An Angolan activist, Hugo Kumuelo Sebastiao has downplayed reports indicating that the country’s long time ruler Eduardo dos Santos will not be seeking a new mandate in 2017.
The ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party last Friday announced the Defence Minister Joao Lourenco as its new leader.
The choice of Joao Lourenco who is also the party’s vice president, was said to have been approved by the party’s highest decision making body.
Hugo Sebastiao however argues that replacing dos Santos who has ruled for 37 years with another candidate from the MPLA is in effect no change at all.
“Joao Lourenco is not going to do anything other than follow the line taken by the MPLA. And for us to change the candidate does not mean there will be a change for the 2017 elections,” Sebastiao said.
“The people must approve the selection of another candidate who is not a candidate of the MPLA,” he said adding that “for us it will be of more value if we get a candidate who is not in the MPLA to lead Angola and take over the country’s destiny.”
He also questioned the timing of president dos Santos’ decision to step down.
“The President of the Republic should have done this a long time and to do that today is a façade because the problems that Angolans have had for a long time, for 41 years that they have been governed by the regime of the MPLA, still exist today.”
At a party congress in March this year, the 73-year-old president announced that he would step down from leading the party in 2018, but when the party met for another congress in August, the elected him again as their leader.
Angola’s constitution does not provide for a presidential election, but specifies that the post of head of state reverts to the leader of the party that wins the legislative election.