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Angola's opposition holds rally in final push for votes

Supporters of Angolan opposition party National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) cheer during the UNITA final campaign rally ahead of general elections   -  
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JOHN WESSELS/AFP or licensors -

Angola

UNITA ends the electoral campaign appealing to Angolans to vote for change. In Cazenga, on the outskirts of Luanda, thousands of supporters of Adalberto Costa Júnior gathered. The presidential candidate attacked MPLA's governance and listed several problems of the country.

UNITA's leader appealed to citizens to make sure of they secure their votes on the 24th near the polling stations.

Adalberto Costa Junior closed the campaign reiterating his complaints about the electoral process. He stressed his party's confidence before the election observers. He made it clear that Cape Verde is in the CPLP, the type of democracy that Angola can follow.

The 60-year-old Costa Junior was quick to acknowledge the youth, who represent a significant and growing voting bloc.

"UNITA's mandate represents the realisation of a dream, the realisation of the youths' goals," he said.

Rally goers said they were fed up with the high level of poverty and corruption in Angola that festered under former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

He ruled the country for nearly four decades until 2017 and died last month.

"Our life is difficult. Everything is very expensive because of these people who are in government," said Jorge Domingos, 27, a student and a self-employed trader.

Supporters are enthused by Costa Junior's approach to politics, in building a coalition with other opposition parties to take on the MPLA.

"We are here because people want an alternative. Angola is a rich country but its people are suffering. It's very sad. We absolutely want an alternative," said Luis Santana, a street vendor who earns $5 per day.

UNITA has formed an electoral coalition with two other opposition groups to boost its chances of defeating the MPLA.

And the opposition's united front was clear to see on the rally podium.

Costa Junior was joined by the popular Abel Chivukuvuku, president of the PRA-JA Servir Angola party, along with the head of Democratic Bloc party, Filomeno Vieira Lopes.

Despite the excitement over the opposition and high levels of despair and frustration among its mainly youthful supporters, analysts say that the MPLA however is likely to win the vote.

An Afrobarometer survey in May showed support for the opposition was growing but still trailed by seven percentage points behind the MPLA.

The MPLA's final campaign rally was on Saturday but incumbent President Joao Lourenco held a special women's rally earlier Monday.

His running mate, Esperanca Maria Eduardo Francisco da Costa, would be the country's first female vice-president if the MPLA wins.

Accusations of voter fraud have swirled in the lead up to the polls.

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