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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.