Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is second on the list of longest-serving African Presidents. With 33 years as President under his belt, he is below Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo by just one paltry month. Until 2012, he had actually never been formally elected and prior to the current trend of internet freedom that allows people to share their thoughts and views online, it was extremely difficult to see any negative critique of him by the country’s state media organs.
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His election bid in 2012 which fell in step with newly formed agitations by youth’s in Angola over the length of time that he had served had seen a recreation of his social image as he tried to alter the picture of the dictatorial leader which the agitators were at the time painting. From the outside looking in, he seems to have a firm grip on major aspects of government and has over time led Angola to developing strong links with China, Brazil and the United States. He is in fact; among quite a number, especially of older citizens, credited with; ending Angola’s 27 year civil conflict, keeping his country in peace and enabling under his leadership, the rise of Angola from the ashes of war to its current position as one of Africa’s largest economies.
Despite all of this seeming good work, the consensus still insists that the President has served for too long and needs to step down, and critics of his government say he is authoritarian and accuse his government of committing numerous human rights abuses. Their sentiments look like they may finally be rewarded as President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has announced that he will step down in 2018. He told a congress of the ruling MPLA party; “I took the decision to leave and end my political life in 2018”. General elections are due in Angola in August 2017.