National Front for the Liberation of Angola

Published 18th July, 2012

The National Front for the Liberation of Angola or FNLA was founded in 1956 by Holden Roberto as the guerrilla movement the União dos Povos do Norte de Angola. In 1959 it became the União dos Povos de Angola and in 1962 that organisation merged with the Partido Democrático de Angola (UPA) to form the FNLA as a political party. The current movement describes itself as centre-right and believes in centrism, Christian democracy, nationalism and Conservatism.

In its early days the party was based in Zaïre as a government in exile. Although it was anti-communist it did receive backing from the Chinese as well as the United States of America and South Africa at various times.

In January 1975 the FNLA joined with UNITA and the MPLA to form a coalition government. The coalition was short-lived and the FNLA and UNITA established a Democratic Republic in opposition to the MPLA’s People’s Republic of Angola.

After being driven back into Zaïre in November 1977 the party failed to be a significant force and Roberto was subsequently forced to seek asylum in France.

In 1991 with the signing of the Bicesse Accords Roberto returned to Angola and announced his candidacy for the presidential election. In the 1992 election Roberto came fourth with 2.1% of the vote and the FNLA won five of the 220 seats in the National Assembly.

Initially the party joined the national unity government but it soon left government in opposition to the MPLA. Soon after there developed divisions in the party between Roberto and a group led by Lucas Ngonda. In 2004 after many bitter meetings the leaders of the two factions agreed to hold a reconciliation meeting.

Roberto died in 2007 and was succeeded as leader by Ngola Kabangu. In the 2008 general election the FLNA came fifth, winning three seats with 1.11% of the vote.

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