Angola’s dos Santos wants new MPLA leader chosen in Dec or April 2019

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Former Angolan president Jose Eduarco dos Santos on Friday said that the ruling MPLA party should wait until December or April 2019 before choosing someone to replace him as head of the party.

Dos Santos picked Angola’s incumbent President João Lourenço to succeed him following his decision to step down after 38 years in power, but held on to the MPLA’s presidency.

His decision to stay on as the leader of the ruling party prompted analysts to allege the existence of two centers of power in the oil-producing nation.

Since Lourenco took over power in September 2017, there has been increasing pressure for dos Santos to give up the presidency of the ruling party.

Upon taking office, Lourenco was seen to be watering down dos Santos influence in the country. The incumbent went on to remove the former leader’s family members from key state positions.

Rumours emerged on social media suggesting that an MPLA central committee meeting set for Friday could see a date for dos Santos removal forced upon him.

He however moved preemptively to set his own timeline.

“I recommend that it would be most prudent that the party’s extraordinary congress which will resolve the question of the leadership of the MPLA be in December 2018 or April 2019,” he told the central committee at the opening of the meeting.

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