Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos Angolan greeting the crowd during the final election campaign rally in Kilamba Kaixi on the outskirts of Luanda. Angolans endured a bloody civil war and extreme poverty as for nearly 40 years power rested solely in the hands of autocratic President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. State radio’s announcement on Friday that he will stand down next year appears to be the beginning of the end of one of Africa’s longest reigns, and could open a new chapter for a country largely closed off to the outside world. / AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has been dogged by reports of poor health, has returned to Luanda after nearly a month in Spain, party officials said Tuesday.
Dos Santos’s medical condition has recently been subject to fierce speculation, with his daughter Isabel forced to deny rumours that he had died while in Spain.
Anastacio de Brito, spokesman for the ruling MPLA party, told AFP that the 74-year-old president arrived back in Angola on Monday evening.
The party confirmed for the first time on Monday that dos Santos had undergone medical checks while in Spain on an extended “private visit”.
Dos Santos, who has been in power since 1979, will not contest an election in August, marking a historic change in the oil-rich country.
He has reportedly received cancer treatment in Barcelona over several years.
Defence Minister Joao Lourenco has emerged as Dos Santos’s chosen successor and is on course to take power after the election.
Opposition parties have called for the government to be more transparent about the president’s health.