O Executivo da República de Angola leva ao conhecimento da opinião pública nacional e internacional, com um sentimento de grande dor e consternação, o falecimento de Sua Excelência o ex-Presidente da República, Engenheiro José Eduardo dos Santos, ocorrido hoje às 11h10 , hora de Espanha certificada pelo boletim médico da clínica, em Barcelona, após prolongada doença.
The Executive of the Republic of Angola informs the national and international public, with a feeling of great pain and consternation, of the death of His Excellency the former President of the Republic, Engineer José Eduardo dos Santos, which took place today at 11:10 am, Spain certified by the clinic's medical bulletin, in Barcelona, after prolonged illness.
Who was José Eduardo dos Santos?
Better known by the nickname Zé Du, José Eduardo dos Santos, was head of state for 38 years, having served one of the longest presidential terms in the world. An Angolan engineer, military man, and politician, dos Santos also led the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the party that has governed Angola since it gained independence in 1975.
In the beginning, he was seen as a liberating President who brought peace to Angolans, especially when Angola went through a civil war. However, over the years his governance drew much international criticism because of human rights violations.
On March 11, 2016, he announced that he was leaving politics in 2018, the year he would have turned 76. However, he ended up leaving the position in September 2017 and was succeeded by João Lourenço.
Diverse reactions on social media
Citizens’ reactions fluctuated between exultation and indifference. Several internet users mentioned that the death of José Eduardo dos Santos had been a long time coming. Luaty Beirão, a political activist, who was arrested in 2015 and went on a 36-day hunger strike in prison, said:
Hoje consumou-se apenas a perda dos sinais vitais, o cidadão, esse, já andava “morto” desde 2018. Zero pena, zero emoções, é-me completamente indiferente. Com licença, tenho a semifinal do Wimbledon por assistir.
Today, only the loss of vital signs was consummated, the citizen, that one, was already “dead” since 2018. Zero pity, zero emotions, I am completely indifferent. Excuse me, I have the Wimbledon semifinals to watch.
In the comments of the same announcement, there were those who stated that they would not miss the former President of Angola:
Mandela morreu, fiquei triste, Maradona morreu, fiquei triste, Chadwich Bosseman ( Pantera Negra) morreu, fiquei triste, Mano Dibango morreu, fiquei triste, Carlos Burity morreu, fiquei triste, Jacob dos Kassav morreu, fiquei triste, Desmond Tutu morreu, fiquei triste, entre outros, Zé Du morreu, tó alegre, já vai tarde, que lhe sigam o Kopelipa, Nandó e o disse que tinha a ele fidelidade canina, Zé Maria…
Mandela died, I was sad, Maradona died, I was sad, Chadwich Bosseman (Black Panther) died, I was sad, Mano Dibango died, I was sad, Carlos Burity died, I was sad, Jacob dos Kassav died, I was sad, Desmond Tutu died, I was sad, among others. Zé Du died, I'm happy, it's too late, let Kopelipa follow him, Nandó and told him that he had canine loyalty to him, Zé Maria…
Many of the reactions to the death of José Eduardo dos Santos stem from a feeling of abandonment that Angolans have experienced throughout his more than 30 years of governance, as one Facebook user says:
O mais triste é ver angolanos a exaltarem o JES, agora que morreu. Eu até pensei que todo o dinheiro que roubou, a indiferença que teve em nos proporcionar o básico para viver fosse lhe salvar, afinal não… hm. Sinto por ser humano, mas teve o fim que mereceu. Infelizmente ou felizmente, tudo o que fazemos na terra, pagaremos na terra.
The saddest thing is to see Angolans praising JES, now that he has died. I even thought that all the money he stole, the indifference he had in providing us with the basics to live on would save him, after all no… hm. I'm sorry for being human, but he got the end he deserved. Unfortunately or fortunately, whatever we do on earth, we will pay for on earth.
From Mozambique came comments that not only looked at what JES did in Angola but above all at its role in relation to other countries that are friends of Angola. According to Damião Cumbane, a Mozambican lawyer:
Quem quiser falar ou analisar a vida e o legado do Zedu a moda da Facebook ou Whatsaap, dos anos 2000, nunca vai poder enxergar o quão relevante foi o papel desempenhado por JES na libertação de Angola, do Zimbabwe, da Namibia e da abolição do Apartheid na África do Sul. JES foi um grande lutador pelas causas da libertação e emancipação do Povo Angolano e dos Povos da África Austral em geral nos momentos mais contubados da vida dos povos da Região Austral da África.
Anyone who wants to talk about or analyze the life and legacy of Zedu in the fashion of Facebook or Whatsaap, from the 2000s, will never be able to see how relevant a role JES played in the liberation of Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia and the abolition of Apartheid in South Africa. JES was a great fighter for the liberation cause and emancipation of the Angolan People and the Peoples of Southern Africa in general in the most troubled moments of the lives of the peoples of the Southern Region of Africa
The President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, offered a similar reaction:
Compatriotas!Recebemos com tristeza a notícia da morte, em Barcelona, Espanha, do antigo Presidente da República de Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos, vítima de doença. José Eduardo dos Santos foi dos primeiros nacionalistas angolanos a despertarem para a necessidade da libertação de Angola, em particular, e de África, em geral, do jugo colonial.A história da sua vida coincide com a dos nacionalistas da gesta libertadora dos países africanos, pela sua entrega abnegada à causa da liberdade e da emancipação do continente africano. Angola e África perdem um grande estadista, um diplomata de consensos.
We received with sadness the news of the death, in Barcelona, Spain, of the former President of the Republic of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos, victim of illness. José Eduardo dos Santos was one of the first Angolan nationalists to awaken to the need for the liberation of Angola, in particular, and Africa, in general, from the colonial yoke.
His life story coincides with that of the nationalists of the liberating deed of African countries, for their selfless dedication to the cause of freedom and emancipation on the African continent. Angola and Africa lose a great statesman, a diplomat of consensus.
The other side of JES governance: scandals and corruption
During his tenure, José Eduardo dos Santos was often associated with accusations of corruption, including for diverting oil resources for personal gain, largely from the province of Cabinda.
Dos Santos’ family is immensely wealthy and boasts houses in major European capitals, stakes in large companies, holding companies in tax havens, and Swiss bank accounts — assets all accumulated over his decades in 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. Before leaving power in June 2016, José Eduardo dos Santos appointed his daughter Isabel dos Santos as chairman of the board of directors of the state oil company Sonangol.
However, with the arrival of the new President, João Lourenço, the situation changed drastically for the JES family, as the Justice department opened several corruption investigations into dos Santos’ children, which are still ongoing today.
This investigation triggered a dispute between the current president and JES, which has led to a riff between the JES family and thecountry's top officials. For example, there is still no consensus on how JES will be buried as the family and current president ahve yet to come to an agreement.
Tchizé dos Santos issued a statement directed toward the president, claiming the dos Santos family will block the transfer of José Eduardo dos Santos’ body to Angola, as it was not her father's wish.
O senhor é o quê ao meu pai? É filho mais velho? Quem lhe deu autorização, o desplante, para me estar a convidar para o funeral do meu próprio pai?
Ainda não sabia que o meu pai tinha morrido e o senhor já tinha publicado a morte do meu pai, quem lhe deu mandato para divulgar sem eu ter conhecimento ainda? Quem lhe deu mandato para dizer quem deve ir ou não ao funeral?
You are what to my father? His eldest son? Who gave you permission, the impudence, to be inviting me to my own father's funeral?
I still didn't know that my father had died and you had already published my father's death, who gave you the mandate to disclose it without my knowing it yet? Who gave you the mandate to say who should and should not go to the funeral?