The new socialist government in Portugal has named an Angolan-born lawyer to the cabinet.
Mrs Francisca Van Dunem was appointed Justice minister by Prime Minister Antonio Costa.
She was born in 1955 in Luanda and went to study in Lisbon in the early 1970s. After graduating in law from the University of Lisbon in 1977, she went to work as a public prosecutor and has held various prosecution and judicial posts in Portugal for the last 30 years.
“We can talk about the before and after of Mrs Van Dunem in politics and in Portuguese society if we understand the lack of black people in top posts,” noted a researcher at Lisbon University, Ms Joacine Katar.
Portuguese society comprises various races and backgrounds but this diversity is not yet visible in every level of the society, said Mr Jose LeitAo, Lisbon municipal assembly secretary.
The Lisbon-based Radio TSF pointed out the nomination of Mrs Van Dunem came at a time when the Angolan government is accusing Portugal of being hostile.
The accusations are due to the fact that many Portuguese commentators have expressed concerns about human rights abuses and violence against protesters in Angola.
In 2013, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos announced a freeze in strategic trade partnerships with Portugal because of what he described as “misunderstandings at the highest level of the state”.
The move was seen in Lisbon as a response to a probe by the Portuguese judiciary into several high-ranking Angolan government officials.
At any rate, relations resumed when the investigations were dropped later that year.
Angola gained independence from Portugal in 1975.
The country has recently seen an influx of Portuguese people seeking jobs in her oil-rich economy.
SOURCE: AFRICA REVIEW