Angola’s President Lourenço says his predecessor’s return good for all

Wednesday October 20 2021
Angola’s former President José Eduardo dos Santos

Angola’s former President José Eduardo dos Santos. He returned to the country from exile in Barcelona. PHOTO | FILE |


Angola’s President João Lourenço said Tuesday that the return of his predecessor to the country from exile was good for everyone, not just for their relationship in a first reaction since the veteran arrived in Luanda last month.

Angola’s former President José Eduardo dos Santos had been living in exile in Barcelona since 2019.  

“The fact that he has returned is good for everyone, not just for our relationship, but good for the country, good for our party,” President João Lourenço said in an interview with the Financial Times published Tuesday.

Dos Santos had ruled for 38 years after succeeding António Agostinho Neto in 1979, who had ruled Angola for four years after independence from Portugal in 1975.

In 2017, President João Lourenço took over from dos Santos as Angola’s and ruling Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola or The People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) leader following a general election marking the end of dos Santos’ 38-year reign.

Dos Santos, 79, is accused of appointing relatives and friends to top positions during his presidency of the oil-rich nation.


Meanwhile, former President dos Santos’ daughter and businesswoman Isabel dos Santos has accused Loureço’s government task force of orchestrating legal judgments against her in Angola, and of using the war on corruption to neutralise his political enemies.

President Lourenço denied the claims during the interview with the Financial Times insisting that the courts, not the presidency, led the anti-corruption process.

“Commenting just about one person, it may not be very fair,” the newspaper quoted President Lourenço as saying.