Long-time ruler of Angola, President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos will not be contesting the 2017 presidential elections.
Dos Santos who has been President of Angola for 37 years announced in March that he will step down before the general elections scheduled for August 2017.
The National Radio of Angola reported that the new leader of Dos Santos’ party, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) will be Defence Minister Joao Lourenco.
“The president will not be a candidate and he already has a successor,
“It will be Joao Lourenco, who will be presented to members of the party on December 10 when we celebrate the party’s anniversary,” Joao Pinto, a senior member of the MPLA told AFP.
President Dos Santos has ruled the central African nation since 1979 while the MPLA have ruled Angola since it’s independence from Portugal in 1974.
He is also the second longest-serving ruler in Africa, following Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang
In March, President Dos Santos surprised many when he stated that he would step down ahead of the 2018 elections in Angola.
Although, Angola does not directly elect its president, political parties compete and the winning party’s leader becomes President.
Although considered a moderate President, Dos Santos has been criticized for being corrupt, amassing wealth for his family, silencing the opposition, while ignoring the needs of his people.
His appointment of his daughter, Isabel Dos Santos who is also the richest woman in Africa, as the head of Sonangol was the straw that broke the camel’s back. This led to accusations of Dos Santos practicing nepotism. However, the president claimed that Isabel was appointed for her expertise and not because she’s a Dos Santos.
Isabel also has a controlling stake in Angola’s largest phone operator Unitel and the nation’s largest bank, Banco de Fomento Angola (BFA) which she claimed early this year. Although Isabel has often time defended her billionaire status as not being aided by her father, the controlling stakes she holds in these state organizations make critics believe otherwise.