The Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Angola and Sao Tome (CEAST) have expressed concern with the current economic scenario in the country. The fall in the price of crude oil, on the international market, has plunged Africa’s second largest crude producer into dire straits. Notwithstanding its oil and the fact that Angola has vast mineral wealth, the country has the highest under-five mortality rate in the world. This is according to the World Health Organisation.
The Bishops raised the concern during the opening of their second plenary meeting which started on 12 October and will end on 19 October. President of CEAST, Filomeno do Nascimento Vieira Dias, who is the Archbishop of Luanda spoke of the very low purchasing power of many households in Angola.
Another concern of the Angolan Bishops relates to the issue of demolition of homes and forced evictions in the capital city, Luanda. The Bishops say that in the space of a few months, more than two thousand houses have been demolished by the authorities in the Zango area without the slightest respect for human rights.
The media in Luanda has reported of military police helping in the demolition of homes to pave the way for a commercial project in the Walale, Zango II neighbourhood. The Bishops have called for political tolerance in the country; respect of human rights and improvement of security for citizens in the face of growing criminality. There has been a surge in gang-related crime and rape cases in Angola.
In July, this year, Reuters quoted commander of the National Police, Paulo de Almeida, as telling the state-owned Jornal de Angola that he too was worried by the violent nature of crimes. "What has worried us is that lately crimes have become repulsive, violent. We are investigating how these criminals act," said the Police Chief.
(Anastacio Sasembele in Luanda, Additional reporting: Engafrica@vatiradio.va)