The history of the MPLA party and government is ridden
factional strife based on ideological, political, ethnic,
personal rivalries. In the early 1970s, Daniel Chipenda, a
of the MPLA Central Committee, was thought to have
assassination attempts against President Neto and was
the party in December 1974. As leader of the so-called
Revolt faction, he joined the rival FNLA, based in
as assistant secretary general. Former MPLA president
Andrade also opposed Neto's leadership and attempted to
support for his so-called Active Revolt faction in 1974.
1977, Nito Alves, former commander of the first military
and minister of interior, spearheaded an abortive coup
support of an extremist faction. Many MPLA officials were
including seven Central Committee members
(see Independence and the Rise of the MPLA Government
, ch. 1). And in early 1988,
military intelligence officers were reported to have been
to imprisonment for fifteen to twenty years and expelled
for plotting a coup against President dos Santos.
Other sources of dissent included several small
groups, which, to avoid infiltration, remained anonymous
restricted recruitment mainly to Angolan expatriates and
They reportedly represented a variety of ideological
were disaffected by the continuing civil war, economic
political intolerance, and advocated development and a
political system. In 1987 about two dozen members of one
group, the Independent Democrats, were imprisoned and
sentenced to death. These events cast doubt on the group's
continued ability to survive.
Religious sects were another source of antigovernment
agitation. The Roman Catholic Church was often at odds
MPLA-PT government but did not openly challenge it. More
problematic was the government's clashes with such
sects as the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Our Lord Jesus
Church in the World (Kimbanguist), whose members were
called Mtokoists, after the sect's founder, Simon Mtoko
spelled Simão Toco). After Mtoko's death in 1984, elements
Mtokoist sect engaged in alleged "antipatriotic
were supposedly responsible for riots that occurred in at
three cities. Angolan security forces were believed to
sponsored rebellious factions within the leadership.
and 1987, more than 100 Mtokoists were killed in riots and
demonstrations, and the sect was banned for one year.
Witnesses were banned from practicing their religion for
refusal to perform military service
(see Interest Groups
, ch. 4).
Data as of February 1989