The Angolan Churches from the Bicesse to the Luena Peace Agreements (1991-2002): The Building of a Peace Agenda and the Road to Ecumenical Dialogue

in Journal of Religion in Africa
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Abstract

This article examines how the major Angolan churches engaged with the search for peace from 1991 to 2002, the crucial period from the Bicesse Accords to the Luena Memorandum following the death of Jonas Savimbi, which ended the years of cyclical military conflict and broken peace agreements. It sets out how the churches analysed the causes of the conflict between the MPLA-led government and the UNITA rebel movement, as well as what they believed was required to bring about peace. This analysis is unique in Angola as no other national civic voice consistently engaged with the peace agenda over this period. The article also examines ecumenical initiatives to restore peace through the formation of COIEPA, the inter-ecclesial peace committee, following the return to war in 1998, initiatives that were strongly resisted by the government as it pursued its military strategy of bringing peace to Angola by fighting a final and decisive war.

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