Lawyers plot to block new post of president's daughter
Twelve Angolan lawyers have decided to block the appointment of the President’s daughter as a non-executive administrator of the state-owned oil firm Sonangol.
President José Eduardo dos Santos, 73, who has ruled the country since 1979 on 2nd June appointed Ms Isabel dos Santos to the high position. The lawyers will hand a petition to the country’s Attorney-General’s Office and file a complaint against the country’s president for allegedly violating public probity laws.
The spokesperson of the meeting Mr David Mendes said a work group will design by 8th June a text to impugn the appointment of Ms Santos and it will be handed on 9th June to the country’s Supreme Court too. “The law says a public agent must not nominate or allow nominations and agreements when there is an intervention of his wife or his first degree relatives,” Mr Mendes told VOA Radio on 5th June. “The appointment is illegal and the law is in on our side to halt the nomination”.
On its part, Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), Angolan main opposition party said the appointment is a clear demonstration of favouritism and corruption inside the ruling party.“The country’s president is trying to place his sons and relatives in key posts of the country and administration” Mr Alcides Sakala, Unita’s spokesperson, said. Unita will analyse the nomination before the country’s law and then decide whether to take the case to court or not, Mr Sakala said.
Casa-CE, Broad Convergence for Angolan Salvation, the country’s third political force, said in a statement that the country’s president has to cancel his daughter’s nomination. “The country’s president has to revoke the decree for not obeying the Administrative Probity Law”. “The question is not the competence and capacity of his daughter but it exacerbates nepotism” Casa-CE statement reads in a part.
Ms Dos Santos has large stakes in many of Angola’s strategic industries, including diamonds, banking, media and telecommunications, with large parts of her business empire based in Portugal. She owns seven per cent of the Portuguese oil and gas company Galp Energia. A statement from her office said that she wanted to “ensure transparency” in the management of Songangol, and to improve the Angolan oil sector’s ability to compete globally.
Ms Dos Santos’ father is Africa’s second longest-serving leader, after Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. In March, the 73-year-old said he was planning to step down in 2018, although he has failed to follow through on similar commitments made in the past.
Being head of the state oil company is “next to the presidency... the most powerful position in the country,” Angola analyst Aslak Orre told the BBC’s Newsday programme. He said that many would see a possible political motive behind the appointment, especially given Mr Dos Santos’ age.
(Daily Nation, Nairobi)