Angola: Ecumenical Visitors Shocked by 3,000 Evictions in Lubango

Title: Angola: Ecumenical visitors shocked by 3,000 evictions in Lubango.
Author: Luis Samacumbi, Congregational Church
Category: Angola
Date: 3/28/2010
Source: Luis Samacumbi
Source Website: www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=23265

African Charter Article# 14: The right to property shall be guaranteed.

Summary & Comment: This urgent letter comes from Luis Samacumbi the Director of Development, of the Congregational church, who was part of an offical church leaders' delegation to Lubango in southern Angola, where 3,000 people had been evicted from their homes and frocuibly relocated to Chavola camp just 3 weeks before by the municipal authorities and police of Lubango. The churchmen found people living in desperate conditions in the camp. Some 700 tents had been issued; some had salvaged iron sheets. No compensation has been received; they believe none is planned. It is feared that this national government program of housing demolition and population relocation which began last year in Luanda is planned to continue in Bengeula, Luanda and in other cities. The purpose is to build housing for commercial and well-to-do people, a profitable enterprise in a booming economy. Humanitarian agencies request aid for the people, and protest for the government. see also http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=23231. JK



Angola: Ecumenical visitors shocked by 3,000 evictions in Lubango.

Brothers and sisters,

I write to you these lines from the Tropicana Inn, in the city of Lubango,
province of the Huila where I am in the Company of the two ecumenical leaders
Rev. Luís Nguimbi - General Secretary of CICA and Pastor José Evaristo Abias - General Secretary of AEA - Evangelical Alliance of Angola.
This ecumenical pastoral visit in solidarity of the victims of demolitions along
the Mocamedes - CFM railroad line, currently concentrated in Chavola camp
located about 10 km north of the city also known as lands of Chela...

Yesterday (Saturday 27th March) was a heavy day here in Lubango. We visited the dispossessed populations in Chavola, and what I heard and saw with my own eyes, I'm sorry, it displeases me greatly , and doesn't correspond with the reality of a country that's been independent for more than 33 years and in Peace for eight years.
There should not be deliberately man-made emergencies like this that put innocent children in the difficult traumatic situation which we saw.

We talked extensively with the governmente authorities represented by the
Provincial Directors from the family and women promotion department as well as from MINARS, (social service and relief dept).
We received explanations from them and I noticed unfortunately the distance
between speeches and the reality of the situation. We talked with and visited people in the few existing tents and perhaps with half of the families who were able to save their zinc roof sheeting from the demolition which they had put together to protect the children a little from the rain, the strong winds and the cold. We also
distributed about 4 tons of food and other material aid. This support came thanks to the help of the Churches of Norway and Christian Aid that answered the call for help which had been put out very hurriedly.

Even not having enough time to eat lunch, after dinner we sought the Bishop
of the Archdiocese of Lubango Dom Bilingue, who greeted us at the Episcopal offices and explained to us the details and foregoing causes of this situation that was already considered by many as catastrophic. The hours spent at the Episcopal Centre allowed us to reflect deeply on the the need of continuing to spread the
Gospel of Peace, Reconciliation and Justice in Angola.

Well, I ended up going to bed at about 1 am of Sunday morning. I have a lot to
share with you in the next few days, because I took pictures, and saw men and
women's faces revolted with this government-created situation. But I also saw
children's cheerful faces that received some guavas in their hands or they wrapped them in their torn shirts: they smiled at us revealing that there was still small hope in the midst of that suffering.

This morning Rev. Nguimbi and I led the worship in the headquarters of the
Church of the Union, in the Lage-Lubango neighborhood where coincidently the Administrator of the Lubango was also in attendance. Today it is Palm Sunday. It was hard to sing Hosanna !

The Hymn sung to finish the prayers touched me deeply and inspired me
to write this long message (for which I apologize). The hymn speaks for
itself as you can read it below:

A ROYAL BANNER 469 C.C.

1. A royal banner gave you the King
To you, His soldiers;
Be courageous, because, in everything you defend him,
Marching for heaven on Earth.

Chorus:
With valour! Without fear!
For Christ ready to suffer!
Very high you raise His pennant,
Firm, always, until dying!

Thank you for your prayers and support.
Always your co-servant,

Samacumbi