Party members close ranks in support of Lourenco’s reforms
By Nsikan Ikpe
Members of Angola’s ruling Movement for Popular Liberation in Angola, MPLA have risen from a crucial congress with a blanket endorsement of the sack of Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman and daughter of the immediate past president of the country, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, some more of his powerful children, and other sweeping reforms instituted by incumbent President Joao Lourenco since mounting the saddle a little over two months ago.
Incidentally, the congress was presided over by the party chairman and former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos himself.
Isabel, who is ranked by Forbes as Africa’s richest woman was formerly the Chairperson of the Board of the state oil corporation, SONANGOL. She was sacked alongside members of her board as part of the new administration’s determination to shake up affairs in the nation’s oil industry.
Angola, like Nigeria, is heavily dependent on oil income and widespread corruption has similarly been associated with its oil sector.
Analysts say that the endorsement of the reforms by the elder dos Santos may also be an indication of the present balance of power in the Southern African country since he quit the stage for Laurenco, a long-standing MPLA member, who had before now served as the nation’s defence minister.
Lourenco had categorically promised to tackle corruption and nepotism in the course of his campaign for the presidency as well as in his inauguration address on September 26.
The ongoing purge, which has claimed as much as 60 principal players in the former administration, has also affected Isabel’s less popular brothers Welwistchea and José Paulino, as well as the heads of the state diamond mining firms Endiama and Sodiam, and those of the intelligence service and police.
Former president Dos Santos was reportedly out of the country when his children were fired and Angolans have waited till now to get his response.
Isabel Allende, Africa;s richest woman