A statement this weekend by Angola’s President João Lourenço that appeared to downplay the problem of hunger in the country has led to a lot of angry comments on social media.
In a short televised clip, Mr Loureço told supporters of his MPLA party that despite political opponents always complaining about hunger in the country “hunger is relative”.
Mr Lourenço was responding to the criticism that his party, despite decades in government, has failed to deal with poverty and hunger.
“There is talk of hunger and our opponents today wake up in the morning and at night singing a song: ‘Hunger, hunger, hunger.’ Hunger is always relative. The country already has a lot of food production.”
In the first six months of last year alone around 8,500 children died from hunger in Angola, according to data from the National Directorate of Public Health (DNSP), as reported by Novo Jornal.
That’s one of the reasons why Mr Loureço’s statements have sparked controversy.
Priest Jacinto Pio Wacussanga, the coordinator of the non-governmental organization Plataforma Sul, told the BBC that he was “shocked” by the statement.
“There is no such thing as relative hunger, there is absolute hunger in Angola,” the religious leader said.
In September this year, the UN’s World Food Program estimated that more than 1.3 million people in southern Angola were facing “severe hunger as the worst drought in 40 years leaves fields barren, pasture lands dry and food reserves depleted”.