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Angola’s Ex-president dos Santos Steps Down as Ruling Party Leader After 4 Decades

Angola’s former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos on Saturday stepped down as the leader of the ruling MPLA party, handing over to incumbent President Joao Lourenco.

The move meant dos Santos ended his political career that has spanned nearly four decades.

“Today, with my head up, I leave and pass on the baton to comrade Joao Lourenco,” he said at a ceremony held at the headquarters of the ruling party in the capital, Luanda.

“Today in this sixth congress is a new era, which means that the new president must mobilise the militant mass to obtain new victory,” he added.

Prior to the August 2017 elections, dos Santos had picked Lourenco as his successor after deciding not to seek re-election.

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As his rule came to an end, dos Santos said he wanted to be remembered for his dignified exit from the office he held since 1979.

He however remained as the president of the ruling party, with analysts saying that meant he still had massive powers.

During the Saturday ceremony, dos Santos admitted to having committed mistakes in his reign.

“There is no human activity free from mistakes and I assume that I have committed them as well,” dos Santos said.

Since taking office, President Lourenco has sacked allies of dos Santos from various positions, a move seen by many as asserting his authority.

Among those affected include the former president’s daughter Isabel from state oil firm Sonangol, as well as her half-brother Jose “Zenu” Filomeno from the leadership of Angola’s sovereign wealth fund.

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Written by How Africa

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