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Angolans turn to social media to criticise President Lourenço

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By ARNALDO VIEIRA

Luanda

Angola’s President João Lourenço is facing a barrage of online criticism over his governance, in what could suggest a tougher virtual battle for him ahead of the 2022 elections.

Mr Lourenço, 64, took over from Eduardo dos Santos in 2017 as Angola’s and the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) leader following the August 23 General Election, marking the end of a 38-year reign.

But while MPLA has governed Angola since independence from Portugal in 1975, online criticism could be a new challenge to its leadership.

The campaign, launched by the president’s critics, is accusing Mr Lourenço of falling to fulfill his election promises. 

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The movement known as JLO 2022 vais gostar “JLO (João Lourenço) 2022 you will like” created at the end of July, had by Monday evening amassed 3,276 members on Facebook with the figure looking likely to rise by the end of the week.

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They say the president lacks political will to solve basic problems.  

“The expectations created in August 2017 when he was elected are becoming exhausted every day,” João Samba, one of the participants said referring to hunger and poverty, creation of jobs for the youth and other issues the President is accused of not solving.

Not all followers of the campaign are President João Lourenço critics, however. In fact, some are using the campaign to uphold his governance. 

“In 2022, we will celebrate and win and we will show our strength,” wrote João Puati Massanga.   

The main opposition, Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), has distanced itself from the campaign and rubbished rumours that it sponsored it.

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