Dos Santos’ children want former Angolan president buried in Luanda but after August 24 election

FILE - Former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos arrives at the Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka, Zambia, April 12, 2008. Former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos has died in a clinic in Barcelona, Spain after an illness, the Angolan government said. He was 80 years old and died following a long illness, the government said Friday, July 8, 2022 in an announcement on its Facebook page. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

Former Angolan president, José Eduardo dos Santos will be buried in the capital Luanda but only after the August 24 general election, according to letter by his children.

The letter, signed by dos Santos’ five children, ends a dispute between the former head of state’s family and the government over whether he should be buried in Angola or the Spanish city of Barcelona, where he had been living.

FILE PHOTO: Former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos. /CFP

Current president, João Lourenço had previously ordered a government commission to arrange a state funeral for dos Santos in Luanda but the family dismissed that plan claiming their father wanted to be buried in Barcelona for undisclosed reasons.

“Whatever the result of the next elections, in the future, we, the family, together with the institutions and the elected president, will collaborate in the union of the nation and, with the necessary time, organise the conditions for the homage and the national funeral of the Father of the Nation, our father, José Eduardo dos Santos,” the letter read in part.

In the letter, the family also thanked the people of Angola for their support and called for respect for the mourning, adding that they wanted a mausoleum to house their father’s remains.

“We, children of Engineer José Eduardo dos Santos, call on everyone to respect our customs, our ancestral values and our religious beliefs.”

It, however, remains unclear if the government will target members of dos Santos’ family after the burial as some of them have not been in the country after President Lourenço’s administration launched investigations into how they gained their wealth.

One of dos Santos’ daughters, Isabel, once ranked the richest woman in Africa, was named a formal suspect over allegations of mismanagement, embezzlement and money laundering during her time as chairwoman of Sonangol.

Additionally, as part of the investigation, an Angolan court froze assets in the country that belonged to Isabel dos Santos.

José Filomeno Zenú was found guilty of attempting to embezzle up to 1.5 billion U.S. dollars from the sovereign wealth fund, which he headed from 2013 to 2018. In 2020 he was jailed for five years.

(Story compiled with assistance from wire reports)