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Joao Lourenco: 8 Important Things You Need To Know About Angola’s New President


With the final results of the last election held in the country officially announced on Wednesday confirming Joao Lourenco as the person who will take over from the long time sit-tight leader President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Here is the vote share and the makeup of Parliament according to the released results;

  • MPLA 61.07% – 150 MPs
  • Unita 26.67% – 51 MPs
  • Casa-CE 9.44% – 16 MPs

Joao Lourenco will be inaugurated as the country’s first new president since 1979 on 25 September. He ran as the candidate for the ruling MPLA for whom he was considered to be a loyal party soldier.

The fact that he is seen as loyal to MPLA has raised doubts that there will be much difference in Angola despite the change of leadership. President Dos Santos and his family still hold a lot of influence not surprising considering he has ruled for over 38 years.

Here Are A Few Things You Should Know About Angola’s New President, Joao Lourenco

  • Joao Lourenco was born in 1954 in the port town of Lobito. He joined the Marxist MPLA, one of three liberation movements that seized power in the capital, Luanda, and waged a bloody war against the rebel movements UNITA and FNLA. In August 1974, he was part of the first group of MPLA soldiers to enter Angolan territory via Miconge, towards the city of Cabinda after the fall of the Portuguese colonial regime
  • Lourenco comes from a modest background: his father is a medical worker, his mother a seamstress.

  • Joao Lourenço studied at the Industrial Institute of Luanda and later participated in the liberation struggle in Ponta Negra. The MPLA’s war against the rebels became young Lourenco’s first professional area of work.
  • Lourenco was the First Vice-President of the National Assembly from 2003 to 2014. He was the country’s defense minister from April 2014 and he was designated as Vice-President of the MPLA in August 2016.
  • In 2003, he almost killed his political career when he put himself forward as a possible successor in the country’s highest political office as dos Santos began openly thinking about stepping down but dos Santos actually had no such plans of setting down. Dos Santos had simply wanted to find out whether there were opponents with ambitions of power within the MPLA.
  • After that, it took 10 years for Joao Lourenco to recover from the faux pas. In December 2016, however, he got back into the fold. Following a proposal by party chairman dos Santos, the central committee of the ruling party decided to place Lourenco as No. 1 on its ticket for the August 2017 poll, making him the party’s presidential candidate.
  • In the course of his campaign, Lourenco denounced his political opponents as “crooks” and announced that a major fight against corruption in Angola would begin if he won. He declared that the country needs transparency and stability and added that the only way to promote the new objectives of the MPLA government was to diversify the Angolan economy and attract foreign investors.
  • Joao Lourenco is married to Ana Afonso Dias Lourenço, a Member of Parliament of the MPLA and former Minister of Planning, who held a position at the World Bank in Washington until October 2016. They have six children.

Written by How Africa

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