Angola | Freedom House

Freedom in the World

Freedom in the World 2017



Freedom Status: 
Not Free

Freedom in the World Scores

(1=Most Free, 7=Least Free)

Quick Facts

Press Freedom Status: 
Not Free
Net Freedom Status: 
Partly Free

Angola has been ruled by the same party and just two presidents since independence, and authorities have repressed political dissent and maintained restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly. Corruption, political imprisonment, and abuses by security forces all remain common.

Key Developments: 
  • The 17 activists known as the Luanda book club, who were imprisoned in 2015 for discussing a book on civil disobedience, were conditionally released in June. However, their convictions on charges of sedition were not overturned.
  • Police violently suppressed several protests during the year. In August, military police killed a teenage boy during a demonstration against housing demolitions.
  • The national assembly passed several new laws restricting freedom of the press and free expression online, though dos Santos had yet to sign them at year’s end.
  • Rebels associated with separatists in the exclave of Cabinda increased attacks against government forces, with deaths on both sides reported.
Executive Summary: 

President José Eduardo dos Santos and his party, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), retained tight control over the political system and significantly restricted civil liberties during 2016. Dos Santos, who has been in power for 37 years, in March announced that he would step down in 2018, though he has made and broken similar pledges before. In the meantime, he reportedly named the defense minister as his preferred successor, and in June appointed his daughter to lead the national oil company.

The drop in global oil prices continued to damage Angola’s oil-dependent economy and state budget in 2016. Delays in workers’ pay have led to strikes. Amid popular frustrations with economic decline, corruption, and dos Santos’ continued rule, authorities have harshly suppressed protests and worked to increase restrictions on freedom of speech and the press. Meanwhile, separatists stepped up attacks on government forces in the restive exclave of Cabinda.

Aggregate Score: 
Freedom Rating: 
Political Rights: 
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