After Almost 38 Years In Office, Angolan President Won’t Seek Re-Election

Angolan Presiden, Eduardo Dos Santos
Angolan President, Eduardo Dos Santos

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has said that he will not seek re-election this year, marking an end to nearly 38 years in power.

The President made this known on Friday during a conference of the ruling Peoples Movement for the Liberation of Angola, MPLA.

74-year old Dos Santos said that Defense Minister Joao Lourenco will stand as the party’s presidential candidate in the next election, scheduled for August.

Friday’s announcement, however, is not the first time the Angolan Leader would be indicating that he would step down.

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He has ruled the oil-rich country since September 1979, making him Africa’s second-longest serving leader, behind President Teodoro Obiang who became President of Equatorial Guinea in August 1979.

Dos Santos married three times and has six children from his wives, and one born out of wedlock.

He has been accused of leading one of the most corrupt regimes in Africa by ignoring the economic and social needs of Angola and focusing his efforts on amassing wealth for his family and silencing his opposition,while nearly 70% of the population live on less than $2 a day.

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On June 3, 2016 the Angolan President announced his daughter, Isabel dos Santos, as head of the state oil company Sonangol, after sacking the entire board of the company in April.

Last month, Forbes magazine listed the president’s daughter, Isabel dos Santos, as Africa’s richest woman with a fortune of $3.2 billion.

The President’s daughter has large stakes in many of Angola’s strategic industries, including diamonds, banking, media and telecommunications,with large parts of her business empire based in Portugal.

Similarly, one of the president’s sons, Jose Filomeno dos Santos, runs the country’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund.