Civil society members and political party representatives in Angola are criticising President João Loureço’s budget for UN travel.
On September 8, President Lourenço approved, in a presidential decree, the sum of US$4,119,036.75 (2,500,000,000 Angolan Kwanza or UShs 49.7 billion) for operating expenses in preparations for the 76th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which closed Friday.
President João Lourenço took over in September 2017, at the end of José Eduardo dos Santos's 38-year reign, and pledged to fight corruption.
Mihaela Webba, an MP in the main opposition party, Unita, asked what Angola would do with such a budget, describing the $4 million of additional credit for almost one week in the US as “not fair”.
“It is too much abuse of our money,” she said.
Tchizé dos Santos, a former MP of the ruling MPLA party, asked: “Were the State coffers not as empty as the President said he found them when he took over?”
Santos added: “$4 million on a trip and the President travels almost every month [sic]. Whenever he goes by plane he leaves in private jets.”
Mr João Pinto, a ruling MPLA MP, however, said whoever damages his image should be held responsible.
“It is outrageous to damage a poster or the image of the President and leader of the MPLA, that in December organises its ordinary congress. Being a democrat requires respect for others, even if you don't agree with them, so those involved in acts of outrage, injury or damage must be held responsible," he wrote on his Facebook page.
The controversies are arising as Angola plans to hold a general election in 2022, with President Lourenço and his ruling MPLA party seeking retain power.