News / Africa

Angola's Next Elections Could Be Last for Dos Santos

Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos (R) and his wife Ana Paula attend the inauguration of the new Luanda Bay Marginal in the capital Luanda, August 28, 2012.
Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos (R) and his wife Ana Paula attend the inauguration of the new Luanda Bay Marginal in the capital Luanda, August 28, 2012.
JOHANNESBURG — Voters in Angola go to the polls Friday to choose the nation's next president.  It will be only the third election since the country gained its independence from Portugal in 1975. It will also be an important moment for candidate and incumbent president José Eduardo Dos Santos, whose 32 years at the helm of Angola makes him the second longest-serving African leader.

José Eduardo Dos Santos celebrated his 70th birthday amid a heated electoral campaign. He is an African icon, tied to the fate of his country. His 32 years in power, through war and peace, has made this son of a mason and of a maid one of the most important people in Angola's tormented history.

Born in a poor neighborhood of Luanda, Dos Santos was only a teenager when he entered a clandestine group to fight Portuguese rule in Angola. He joined the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola. He then spent seven years studying petroleum engineering in the Soviet Union.

When he returned to Angola, he rose through the ranks of the MPLA, eventually taking over its leadership after the death of Agostinho Neto.

In 1979, the 37-year-old Dos Santos began his long reign in the newly-independent and already war-torn country.

After 27 years of civil war with the opposition party UNITA, Dos Santos's party, backed by the the Soviet Union and its successor, Russia, and Cuba, crushed its opponent, bringing the country  to peace in 2002. Four years later, he was elected president with 82 percent of the vote.

According to Ana Alves, senior researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs, this accomplishment still strongly shapes his image among the older population.

"I think the height of his popularity was 2008. He was really popular because he brought the end of the civil war," says Alves. "I think he still got a lot of support from his peers during the war and and the people who supported the MPLA during the civil war. There was a lot of constructions, until now there is a lot of of construction."

Rebuilding the country's infrastructure has been a priority for Dos Santos. But despite of the country's current booming economy, Alves says that Dos Santos has alienated the nation's youth, who feel left out of the economic boom.

"The youth, they are not attached to that anymore," says Alves. "They grew up until they were 10 or so, and then the war is over. So that detachment formed the old leadership to the new one will cause some problems to Dos Santos. Forty percent of the Angolan population is under 18. So those ones, they don't count now, because they don't vote. But, in 10 years time, that will be the biggest part of the population. In five years time even. And, they will want to have their problems addressed. And, this is mostly living conditions, salaries, employment and all that."

This election could be the last for Dos Santos.

Last year, the media claimed that he was already preparing his succession by naming Manuel Vicente, the former leader of the Sanangol national oil company, into the political bureau. The MPLA denied this but, on Friday, Vicente will be the on the MPLA ballot for vice president.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Optimist
August 29, 2012 11:29 AM
Enough for Dos Santos. He has been in power for eternity, its time to pass on the helm of power to someone below the age of fifty five. He has forgotten what's like to be poor, in Angola the level of corruption is very high, its only second to Kenya.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid