This chapter examines participation spaces in peri-urban Luanda, Angola. It argues that significant ‘invisible’ processes of democratisation may be underway – including the emergence of new leaders at the local level and capital, Luanda, through case studies drawn from the Luanda Urban Poverty Programme (LUPP). The analysis argues that while the ‘invited spaces’ created by these NGOs may begin as conventional participation-in-development models, in the particular social and political context of Luanda they mutate into other forms of participation. These forms reflect the interests, agency and strategies of local actors, their encounters with and adaptation to a changing context, and the release of repressed political energy which follows the opening up of new participation spaces in a setting long characterised by lack of responsiveness. The chapter concludes by examining the challenges for NGOs promoting new participation spaces in contexts like Luanda, and the potential wider application of the lessons learned. In particular, it argues that there is a need to pay greater attention to the accountability implications of new spaces if the emerging leadership that they foster is not simply to reproduce the authoritarian practices of the old, while recognising that even when it has autocratic or elitist elements, this leadership may still play an essential part in steps towards broader participation.
Roque, S.; Shankland, A. Participation, mutation and political transition: new democratic spaces in peri-urban Angola. In: Spaces for Change? The Politics of Citizen Participation in New Democratic Arenas, Andrea Cornwall and Vera Schattan P. Coalho (eds), Vol 4 of Claiming Citizenship Series. Zed Books Limited, London & New York, (2007) ISBN 9781842775530 (paperback)