemployment among the young and of "throwing youths into the abyss of despair and leaving them without a future".
He also criticised the Dos Santos administration for using violence to clamp down on the budding youth movement, which has staged several demonstrations in the last 18 months.
Angola's long civil war began after the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975 and its liberation factions turned on each other. The country became a Cold War battleground that pitted the Russian- and Cuban-backed MPLA against UNITA, supported by apartheid South Africa and the United States.
After emerging victorious, the MPLA then crushed its UNITA rivals in a 2008 election by obtaining 82 percent of the vote. By A Web design Company
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