27 September 2017
By Chidiebere Ejike
The 38-year-old reign of Jose Eduardo Dos Santos in Angola finally came to an end, Tuesday, when Joao Lourenco, was inaugurated as President at a ceremony in Luanda.
Dos Santos who was at the ceremony but is reportedly in poor health, surprised many by announcing his retirement earlier this year, saying he would not be a candidate in the election.
The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola has governed Angola since the country’s hard-fought independence from Portugal in 1975, with Dos Santos taking power in 1979.
The president-elect read an oath in which he vowed on his honour to devote himself to the role of president.
Lourenco, 63, until recently was defence minister, also vowed to attract more foreign investment and said he wants to be recognized as a leader who brought an “economic miracle” to the southern African country.
Dos Santos, 75, though seldom seen in public, has been a looming presence in daily life for as long as most Angolans can remember, maintaining fierce control over the country throughout its devastating civil war and a short-lived oil boom.
His reign saw the end of the 1975- 2002 war and a post-conflict investment boom as the country exploited its oil reserves.
Dos Santos was Africa’s second longest serving leader after Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema.
Those who were present at the ceremony include Nguema, along with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda; President of Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila; South African President, Jacob Zuma and other African leaders.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has called on Lourenco to “guide the country out of the spiral of oppression” and castigated Dos Santos’s “appalling human rights record”.