Angolan executive reports
with a sense of great sorrow and dismay the death of Mr. dos Santos in the late morning at the age of 79.
bows, with the greatest respect and consideration on this historical figure who, he says, presided over
for many years with clarity and humanism to the destiny of the Angolan nation, in very difficult timesthe statement added.
His successor at the head of the Lusophone and oil-rich state, the current President Joao Lourenço, decreed a five-day national mourning from Saturday to honor his memory.
The family of Mr. dos Santos revealed earlier this month that the former head of state had suffered a
heart failure June 23. He had since been hospitalized in intensive care.
One of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, slum-born Mr dos Santos, is accused of vastly misappropriating Angolan resources favoring his family and loved ones, while many of Angola’s 33 million people live under the poverty line.
An iron hand
Never directly elected by the people, dos Santos, a former Marxist rebel, left power in 2017. He ruled the country with an iron fist, but his mark did not survive his departure.
When José Eduardo dos Santos came to power in 1979, Angola had been in the throes of civil war for four years following its independence from Portugal.
A long and difficult war – some 500,000 dead in 27 years – which he led, with the support of the USSR and Cuba, against Jonas Savimbi’s Unita, supported by the South African apartheid regime and the United States.
After the 2002 ceasefire, it made Angola the continent’s leading producer of black gold, neck and neck with Nigeria.
Rare in public, he maintains total control over his party, the Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which is worth to him to be constantly renewed at the head of the country of which he directs government, army, police and judges.
Under his reign, the media were locked down and the rare outbreaks of popular protest suppressed.
Born August 28, 1942 into a modest family, Mr. dos Santos, whose father is a mason, grew up in the
barrio or district of Sambizanga, a slum in Luanda which is also the core of the struggle against the Portuguese colonial power.
On a scholarship, he studied engineering in Azebaïdjan. There he married a Soviet, Tatiana Kukanova, mother of his eldest daughter Isabel, whom Forbes qualified a few years ago as the richest woman in Africa.
In the 1970s, he continued his political ascent by joining the Central Committee of the MPLA. He became head of diplomacy at independence in 1975, before being invested head of state four years later by the party, of which he took over the presidency.
He then no longer let go of power according to the elections and the changes of the Constitution, without ever being directly elected.
After evoking his weariness of a reign
too long, he announced his retirement at the end of 2016, when rumors said he was suffering from cancer. He leaves, as promised, his place a few months later to his runner-up Joao Lourenço.
Then married to Ana Paula, an ex-stewardess 18 years his junior, he is the father of several children.
Request for an autopsy and tensions in his family
One of his daughters, Tchizé, an opponent of the current Angolan president, wants an autopsy of his remains,
of fear that the body be transferred to Angola quickly, she said in a statement to theAFP . A few days earlier, she had filed a complaint in Spain for
alleged attempted homicide.
His placement in intensive care, revealed by the press, brought to light tensions within the family, in particular between dos Santos’ wife, Ana Paula, and at least one of his daughters, Tchizé dos Santos, aged 44. year.
The latter lodged a complaint in early July in Barcelona and asked for an investigation to be opened for, among other things.
presumed attempted homicide, failure to assist a person in danger, injuries caused by gross negligenceaccording to the two law firms advising the daughter of the former Angolan president.
According to one of her lawyers, she believes that her father’s wife, Ana Paula, and the ex-president’s personal doctor are responsible for the deterioration of her health.
Tchizé dos Santos affirms, according to his lawyers, that his father and his wife had been separated for a while and that she has no decision-making power over his health, because their marriage is not legally recognized in Spain.
She had also asked the Spanish authorities to ensure her protection, as well as that of her children who left Angola because of friction with the current president João Lourenço, ex-dolphin of dos Santos.