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Friday, 21 April, 2000, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
Unita dissidents reject the war
Manuvakola: Distanced his party from Jonas Savimbi
By the BBC's Andrew Jeffrey

The leader of Angola's Unita rebel movement always been recognised as being Jonas Savimbi. It was he who has led his ruthless guerrillas through three decades of civil war, directly affecting one third of the country's 12m people.

But there is a another face of Unita. Despite sharing the same name, the Unita Renovada ("renewed Unita") party is now a viable political opposition to the ruling MPLA.

After I signed the Lusaka Peace Protocol in 1994 for the party, Savimbi had me and my family arrested as traitors

Visiting a number of European countries, the new party's President, Eugenio N'Golo - generally known as "Manuvakola" - is making an impassioned plea for help for Angola. He has been at pains to stress the chasm dividing the ideals of Unita Renovada from those of Jonas Savimbi.

Speaking at The Royal Institute of International Affairs in London this week, he said that the humanitarian disaster had been wrongly blamed on Unita and that Mr Savimbi's personal power struggle must never be linked to the new party.

"Savimbi has never represented the peace faction of the party," he said.


"After I signed the Lusaka Peace Protocol in 1994 for the party, Savimbi had me and my family arrested as traitors - despite Savimbi supposedly wanting the party to be a signatory."

Jonas Savimbi
Savimbi: Waging a "personal power struggle"
Manuvakola and his family were placed under house arrest for two and a half years, eventually escaping to Huambo, south of the capital, Luanda.

The party re-formed in 1998 and committed itself to the transformation from a guerrilla to a civil democratic party in accordance with the Lusaka Protocol peace agreement, signed in 1994.

A former guerrilla with Jonas Savimbi, Manuvakola is urging the international community to rethink its policy of imposing sanctions on Unita.


They are requesting that the sanctions should be enforced against Mr Savimbi and not the re-formed political party.

"It is he that is buying the arms through illegal diamond trading and it is Unita Renovada that is pursuing a peaceful political future," Manuvakola said.

He recognises that, with no social infrastructure in the country, the war-weary soldiers are unwillingly forced to continue fighting.

"There is no programme to accept them into a new society," Manuvakola says.

"As the soldiers do not have qualifications, a good alternative is the countryside and agriculture - this will give them a new life.

"If this new programme doesn't come up, it will be difficult to stop the fighting - it's all they know."

National elections are planned for next year. It is only then that the real support for the new party will be tested.

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See also:

18 Apr 00 | Africa
Tougher sanctions for Unita?
28 Jan 99 | Angola
Angola's forgotten conflict
16 Jan 00 | Africa
Angola rebels losing power - UN
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