MPLA spokesman Rui Falcão admitted today that the funeral of Jose Eduardo dos Santos should take place in Luanda on August 28, coinciding with his birthday, and said that “the daughters were distracted”.
This was the justification put forward by the MPLA official to explain the fact that the ex-President’s eldest sons complained today that they had not been warned that the court had given authorization for the transfer of the body of José Eduardo dos Santos, who died on July 8 in Barcelona, to Luanda.
“The daughters were distracted (…) they were on the beach, they were doing fashion shows, etc.”, commented the leader, indicating that the “public acts that are mandatory” will be carried out, such as the wake held in June, now in the presence of the body.
Asked if the daughters, namely Isabel dos Santos, who are in the grip of Angolan justice, will be able to come to the funeral, he replied: “if they don’t owe the State anything, why not? If they have a problem with justice, let them solve it, we have to treat the former President of the Republic as he deserves.
Rui Falcão was speaking to journalists after a huge rally – the last one by MPLA candidate João Lourenço, to mobilize his supporters and convince the electorate that “the strength of the people” continues to be with the party that has governed Angola since independence, in 1975.
“We have elections on August 24th and the MPLA will win them, this is the most important thing for us. After the elections we will do the act he deserves,” he declared with visible satisfaction.
Regarding the arrival of the body today, the date on which the current President of the Republic, Joao Lourenço, who is re-candidate for a new term made the closing rally of the campaign, underlined that the party does not dictate the calendar of Spanish justice.
“Spanish justice decided in this context and we had to make the state decision that was necessary, so the body will arrive shortly”, he said.
He admitted that the funeral will “probably” be on August 28, rejecting political exploitation of the situation.
“If we wanted to take political advantage, we would do it now, this human mole who is here respects Jose Eduardo dos Santos as he always did,” said the MPLA spokesperson, pointing to the crowd of militants who went to the Camama precinct today to hear João Lourenço who, in his speech, chose not to make any reference to his predecessor in office.
“The family is not respected”, added Rui Falcão.
The body of Jose Eduardo dos Santos was disputed in court by two factions of the family: one, the widow Ana Paula dos Santos and her younger children, in favor of a state funeral in Luanda, supported by the Angolan regime; the other, of the eldest children, namely Tchizé dos Santos, against the delivery of the remains to the widow and the holding of funerals in Luanda, as they have lived outside the Angolan capital for several years and say they are persecuted by the government of João Lourenço.
“We are going to carry out the acts of State that are necessary for the figure he was, we are going to respect what we have always done. We did it with Agostinho Neto and we are going to do it with José Eduardo”, reinforced the MPLA leader.