Dark day for Southern Africa – Angolan journalist Alberto Graves Chakussanga gunned down
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) learnt with great shock of the killing of Radio Journalist, Alberto Graves Chakussanga on 5 September 2010 in Luanda, Angola. Chakussanga was gunned down at his house and found by neighbors and relatives in his house located in Luanda’s Viana District with a bullet wound in his back. Chakussanga, who was also a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Agostinho Neto state university and the Angolan police academy, has worked for the privately owned Radio Despertar, a station critical of the ruling Movement for People’s Liberation of Angola (MPLA) government and accused of affiliation to the then defiant National Union for Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) movement.
According to the radio station Chief-Editor, Armando Ferramenta, Chakussanga has been receiving anonymous threats linked to his journalistic profession for some time before his death. Media reports also cited police sources saying, Chakusanga was killed after a long conversation with unknown assassins.
The news of Chakussanga’s death sent a chill through the media fraternity in Southern Africa and pronounced a backlash to the existing media freedom in the region. MISA condemns in strongest terms the killing of Chakussanga and have no doubt to conclude that his death was a calculated act by the enemies of justice and media freedom in Angola. The fact that Chakussanga had a following with the Ovimbundu, Angola’s largest ethnic group who originate from the south of the country, a stronghold of former rebel movement UNITA, according to local journalists, testifies why his death can be regarded as politically motivated. It should also be noted that Radio Despertar has been a critic of corruption and political malpractice in Angola, and the killing of its journalist is nothing but a move to crack down on dissenting voices in that country.
MISA noted the threats exerted by the Angolan government and the (MPLA) officials towards Radio Despertar. It is thus imperative for the MPLA government to desist from making threats against the radio station and bring the killers of this radio station’s journalist to book. As a sovereign ruling authority in Angola, the MPLA government should not act against the human rights which extends towards the rights of the media and Freedom of Expression in that country. It is rather a betrayal of justice and an impunity act for the MPLA government to keep on obliterating the constitutional rights of its citizen by threatening the media.
Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Information is a right every citizen cannot do without. It is therefore the duty of the Angolan President, Eduardo Dosantosi and MPLA government to intensify this right and cub against the ruthless murder of journalists in that country. MISA therefore calls on the Angola government to investigate the murder of Chakussanga and arrest the killers. The killing of Chakussanga should also be viewed as a violent artillery on democracy, and no stone should be left on top of the other before justices prevails in this case.
MISA salutes Chakussanga’s braveness in exercising his freedom of expression to expose corruption in Angola. His work and contribution to the media fraternity will not be forgotten. We commit our solidarity to the bereaved family and the media fraternity of Angola.
Kaitira E Kandjii , Regional Director ,MISA Regional Secretariat P/B 13386, Windhoek Namibia , Tel +264 61 232975 , Fax +264 61 248016 firstname.lastname@example.org
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