These are negotiations of a particular type: to agree on the date, place and conditions of a funeral, that of the former Angolan president, José Eduardo dos Santos. Since his death on July 8 in Barcelona, Spain, where he had lived since April 2019, tense discussions, reported in particular by the press agency Lusaare taking place between the family of the former head of state, including two of his daughters Isabel and Tchizé dos Santos, and the Angolan executive, led by the current president and successor to dos Santos, João Lourenço.
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On the one hand, the Angolan presidency, which has decreed seven days of national mourning and announced the opening of spaces of meditation in all the provinces of the country, intends to organize a state funeral in Angola, in accordance with the statute of former president of José Eduardo dos Santos.
We count on the presence of all, without any exception
As soon as the death was announced, the executive created a ministerial committee to organize the funeral and, ce Monday, July 11, João Lourenço went to pay homage to him in a specially equipped space in Luanda, at the Mausoleum of Agostinho Neto, a monument celebrating the memory of the first president of independent Angola.
“We count on the presence of all, without any exception [lors des obsèques] “said the head of state, insisting that he “saw no reason why the family, who are abroad, cannot accompany their loved one”. A statement in the shape of an olive branch as relations with the dos Santos camp have been strained since Lourenço came to power and the latter launched an anti-corruption crusade aimed in particular at the former presidential family. Criticized for this strategy, including within his own camp, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), and facing general elections on August 24, João Lourenço can only see a good eye of the funeral celebrations celebrating the union of his camp and the whole country.
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Unsurprisingly, the dos Santos children refuse a political recovery of their father’s funeral. “João Lourenço and his government, with the complicity of the MPLA leadership, harassed José Eduardo dos Santos until his death. Today, they want to organize his funeral. How can a daughter who loves her father keep calm in the face of so much hypocrisy and malevolence? said on Instagram one of the former president’s daughters, Tchizé, who requested an autopsy as much to shed light on the causes of her father’s death as to delay a possible transfer to Luanda. The preliminary results of the autopsy, carried out last weekend, already state a “natural death”.
According to the Portuguese daily ExpressIsabel dos Santos, eldest daughter of José Eduardo dos Santos and half-sister of Tchizé, would not be opposed to a funeral in Angola at condition that they be held after the elections and with the assurance that she and Tchizé will not be disturbed by the Angolan courts. While her half-brother José Filomeno dos Santos was sentenced for fraud to five years in prison (a decision he appealed), Isabel dos Santos is the subject of several legal proceedings in Angola and Portugal opened on corruption charges. which she refutes.
The dos Santos family does not present a united position in discussions with the Angolan authorities
At the end of June, the Angolan justice thus tried to hear the businesswoman while she was in the Netherlands, in vain. To complicate the situation, the dos Santos family does not present a united position in the discussions with the Angolan authorities, the former first lady, Ana Paula dos Santos, and one of the sisters of José Eduardo dos Santos, Marta dos Santos , appearing more willing to cooperate and in favor of a funeral in Angola.
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Proof of the difficulties, the meeting held this weekend and the discussions that followed did not lead to any agreement. To lead the discussions, the Angolan presidency sent to Barcelona the Minister of State and head of the “Military House”, Francisco Furtado, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Téte António, and the Attorney General of the Republic, Helder Pitta Grós. . At the meeting, they faced each other, according to the agency LusaAna Paula dos Santos, the three children from her union with the former president and another of the sons, Joess dos Santos – Isabel dos Santos, José Eduardo Paulino dos Santos “Coréon Dú” (Tchizé’s brother), the sister of the late Marta dos Santos and six nephews who participated by videoconference.
The subject of the delivery of the body of the former president and his possible transfer to Luanda is now before the Spanish courts which, according to Lusamust decide on the case within the week.