Under the reign of Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the media were controlled and the rare popular protests suppressed.
Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who presided over Angola for 38 years, died Friday in the Barcelona clinic where he had been hospitalized for two weeks due to cardiac arrest, the Angolan government announced. p>
The Angolan Executive reports with a sense of great pain and dismay the death of Mr. dos Santos late morning at the age of 79.
He bows, with the greatest respect and consideration, to this historical figure who, he affirms, presided for many years with clarity and humanism over the destiny of the Angolan nation, at very difficulties, the statement added.
His successor as head of the Lusophone and oil-rich state, current President Joao Lourenço, has decreed a national mourning of five days from Saturday to honor his memory.
The family of Mr. dos Santos revealed earlier this month that the former head of state had suffered a cardio-respiratory arrest on June 23. He had since been hospitalized in intensive care.
One of Africa's longest-serving leaders, slum-born Mr dos Santos, is accused of vastly misappropriating Angolan resources favoring his family and loved ones, while many of the country's 33 million of Angolans live below the poverty line.
Never directly elected by the people, dos Santos, a former Marxist rebel, left power in 2017. He ruled the country with an iron fist, but his mark did not survive his departure.
When José Eduardo dos Santos came to power in 1979, Angola had been in the throes of civil war for four years, following its independence from Portugal.
< p class="e-p">A long and difficult war – some 500,000 dead in 27 years – which he waged, with the support of the USSR and Cuba, against Jonas Savimbi's Unita , supported by the South African apartheid regime and the United States.
After the 2002 ceasefire, it made Angola the continent's leading producer of black gold, neck and neck with Nigeria.
Rare in public, he maintains total control over his party, the Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which earned him constant reappointment as head of the country where he leads the government, army, police and judges.
Under his reign, the media were locked down and the rare outbreaks of popular protest put down.
Born on August 28, 1942 into a modest family, Mr. dos Santos, whose father was a mason, grew up in the barrio or district of Sambizanga, a slum in Luanda which is also the core of the struggle against the Portuguese colonial power.
A scholarship student, he studied engineering in Azebaïdjan. There he married a Soviet, Tatiana Kukanova, mother of his eldest daughter Isabel, whom Forbes called a few years ago the richest woman in Africa.
In the 1970s, he continued his political ascent by joining the Central Committee of the MPLA. He became head of diplomacy on independence in 1975, before being invested head of state four years later by the party, of which he took over the presidency.
He never relinquished power after the elections and changes to the Constitution, without ever being directly elected.
After having mentioned his weariness of a too long reign, he announced his retirement at the end of 2016, when rumors said he was suffering from cancer. As promised, he leaves his place a few months later to his heir apparent Joao Lourenço.
Then married to Ana Paula, an ex-air hostess 18 years his junior, he is the father of several children.
One of his daughters, Tchizé, an opponent of the current Angolan president, wants an autopsy of his remains, for fear that the body will be transferred to Angola quickly, she said in a statement to AFP. A few days earlier, she had filed a complaint in Spain for alleged attempted homicide.
Her placement in intensive care, revealed by the press, brought to light tensions within the family, including between dos Santos's wife, Ana Paula, and at least one of his daughters, 44-year-old Tchizé dos Santos.
The latter lodged a complaint in early July in Barcelona and requested that an investigation be opened for, among other things, alleged attempted homicide, failure to assist a person in danger, injuries caused by gross negligence, according to the two law firms. #x27;lawyers advising the daughter of the former Angolan president.
According to one of his lawyers, she believes that her father's wife , Ana Paula, and the former president's personal doctor are responsible for the deterioration of his state of health.
Tchizé dos Santos claims, according to his lawyers, that his father and his wife had been separated for a while and that she also has no decision-making power over his health, as their marriage is not legally recognized in Spain.
She had also asked the Spanish authorities to ensure her protection, as well as that of her children who left Angola due to friction with the current president João Lourenço, ex-dolphin of dos Santos.