JOHANNESBURG, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Angola’s former President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos returned home on Tuesday for the first time since he went into exile in Barcelona in April 2019, the official Angola Press News Agency reported.
Dos Santos stepped down four years ago after nearly four decades as president of Africa’s second biggest oil producer, making him one of the continent’s longest-running rulers.
He was replaced by Joao Lourenco, candidate for the incumbent’s People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). But Lourenco then surprised many by swiftly moving to investigate allegations of corruption during the Dos Santos era, targeting the former leader’s children in seeking to recover billions of dollars of siphoned revenue.
Dos Santos has not himself been charged in any corruption case. He returns ahead of the ruling MPLA’s party congress in December – and presidential elections next year. Angola remains stuck in a five-year long recession, worsened by COVID-19.
Last year, a court in Luanda sentenced Dos Santo’s son, Jose Filomeno Dos Santos, former head of Angola’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund, to five years in prison over a $500 mil