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Angola: Consolidating a political monarchy

By Konye Obaji Ori
Posted on Monday, 6 June 2016 11:19

The insinuations began after dos Santos appointed his daughter head of state oil company, Sonangol. Dos Santos’s children Isabel and Jose have been strategically positioned for power, analysts opined.

The way he is channelling resources and public jobs to Isabel and his other children implies he is planning almost a monarchical succession

Isabel, who is named by Forbes magazine as Africa’s richest woman, worth an estimated $3.3 billion, was appointed head of Sonangol after her father sacked the entire board.

Analyst Aslak Orre said being head of the state oil company is “next to the presidency… the most powerful position in the country”.

Dos Santo’s son, Jose, is the head of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, created to make investments using the country’s oil wealth.

“The way he is channelling resources and public jobs to Isabel and his other children implies he is planning almost a monarchical succession… passing power from himself to one of his children,” Orre told the BBC.

Dos Santos, who has ruled Angola since 1979, is said to be tactically situating his children and relatives in vital seats of power in a bid to consolidate power within his family.

Since four decades of conflict ended in 2002, Angola’s economy has skyrocketed, although from a low base. Auditors Ernst and Young, claim Angola was the world’s fastest growing economy from 2000 to 2010.

However, wealth and power have stayed largely in the hands of a very few families; a small elite, which revolves around the 72-year-old president.

Angola is classed as a Low Human Development the country by the United Nations’ Human Development Index despite having the third largest economy in Africa.

Dos Santos has said he was planning to step down in 2018 but observers and critics say he has become increasingly authoritarian.

The Angolan president is Africa’s second longest-serving leader, after Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

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