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Rights group urges Angola to fight corruption

[JURIST] The government of Angola [BBC backgrounder] should take a stronger stand against corruption [press release], according to a report [materials] released Tuesday by Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website]. Despite the nation's large economic growth and increased stability following the end of the nation-wide civil war in 2002, the majority of its citizens' lives fail to reflect the improvements, according to the report. HRW suggests that while some limited measures to fight pervasive corruption have been taken since the release of their 2004 report [text], which documented the disappearance of billions of dollars of oil revenue from the central bank, little headway has been made. Following the economic downturn and the subsequent drop in oil prices, Angola entered a financial agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) [official website]. HRW has called on the IMF and its board members, namely the US and China, to ensure that Angola adhere to the provisions set forth by the IMF, and more specifically that it comply with the call to publicly audit the state oil company Sonangol [official website, Portuguese] and provide frequent updates on the nation's expenditures.

In January, Angola approved a new constitution [JURIST report] that will end the popular election of the president. The new constitution replaces an interim constitution [text, PDF] that had been in place since 1975. It provides for the appointment of the country's president by parliament's majority party, ending the direct election of the country's president. It also replaces the position of prime minister with a vice president appointed by the president, and limits the president to two five-year terms. Opponents of the constitution argue that it is merely a way to expand the power of current President Jose Eduardo dos Santos [BBC profile], who has been in power since 1979. Members of the ruling party say that it will allow him to rule the country more effectively [ANGOP report].

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