José Eduardo dos Santos
|“||Our goal is not to crush the enemy at any price, but to make it realize that it is illegal to take up arms to overthrow a democratically elected government.||„|
|~ José Eduardo dos Santos|
José Eduardo dos Santos (born 28 August 1942) is an Angolan politician who served as President of Angola from 1979 to 2017. As President, José Eduardo dos Santos was also the commander in chief of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) and President of the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the party that has ruled Angola since it gained independence in 1975.
Eduardo dos Santos, born in what is today the district of Sambizanga in Luanda, is the son of Avelino Eduardo dos Santos and Jacinta José Paulino. He attended primary school in Luanda, and received his secondary education at the Liceu Salvador Correia, today called Mutu ya Kevela.
While in school, dos Santos joined the MPLA, which marked the beginning of his political career. Due to repression by the colonial government, dos Santos went into exile in neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville in 1961. From there he collaborated with the MPLA and soon became an official member of the party. To continue with his education he moved to the Soviet Union, where by 1969, he received degrees in petroleum engineering and in radar communications, from the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemistry Institute in Baku, Azerbaijan.
In 1970, he returned to Angola, which was still a Portuguese territory known as the Overseas Province of Angola. He served for three years in the MPLA's EPLA guerrilla force (Exército Para a Libertação de Angola), later known as the People's Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (FAPLA), the military wing of the MPLA, becoming a radio transmitter in the second political-military region of the MPLA in Cabinda Province. In 1974, he was promoted to sub-commander of the telecoms service of the second region. He was the MPLA representative to Yugoslavia, Zaire and the People's Republic of China before he was elected to the Central Committee and Politburo of the MPLA in Moxico in September 1974.
In June 1975, dos Santos became coordinator of the MPLA's Department of Foreign Affairs; he also coordinated the MPLA's Department of Health at this time. Upon Angolan independence in November 1975, the MPLA held power in Luanda, but the new MPLA government faced a civil war with the other political formations, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA). The same year, Dos Santos was appointed as Angola's first Minister of Foreign Affairs upon independence, and in this capacity he played a key role in obtaining diplomatic recognition for the MPLA government in 1975–76. At the MPLA's First Congress in December 1977, Eduardo dos Santos was re-elected to the Central Committee and Politburo. In December 1978, he was moved from the post of First Deputy Prime Minister in the government to that of Minister of Planning.
After the death of Angola's first president, Agostinho Neto, on 10 September 1979, José Eduardo dos Santos was elected president of the MPLA on 20 September 1979, and he took office as President of Angola, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on 21 September. He was also elected as President of the People's Assembly on 9 November 1980.
Dos Santos has been accused of leading one of the most corrupt regimes in Africa by ignoring the economic and social needs of Angola and focusing his efforts on amassing wealth for his family and silencing his opposition, while, nearly 70% of the population lives on less than $2 a day.
Dos Santos became wealthy when he first took power, but only began amassing his incredibly large assets during and after the Angolan civil wars. When the ceasefire occurred and large portions of the economy were being partially privatized, he took control of several emerging companies and industries. He helped arrange similar takeovers of several other natural resource industries.
Eventually the Angolan Parliament made it illegal for the president to have financial holdings in companies and organizations. In response to this, Dos Santos supposedly began arranging for his daughter to receive the financial kickbacks and assets from these companies. Dos Santos then began using the government to take direct control of stakes in companies offered as kickbacks which he indirectly controlled and reaped the benefits of and managed to retain large corporate assets through proxies.
Along with this, the government budget had grown over a decade to 69 billion dollars in 2012 through oil revenues. The International Monetary Fund reported that 32 billion in oil revenue simply went missing from the government's ledger before being tracked to have been used on "quasi-fiscal activities."
He was the second-longest-serving president in Africa, surpassed only by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea.
José Eduardo dos Santos has often been associated with great corruption and the diversion of oil resources, largely from the Cabinda enclave. in tax havens and bank accounts in Switzerland - a wealth accumulated over decades of exercising power. His opponents accuse him of ignoring Angola's social and economic needs, focusing his efforts on accumulating wealth for his family, while silencing opposition to his government. In Angola, about 70% of the population lives on less than 2 dollars a day, while Santos and his family have accumulated an immense fortune, which includes stakes in the country's main companies, as well as in large foreign companies.