Angola’s problems gained more substance with the involvement of José Eduardo dos Santos in cases of corruption. From Dubai, where he is now, relevant changes can arrive.
José Eduardo dos Santos went to Dubai to offer condolences to his daughter, Isabel dos Santos, who lost her husband, Sindika Dokolo, victim of a diving accident that occurred on October 26, precisely in that emirate. The former Angolan president arrived in Dubai on December 21 and was received with the ceremonial due by his country’s diplomatic representatives.
Albino Malungo, Angolan Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, went to the airport to welcome him and communicated this trip through a diplomatic note in which he also stated that the former head of state would be staying at the Address Fountain Views hotel.
This treatment of the State contrasts with the particular nature of José Eduardo dos Santos’ trip and shows that the rupture between the former president and the current tenant of the Palace of Cidade da Alta, João Lourenço, is not yet total. That is, the demonstrated political deference sends the message that there is room for other approaches
Albino Malungo, who received Eduardo dos Santos, was Minister of Assistance and Reinsertion to the former head of state in the early 2000s and a unique case, in that he became the only dismissed government official accused of embezzlement of humanitarian aid.
José Eduardo dos Santos went to Dubai to comfort his daughter and help her overcome an irreparable loss, but her trip will also have served to both reflect on the future and the actions they can take to overcome the open war with the judicial authorities and the Angolan government.
Just as Negócios advanced on November 3, the armistice is forcibly going through a visit by José Eduardo dos Santos to Luanda and talks with João Lourenço. This condition is essential, as it would also mean that the former president recognizes the legitimacy of his successor.
Accusation and rapprochement
José Eduardo dos Santos’ presence in Dubai attests that the former Angolan president has health conditions that allow him to travel. In other words, his permanent residence in Barcelona is an exile decided on his own accord and a gesture of removal from the country, which he will have to revert in order to find an easy way out of the judicial siege that was set up for his family and which he himself is not immune.
The news reported by Expresso, in last weekend’s edition, that the former Angolan vice-president, Manuel Vicente, delivered to João Lourenço documents that prove the involvement of José Eduardo dos Santos in some of the biggest corruption deals in the country. Sonangol underlines the need for an urgent decision on his part. On the other hand, it indicates that Manuel Vicente continues to be seen by João Lourenço, not as a problem, but as part of the solution.
In fact, during his stay in Dubai, Manuel Vicente will have even met with José Eduardo dos Santos, which is the last attempt at intermediation between the disputed parties. In addition, this meeting translates into a possible rapprochement between Eduardo dos Santos and Manuel Vicente, all the more significant given the deep differences between the former vice-president and Isabel dos Santos.
The circumstance of now pointing the accusing finger at Eduardo dos Santos, placing him as a promoter of acts of corruption, constitutes a hardening of the war, but paradoxically it can be seen as the missing piece to trigger a negotiation process.