Catholic Bishops in Angola Advocate for Municipal Government Structure

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Catholic Bishops in Angola are advocating for the municipal structure of governance, which they say is capable of realizing “local solutions” to the challenges in the Southern African nation.

“It is important that we establish municipalities for local solutions and not wait for central decisions, which slows down our country and throws us into the misery in which we find ourselves,” Bishop Maurício Agostinho Camuto told journalists in Luanda, the capital of Angola.

Bishop Camuto who was highlighting activities of the July 19-21 Social Week of the Bishops’ Conference of Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe (CEAST) added, “It is urgent and necessary to implement the municipal process that can help us to get out of the doldrums in which we find ourselves.”

“When we say that there are localities that do not have sufficient development for the realization of the municipalities, we are putting the cart before the horse and this argument does not work,” the Secretary General of CEAST explained during the Wednesday, July 12 press conference at CEAST Secretariat in Luanda.

The Local Ordinary of Angola’s Caxito Diocese called upon Angolans to put pressure on the country’s legislators to implement the municipal structure of government, under the leadership of President João Lourenço.

“Since the new President came to power, we have been given this hope of the realization of the municipalities and so many years have passed and so far, the situation has not materialized,” the Angolan member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans/Holy Ghost Fathers/CSSp.) said.

He added, “There is this need to implement the participation of all citizens, so that not only a group that thinks it is enlightened to take the country forward; we are seeing where we have arrived because of that.”

Angola is the only Southern African nation that has not introduced a system of elected municipal structure of government. 

In 2018, President Lourenço called for local elections to be held in 2020. However, the polls were postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the country’s National Assembly is yet to approve the necessary legal framework for the establishment of municipalities.

During the July 12 press conference, Bishop Camuto said, “There are questions about alleged fear or risk of the ruling party losing positions, it may be that, but there is also talk of unfinished legislation.”

“We need to put pressure on parliamentarians to conclude the legal framework on the municipalities,” the 59-year-old Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of Caxito Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in August 2020 said.

He went on to highlight the envisaged talking points during the 7th edition of the July 19-21 CEAST Social Week to be held under the theme, “Local Participation, Global Change”.

“There will be an inevitable debate on the urgency of the realization of local authorities, the devastating effect of blind militancy on economic and social development, the systematic closure of public spaces for participation, and a critical look at the Constitution of the Republic of Angola, which it is important to remember still guarantees rights and freedom to the citizens of this country,” Bishop Camuto said.

Source : Aciafrica