Home » Angola’s former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos dies at 79

Angola’s former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos dies at 79

by Omokolade Ajayi

Angola’s former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has died at the age of 79 at the Teknon Clinic in Barcelona, Spain, where he was being treated following a prolonged illness.

Dos Santos, who ruled Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer, for nearly four decades between 1979 and 2017, was confirmed dead this morning, according to the Angolan government.

“(The government) expresses its deepest condolences to the bereaved family,” the statement said, describing the former president as a “statesman of great historical stature” who “led the country through very difficult times.”

His death comes just 24 hours after the Spanish Prosecutor’s Office announced that it will investigate allegations by the former president’s daughter that a conspiracy resulted in him entering a coma in the Barcelona clinic.

The accusations come at a difficult time for Angola, which is preparing for elections on Aug. 24. The Catalan police also confirmed that they are investigating accusations by the former president’s daughter Tchize dos Santos, who also requested police protection at the clinic.

In reaction to the news, his successor, Angolan President Joao Lourenco, declared five days of national mourning and described dos Santos as a “unique figure of the Angolan homeland, to which he dedicated himself from a very early age.”

Lourenco also ordered flags to be flown at half-staff and issued a presidential decree canceling “all shows and political demonstrations” in the country.

Dos Santos voluntarily resigned as Angola’s president in 2017, citing health concerns. Under his administration, Angola, which is rich in oil and diamonds, earned a reputation as one of the world’s poorest and most corrupt countries.

Lourenco, who succeeded dos Santos in 2017, proceeded to launch a broad anticorruption campaign, as well as a large-scale purge of the dos Santos administration.

Despite the opposition’s claims that Lourenco’s anticorruption campaign is politically motivated, the Supreme Court of Angola sentenced dos Santos’s son, Jose Filomeno dos Santos, and three other defendants to prison on graft charges totaling more than $500 million last year.

The Angolan government froze his daughter Isabel dos Santos’ assets. She was widely regarded as Africa’s richest woman, with a net worth of $3.5 billion in 2013.

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