Africa’s Second-Longest Serving Leader Promises To Step Down… Again

By Kevin Mwanza Published: December 5, 2016, 7:14 am
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Photo: uhuruspirit.org

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the second-longest serving president in Africa, has said he will not stand for re-election when Angola holds its presidential poll next year, according to a document by the ruling party, Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA).

Dos Santos, who has led Africa’s biggest oil producer since 1979, had previously hinted at resigning from politics in 2018.

The revelation is however likely to draw skepticism. In 2003, he stood for re-election, two years after he had promised to step down.

Joao Lourenco, the nation’s minister of Defence and vice-president of MPLA, was nominated by the party to succeed dos Santos, Gulf Times reported.

Lourenco will become president if MPLA wins the elections next year, after the party submitted his name to the parliament, while Bornito de Sousa, the minister for Internal Affairs will be the vice-president, Voice of America reported.

The decision to step down came barely five months after MPLA elected dos Santos to lead the party for another term, during its congress in August.

The southern Africa nation’s economy has struggled under dos Santos.

Analysts predicted a slowed growth for the next one and half years, due to the inflation rate of about 38 percent, the highest since 2003, the global fall in oil prices, unattractive borrowing by the government and a fall of about 39 percent by the national currency against the dollar since last year, Business Insider reported.

In June, activists accused dos Santos of nepotism, after he appointed his daughter, Isabel dos Santos, who is also Africa’s richest woman, to head the state energy firm, Sonangol after sacking the firm’s board.

Dos Santos’ decision came the same day as another of the continent’s longest-serving rulers, Yahya Jammeh of Gambia, conceded defeat to the opposition candidate, Adama Barrow in the presidential poll held on Thursday, last week.

Jammeh’s move to accept defeat, ending his 22-years in power came as a surprise in a continent where incumbents are accused of rigging elections, using party strength to amend constitutions and intimidation of the opposition, to stay in power.

Teodoro Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, is the longest serving president in Africa. He has been in power since he overthrew his uncle in a military coup in 1979.

Nguema has been accused of torturing and oppressing the opposition leaders, besides eating body parts of some of his political rivals, Mirror reported.

In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni has severally used security forces to clobber and torture his opposition rival, Kizza Besigye while in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Joseph Kabila is set to stay in power until 2018, despite the expiry of his constitutional term this month.

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