Angola declares 7 days of national mourning after Jose Eduardo dos Santos death

José Eduardo dos Santos.

Angola has declared seven days of national mourning following the death of former leader Eduardo dos Santos.

President João Lourenço made the announcement on Friday and described dos Santos death as a big loss to the country

“What I have to say is that Angola has just lost a great son, someone who dedicated his entire youth, his entire life, for the good of Angola and the Angolans,” President Lourenço said.

The former leader commonly known as José Eduardo dos Santos died in Spain Friday where he had been hospitalised for several weeks.

According to a presidential decree, the national mourning begins at midnight on July 9, 2022.

“The President of the Republic decrees, under the terms of Article 120(m), Article 125 (4), both of the Constitution of the Republic of Angola, and Article 5(4)(a) of Law No. 5/11, of 21 January, the amendment of Article 1(2) of Presidential Decree No. 167/22, of 8 July”, the decree reads.

Meanwhile, President Lourenço also said that his main focus was on organising a state funeral adding that allegations of preventing his predecessor´s daughters from entering the country were baseless. 

There were allegations on social media Friday that Angolan government would not allow former President José Eduardo dos Santos daughters Isabel and Welwichia dos Santos return.   

“Our focus at this time is on the organization of the funeral ceremonies and, in principle, no authority in the country has the power to prevent an Angolan citizen who is living abroad from returning to his own country, no matter what the circumstances”.

“If we take into account the current circumstances, for the most part, we do not see why the family, who is abroad, should not be able to accompany their loved one”, President Lourenço also said.     

President Lourenço has also announced a commission to organise Eduardo dos Santos' funeral. However, Dos Santos daughter Welwitchia requested that the Teknon medical centre retain the body of her father until a proper autopsy has been performed following fears that the body could be transferred to Angola, according to her lawyers.