April 4 marks the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding Complementary to the Lusaka Protocol between the Angolan Government and UNITA, which changed the course of events in the country’s history.
The agreement, signed in 2002 at the Palace of Congress in Luanda and witnessed by the Angolan President, José Eduardo dos Santos, and representatives of the national and international community, symbolized the end of the war, which left thousands of people displaced, mutilated and orphaned.
With the signing of the document, April 4 was decreed as a National Holiday and has became, among Angolans, a historical reference in the struggle of the people, as the date marks a decisive turning point in the political process and development of the Republic of Angola.
The date is also one of the greatest achievements of the Angolan people after the National Independence, on 11 November 1975.
The country now enjoys a just and lasting peace, a particularly important moment in its history, never experienced by the Angolan people, even in the distant past, since the birth of Angola as an independent and sovereign State.
It is a just peace because it was achieved not by the imposition of external forces but rather by the result of the efforts by Angolans who understood that there was a need to stop hostilities and to begin the process of completing the remaining tasks of the Lusaka Protocol, aimed at the establishment of peace and the ensuing reconciliation and reconstruction of the country.
For the first time a protocol, aimed at peace, was signed on the national territory, without any external mediation. This peace corresponds to the most legitimate interests of the Angolan people.
It is a lasting peace because it is being and must be consolidated in the daily lives of Angolans, through practical actions and attitudes, all of which must contribute to the irreversibility of this process.
It is the will of the Angolan people that all the factors of the past be removed, in order to build a united, solidary and mature homeland, guided by values such as national unity, democracy, freedom, social justice and respect for human rights.
With peace achieved, the Angolan people face new challenges. It is necessary to continue making efforts to consolidate peace by developing a set of actions to combat hunger and poverty.
Tolerance and respect for differences in opinion and party affiliation should also be promoted, as well as encourage the patriotic feeling of the population, especially among children and young people, and strengthen the institutions of the Democratic Rule of Law as an indispensable premise for a firm start towards the harmonious growth of the country.
As the President of the Republic, José Eduardo dos Santos said “those who truly love Peace must know how to forgive, to reconcile with their neighbors, thus contributing to a true and solid unity among Angolans, without prejudice to the differences that each can express.”
Today Angola has achieved its place in the context of the nations, at the political, economic and sports level.