Levi Mukarati in Luanda, Angola
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa will today join other Heads of State and Government here for the funeral service of former Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, who died at a private clinic in Barcelona, Spain, early last month.
President Dos Santos is set to be buried later today, the day he would have turned 80.
President Mnangagwa arrived at the Fourth of February International Airport in Luanda last night accompanied by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Fredrick Shava and other senior Government officials.
He was met at the airport by Angolan Foreign Minister of External Relations Tete Antonio and Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Luanda Thando Madzamuse.
Former president Dos Santos took leadership of Angola in 1979 following the death of Agostinho Neto.
The late president Neto was Angola’s first president after independence from Portugal in 1975, having led the Peoples Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) to victory.
Following his death, former president Dos Santos, who joined MPLA and anti-colonial movement while in school, took over and inherited a civil war that was backed by the West, in an attempt to remove the elected government.
He managed to bring an end to the decades-long conflict in 2002. The late former president was also instrumental in establishing a multi-party system in Angola, attracting significant foreign investments.
He presided over liberalisation of Angola’s economy and development of the country’s oil sector, which is one of the leading in Africa.
Former President Dos Santos is recognised internationally for an anti-colonialism stance and promotion of peace negotiations to end conflicts in the region.
He retired from the presidency in 2017 and was succeeded by MPLA party mate and former defence Minister Joao Lourenco.