from PEDRO AGOSTO in Luanda, Angola
LUANDA, (CAJ News) – MESSAGES of condolences are streaming in after former Angola President, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, recently passed away in Spain.
He was 79 when he succumbed to illness.
The United States government said the now-deceased played a consequential role in Angola’s history, during its struggle for independence, as Foreign Minister and as President.
He ruled the Southern African country for 38 years, from 1979 to 2017.
“Following Angola’s long and painful civil war, dos Santos oversaw the country’s remarkable reintegration and transition to peace during the complex post-colonial era,” a spokesperson for the US Department of State noted.
“The United States remains committed to strengthening its strategic partnership with Angola and deepening the relationship between the American and Angolan people.”
President João Lourenço, who succeeded dos Santos, has written a message in the Book of Condolences, which was opened on Monday.
“We bow and honour his memory; defending and perpetuating his greatest work, peace and national reconciliation,” Lourenco wrote.
Following the death, Angola decreed seven days of National Mourning, starting at midnight last Saturday.
The national flag is at half-mast and public performances and demonstrations have been cancelled.
“We have lost a brother, an African liberation fighter and peace maker,” said Tanzania president, Samia Suluhu Hassan.
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa stated, “I offer, on behalf of our Government and nation, our sincerest condolences to the Republic of Angola on the passing of an outstanding revolutionary and leader of a nation.”
Dos Santos was an Esteemed Member of the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo, an honour bestowed on him by South Africa on Freedom Day in 2010.
Ramaphosa owed South Africa’s independence to Angola.
“In the end, through the sacrifices of the Angolan people and the unwavering leadership of President Dos Santos, freedom dawned in a democratic South Africa,” he said.
Dos Santos led the process that culminated with the signing of the Peace Accords in 2002, which ended one of Africa’s longest civil wars.
– CAJ News