The Angolan President, João Lourenço, said today that the Government will organize the funeral rites of the former head of state José Eduardo dos Santos, for which he counts on the presence of everyone, including the family “that is out there”.
“If we take into account the current circumstances, we don’t see why the family that is out there [possa] accompany your loved one, we are counting on the presence of everyone without exception”, said João Lourenço, on the way out of an emergency meeting of the MPLA, the ruling party and of which José Eduardo dos Santos was president emeritus.
After the death of the former Angolan president, today, at the age of 79, in Barcelona, Spain, uncertainty remains as to where the burial will take place.
The lawyer representing Tchizé dos Santos, one of the daughters in dispute with the Angolan regime, said today that José Eduardo dos Santos did not want to be buried in Angola, to avoid a political use of the ceremony and because the children cannot enter the country.
Tchizé dos Santos, who has lived outside Angola for several years, lost her mandate as a member of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in 2019 and says her life is at risk in her country, while her older sister, Isabel dos Santos, also residing abroad, faces several lawsuits and claims to be a victim of persecution.
Asked about the accusations of the former president’s eldest daughters, João Lourenço said that the focus at the moment is the organization of funerals and that it is the executive’s obligation to hold a state funeral.
“No authority in the country has the competence to prevent an Angolan citizen who is living abroad from returning to his own country, no matter what the circumstances”, stressed the head of the Angolan executive.
About his predecessor in the presidency, Lourenço said that “Angola has just lost a great son (…) who dedicated all his youth, all his life for the good of Angola and the Angolans”.
The head of state also left an appeal: “So that we face this moment with the greatest possible serenity and that the people follow, through the media, the program of the funeral until we manage to carry out the state funeral to which they are entitled and which is our obligation as an executive to organize”.
Addressing his family, he said that “they do not suffer alone”.
“We are in solidarity in this difficult time”, underlined João Lourenço, saying that “the pain that the family feels every Angolan feels”.
José Eduardo dos Santos died today at the age of 79 in a clinic in Barcelona, Spain, after weeks of hospitalization, announced the Angolan presidency, which decreed five days of national mourning.
José Eduardo dos Santos succeeded Agostinho Neto as President of Angola in 1979 and left office in 2017, serving one of the longest presidencies in the world, marked by accusations of corruption and nepotism.
In 2017, he resigned from re-candidate and the current President, João Lourenço, succeeded him in office, having also been elected by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, which has governed the country since independence from Portugal in 1975.