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Angola: Article Sees President Preparing Son for Succession
Friday, December 21, 2012

Jose Filomeno de Sousa dos Santos

Unattributed report: “JES Downgrades Manuel Vicente as Presidential Successor”

Lisbon - In his institutional contacts, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is showing indecision regarding the choice of a future presidential successor in Angola, thus dampening perceptions that his choice falls exclusively on Vice President Manuel Domingos Vicente.

He Says Several People Being Prepared

The clearest sign of his indecision came during an audience on 28 November granted to outgoing Russian Ambassador Sergey Nenachev, who went to the Presidential Palace to present his farewell greetings. During a conversation of about 30 minutes, Nenachev sought details of the presidential succession process and Dos Santos told him that “we are looking at some people.”

The impression that Dos Santos gave was that in addition to Vicente, who is seen as a favorite for the succession, Dos Santos is also counting on “another person” suspected to be his son Jose Filomeno dos Santos `Zenu`.

In the last few months, Dos Santos has transferred (state-owned oil company) Sonangol powers to the Sovereign Fund, led by `Zenu` among others. `Zenu` now has greater institutional economic power than Vicente and the respective government members. If the latter want to proceed with any expensive project they have to ask `Zenu` via the Sovereign Fund, to approve the funds having obtained his father`s permission. In practice, `Zenu` is an “unofficial prime minister” in Dos Santos` government.

Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) circles that previously ignored Dos Santos` inclination toward his son, have now started to see reliable signs of Dos Santos` political commitment to his son. Vicente is now seen as a Dos Santos` distraction to give `Zenu` time to mature politically and at the same time to indicate that he plans to step down (unlike other African leaders who are glued to power).

There are signs that Vicente is aware of his role. Before he left Sonangol (as CEO) he planned to focus on managing his extensive business portfolio. He changed his mind following Dos Santos` intervention claiming to need him for other political challenges.

Dos Santos, in his reserved manner, is also not upfront with Vicente about the final goal, and that is why when asked about the subject, Vicente replies that it depends on the president`s wishes.

Vicente is in a better position than `Zenu.` He is already vice president, the role of constitutional successor and he is also an MPLA Political Bureau member, a basic condition for becoming the ruling party`s presidential candidate.

It is guessed that for `Zenu` to be the presidential successor Dos Santos would need two presidential terms to groom him. An alternative would be to make Vicente the presidential candidate in 2017 with `Zenu` as his vice president, and Dos Santos as MPLA leader only. The new Angolan Constitution allows for the ruling party leader to supersede the president. It is the leader of the party that won the elections that chooses the presidential candidate, compiles the list of MPs, and chooses government members.

`Zenu` would run in future elections as a presidential candidate with the handicap of a psychologically and physically exhausted father as his “back-up” (preceding word published in English) and this could be seen as potential “political suicide” for `Zenu.`

(Description of Source: Luanda Club-K in Portuguese -- Website carrying credible unique and re-hosted news and commentary on Angola, aimed at Angolans living abroad; URL:

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

Angolan President Allegedly Grooms Son To Replace Him in Presidency
Thursday, November 22, 2012

Report by Makuta Nkondo: “JES Subtly Grooms Son Zenu To Replace Him in Cidade Alta”

There are insistent rumors saying that Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is subtly grooming his son, Jose Filomeno de Sousa dos Santos, better known by Zenu dos Santos, to replace him in office.

Previously, rumors pointed to Fernando Dias dos Santos, called “Nando,” to replace the president, after he underwent training in various government positions.

“Nando” was bombarded with the successive duties of general commissioner of the National Police, minister of the Interior, prime minister, parliamentary chairman, and deputy president.

No one knows what got into the president, who made a 180 degree turn after which he replaced “Nando,” whom he preferred, with – according to the press – his “nephew,” Manuel Vicente, as number two on the list of candidates for MPLA members of parliament, which was equivalent to giving him the position of deputy president.

Vicente`s “election” as deputy president made one think that the race for the president`s replacement in Cidade Alta (Presidential Palace) was finally over. What a mistake! Dos Santos continues to shuffle the cards, causing confusion between “Nando” and Vicente.

“Nando” resigned as deputy president and went back to chairing the Angolan Parliament - making him the third person in the Angolan Government`s hierarchy.

A third athlete. This is Dos Santos` son, Zenu dos Santos, who came in at the speed of light, starting with being forced by his father on the Board of Directors of the Petroleum Fund (PF).

Zenu`s being chosen for the Board of Directors of the Petroleum Fund did not go through a public tender.

One can anticipate a tough race between Vicente, “Nando” and Zenu dos Santos in replacing the “Monarch,” Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has been in power for almost half a century.

Vicente was successively the boss of the Angolan fuel company, Sonangol, and minister of state in the field of the economy.

Knowing full well the subtlety of Dos Santos and his stubbornness in carrying out his plans, there is no doubt that he will make his son Zenu the future president of the MPLA and of Angola. The son will not make his father so afraid, because he will not be able to ask him to account for the mismanagement of nearly half a century in power, as happened with Kenneth Kaunda and Frederick Chiluba in Zambia.

In Zambia, soon after taking office, Chiluba – previously groomed by Kaunda – ordered the arrest of his father (Kaunda), whom he accused of embezzling public funds.

“Nando” is, according to the media, very ambitious and regarded as someone with a great appetite for power, which is natural for all cops worldwide – Putina(euro)(TM)s political pirouettes in Russia are great examples – , and it will be easy for Angola to experience complicated times if he ever replaces Dos Santos.

As the general commissioner of the National Police and minister of the Interior, “Nando” was the boss of the Intelligence (cops), and as such he must know Dos Santos` secrets, even the most intimate ones, like the embezzlement of state funds, the 27 May 1977, Bloody Friday, and the secret agreements that exist in the country.

“O Kiula vokekota muna nkalu fiononoka” (a frog goes into a gourd or a bottle by making itself thin, but as soon as it gets in it fattens up), goes a wise Kikongo saying.

The appetite comes by eating and Dos Santos fears that “Nando” will turn greedy once he replaces him in power. As for Vicente, Dos Santos started by trusting him for the position, but soon after his inauguration as deputy president, the “owner” of Angola began to mistrust this “successor.”

Vicente does not seem to accept being a mere “errand boy,” cutter of tapes, or the boss`s sycophant.

It is also seeking to gain visibility, so that in the future he may propel himself into the highest seat of power in the land.

In the city of Namibe, Vicente led the main event of the 37th anniversary of Angola`s independence, representing the head of state.

How does an elected deputy president go represent a president elected in the same atypical conditions as himself?

Both were poorly chosen, each is extraordinary and plenipotentiary. Nobody should represent anyone.

Vicente`s stance, pride, and gestures at the podium when he spoke to MPLA members – because Angola`s political opposition boycotted the event – seemed to demonstrate that he is walking slowly but surely to replace Dos Santos in the presidency of the MPLA and of the country. Vicente`s stance must have made Dos Santos lose his sleep; changing his mind, he is now thinking of his son Zenu dos Santos as a harmless successor.

It is considered that the recent appointment of Zenu dos Santos to the Board of Directors of the Petroleum Fund (PF) was a strong signal that confirms that the son is being groomed to replace him in the Presidential Palace.

As with almost all of Dos Santos` sons and daughters, Zenu is wealthy, owning several businesses inside and outside Angola, including a bank called the Kwanza Bank.

In addition to this ill-acquired wealth, the father has put the Angolan Sovereign Fund (FSDEA), with an initial capital of $5 billion, under the son`s management.

If given the chance, it would be easy for Dos Santos to put the air that Angolans breathe under the management of his offspring (children).

All of the biggest and best economic enterprises inside and outside Angola, like those in Cape Verde, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, and other parts of the world, belong to the sons and daughters of Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Ze Du, as he is also called, plays with the vulnerability and weakness of the members of the MPLA leadership, where no one says a word, as well as the weakness, venality, and inconsistency of Angola`s political opposition.

Dos Santos duly knows the weaknesses of his comrades in the MPLA, as well as those of the abovementioned political opposition. All of his plans – even the most Machiavellian and diabolical – are accepted and carried out in and outside of the party that he runs, the MPLA.

He plays with the country, Angola, and with its members, as if they were chess pawns. He takes, puts, and again takes and puts whoever he wants wherever he believes appropriate.

He made parliament devoid of power and Angolans watch open-mouthed the changes of leaders, whom he later turned into mere aides of his, with no room to move. He promises to kill the founding leader of UNITA, Jonas Malheiro Savimbi, and he did so. He humiliated to death the one who liberated Angola, Holden Roberto, the FNLA president.

He forced his nephew Manuel Vicente to be chosen for the position of deputy president through a simulated election, and he succeeded.

He is playing the three main chess pawns, notably Roberto de Almeida, Fernando Dias dos Santos “Nando,” and Paulo Kassoma, changing them from their positions, either as prime minister, deputy president, deputy president of the MPLA, or simple members of parliament, and nobody says anything.

No doubt, his son Zenu dos Santos will replace the father, without anyone trying to open his mouth. Whoever opens his mouth will be to yawn or cough, not to talk. Dos Santos` whims of turning Angola into a Monarchy, where he himself is the King or the Emperor, tend to be general in Africa.

In Togo, Gnassingbe Eyadema forced his son Faure Gnassinbe to become the leader of the National Assembly, grooming him to replace him. Which was what happened after his father`s death.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Angola, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Rwanda forced young Joseph Kabila to replace his late father, Laurent Desire Kabila, who was murdered.

In Gabon, the deceased President Omar Bongo Ondimba, after his death, was replaced by his son, Ali Bongo.

In Senegal, the former president, Abdoulaye Wade, tried to put his son, Karim Wade, in the Presidential Palace in his place, if he won the elections. To set the stage, Wade made his son Karim minister of International Cooperation, of Air Transportation, of Infrastructure, and of Energy, departments endowed with large budgets and multiple tentacles.

Wade`s son was also his father`s advisor and occupied several positions, including that of director of the National Agency of the Islamic Conference Organization (ANOCI), in charge of large projects, including the construction of hotels and roads for the OIC summit held in Dakar in March 2008.

In Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Nguema Obiang, the eldest son of the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, may succeed his father, who seized power 23 years ago in that oil-rich country.

Nguema made his 34-year-old son – also known as Teodorin – a member of parliament for the Equatorial Guinea Democratic Party (PDGE), minister of State for Infrastructure and Forestry, and a captain in the Army, and he is considered the richest man in Equatorial Guinea, after his father.

His father, General Obiang Nguema, 62, took over power in 1979 after a coup when he was 37 years old. He competes with Dos Santos in terms of longevity in power in Africa.

In Libya, the son of former Libyan leader Muammar al-Qadhafi, Saif al-Islam Qadhafi, was the man of power in the country and it was he who decided everything at his father`s side.

In Egypt, Gamal Mubarak, son of President Hosni Mubarak, was indicated as the likely successor to Mubarak.

(Description of Source: Luanda Angolense in Portuguese -- Privately owned weekly carrying independent reporting on political and social issues)

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.


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