Georges Rebelo Chikoti

«Peace and security are the premises to the democracy»

\\ Text Andreia Filipa Ferreira Maria Cruz

The Angolan diplomat saw his childhood being lived in a country other than his own. It was in Zambia, together with his parents, that Georges Rebelo Chikoti spent a large part of his life, because of the persecution of the Portuguese colonial regime. It was on Zambian territory that he completed his primary and secondary education. He returned to Angola a few years later, in 1975, and after a while became one of the first member of the Galo Negro, the so-called National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) to be sent to study in the Ivory Coast.

From a young age he has stood out as a political activist. When he was in Paris, taking a Master's Degree in Urban Planning, he began to question, along with other students, the inflexibility and the democratic position of the UNITA movement, which was headed by Jonas Savimbi. His dissent meant that he was sent orders, in Savimbi's name, to return to Angola, but Chikoti decided to change tack, heading instead to Canada, where UNITA had little influence. But he wasn't there for very long. He decided to go to Portugal and it was there that he set up the Angolan Democratic Forum party, the body that opposed the leadership style of Savimbi. Chikoti, getting closer and closer to the MPLA, ended up putting a stop to the party he had founded and became deputy minister of foreign affairs. In 1986, he was awarded the medal of the Paris Doyen Lions Club, thanks to the lecture The Russian-Cuban and America-South African Involvement in the Angolan Conflict.

«Our priority addresses cooperation with other countries»

Since 1992 he has been part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, first as deputy minister and, from 2010, as minister for foreign affairs, even against the wishes of some members of the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). The decision was made by José Eduardo dos Santos. Practicing serious, credible and sustainable diplomacy, able to transmit confidence, is one of the factors guiding the political character of Chikoti.

You have stood out as a political activist since you were young and even formed the Angolan Democratic Forum. What are your recollections of these times in which this party was formed?

The Angolan Democratic Forum came about at a time in which I had begun to think that the war UNITA was provoking to conquer an independent Angola was not warranted. So, in 1989, together with some other colleagues, I formed the Angolan Democratic Forum. It was way for us to fight for the democracy and for the human rights of our country.

In academic terms you went to the Ivory Coast and Paris. How would you describe this period?

My education was marked by various influences. First of all a Portuguese-speaking influence, where I did part of my primary education, until 1964; then, when I and my family fled the Portuguese colonial regime and went to Zambia, I completed my secondary education there, in 1975. Later I returned to Angola, at a time in which we were heading towards independence. There was a troubled environment at the time, but even so I stayed until 1977. After this date, I left for the Ivory Coast, where I did my university studies and completed a Master's Degree in Geographical Sciences in 1985. I then went to France, where I enrolled in the University of Paris 12. In 1988 I emigrated to Canada, where I worked for some time in the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Once on Canadian soil, I attended Ottawa University, where I got my diploma in International Relations and I also worked as an assistant professor.