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José Eduardo dos Santos

Assumed office 
10 September 1979
Prime Minister Fernando José de França Dias Van-Dúnem
Marcolino Moco
Fernando José de França Dias Van-Dúnem
Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos
Paulo Kassoma
Preceded by Agostinho Neto

Born 28 August 1942 (1942-08-28) (age 67)
Luanda, Angola
Political party MPLA
Spouse(s) Ana Paula dos Santos

José Eduardo dos Santos (born August 28, 1942[1]) is the current President of Angola, having served in that position since 1979. He is also the President of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA).



It is not actually certain where Eduardo dos Santos was born. Whereas all the other leading MPLA figures have been depicted in photos as growing up in Luanda or somewhere else in Angola, no such photos exist in respect of Mr Eduardo dos Santos's case.[1][2] At any rate, Eduardo's parents were immigrants from São Tomé and Príncipe, which, like Angola, was still under Portuguese control at the time.

After school, he moved to the Republic of the Congo. From there he collaborated with the MPLA, and soon became a member of that body. To continue with his education, he moved, once again, to the USSR, where he received an engineering degree from the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemistry Institute in Baku, Azerbaijan. While there he married for the first time a Soviet Wife, who bore him his First Child, Isabel Dos Santos. He has numerous children from extra-marital relations with various women, and is now Married to Ana Paula Dos Santos, who bore him two Children.

In 1970 he returned to Angola and joined the EPLA (Exército Popular de Libertação de Angola), a branch of the MPLA, becoming a radio operator in the region of the MPLA. In 1974 He served as the MPLA's representative to Yugoslavia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In June 1975, Eduardo dos Santos worked in the MPLA's Department of Communication. Upon Angolan independence in November 1975, the MPLA took power by force in Luanda, and therefore the new MPLA government faced a civil war with all the two main political groups UNITA and FNLA; the civil war continued for most of the period until 2002.

Dos Santos (fifth from the left) at the Berlin wall during a 1981 state visit, with East German officials

After the death in office of Angola's first president, Agostinho Neto, on September 10, 1979, Eduardo dos Santos was flown in as President of the MPLA on September 20, 1979 by the Russians, and the very next day he took office as President of Angola, President of the MPLA, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

On September 29 and September 30, 1992, elections occurred in Angola. Eduardo dos Santos failed to secure a winning majority of votes (obtaining about 49.5% vs. 40.7% obtained by Jonas Savimbi, but since no candidate had achieved the required 50% of the votes on the first round, a second round of voting was called. Savimbi then called the MPLA for the, alleged voting fraud that took place. Foreign observers and the UN declared the election inconclusive. In parliamentary elections, the MPLA won 54.7% of the vote, with 129 out of 220 seats in parliament. UNITA managed 34.1%, giving them 70 seats.

Savimbi's withdrawal from the second round of elections gave Eduardo dos Santos much needed excuse to manipulate things to his advantage, by trying to destabilising the integrity of UNITA Party. Eduardo dos Santos, now rejecting negotiated peace, began fierce military actions against UNITA.

In 1999, dos Santos gained greater power from the Angolan parliament by becoming Secretary of Defense.

In February 2002 Savimbi was slain by FAA (Forças Armadas Angolanas – Angolan Armed Forces) troops with the aid of Foreign forces, like Israelis. To avoid further bloodshed UNITA surrendered and signed a peace treaty a few weeks later, ending the Angolan Civil War, but another forgotten civil conflict in the enclave of Cabinda (the oil wealth province), continues fiercely to this day.

In this short period of peace, Eduardo dos Santos, his children, immediate families, his most important ministers, his army generals have amassed for their personal, one of the greatest level of wealth in Africa, and comparing to those of the Russian oligarchs, while more than 90% of the Angolans live below standard level. He has signed important contracts with corporations interested in extracting oil and diamonds, controlled high inflation, and raised economic growth to an estimated 24%. Despite these economic advances, Eduardo dos Santos failed to combat governmental corruption, as he himself is one of the most corrupt leaders of Africa and in the world, reconstruct public infrastructure, draft a new constitution by himself to include his will and not that of the Angolan people, or incresing control over the press (as control is now being given to one of his Daughters Tchize Dos Santos. Although Angola's natural resources are among the world's richest, Jose Eduardo dos Santos is using it s revenues to benefit himself and his closest family and associates. the UN Development Program considers Angola one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world.[3] The Mo Ibrahim Foundation in 2005 ranked Angola 38.1 on its "rule of law, transparency, and corruption" scale and 38.3 on its "human development" scale, out of a possible 100 points (on each scale, higher scores represent better results). This has placed Angola in the bottom 10 among African countries in both indices since 2000, when the ranking began.[4]

dos Santos with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev whilst the latter was on a state visit to Angola on 26 June 2009.

José Eduardo dos Santos announced in 2001 that he would step down at the next presidential election. However, in December 2003 he was reelected as head of the MPLA,[5] and it is widely believed that he will be the party's candidate in the next presidential election. It was thought that this might be held in 2006,[6] and then that it might occur in 2007, but in December 2006 it was announced that the next presidential election would be held in 2009.[7]

In November 2006, Eduardo dos Santos adopted an initiative created by veteran Diamantaire, Dr. André Action Diakité Jackson, to launch the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA), an intergovernmental offshoot of the African Diamond Council (ADC), consisting of approximately 20 African nations founded to promote market cooperation and foreign investment in the African diamond industry.[8]

José Eduardo dos Santos was the first candidate on the MPLA's national list in the September 2008 parliamentary election,[9][10] in which the MPLA won a large parliamentary majority.[10]

It is believed that he will be again MPLA's candidate for the presidential elections which have been scheduled for late 2009, but dos Santos afraid to lose a direct universal election, insisted on the enactment of the new constitution before the presidential election which is why the latter is likely to be held in 2010.[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b Biography at MPLA website (Portuguese).
  2. ^ In "Ethnicity and conflict in Angola: prospects for reconciliation" Assis Malaquias suggests the possibility that Eduardo dos Santos was born in São Tomé instead of Luanda.
  3. ^ "UN Development Report 2006", UNDP.
  4. ^ "Mo Ibrahim Foundation Rankings"
  5. ^ "Dos Santos at the helm", IRIN, December 17, 2003.
  6. ^ "Uncertainty increases over election date", IRIN, February 16, 2006.
  7. ^ "New delay for Angolan elections", BBC News, December 21, 2006.
  8. ^ "Angola: African Diamond Producing Countries Ministers Meet" ANGOP, 4 November, 2006.
  9. ^ "Eleições: Lista integral dos candidatos do MPLA, antigo PM Marcolino Moco fora, nova cara Akwá", Angola Xyami, July 5, 2008 (Portuguese).
  10. ^ a b List of deputies elected in the 2008 election, CNE website (Portuguese).
  11. ^ Economist Intelligence Unit, 2009 April Country Report Angola.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Agostinho Neto
President of Angola
1979 – present
Succeeded by

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