26 September 2017

President Joao Lourenco's Inauguration

Angola’s new President, Joao Lourenco, also known as J-Lo to the media, will be sworn in as the third President to be in office after 42 years of independence. . Joao Lourenco was Defense Minister of the political party the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) up until July 2017. The party won 61.1% of the vote and 150 seats. He will be succeeding Former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who was president of Angola for 38 years.

26 Heads of States from various countries were invited by the Angolan government to witness the inauguration. The  guest list included Russian President Vladimir Putin, British PM Teresa May, PM of India Narendra Modi to name a few. A dozen of invited guests have already arrived including South African President Jacob Zuma and Rwandan President Paul Kagame. The ceremony was held at the Republic Square in the capital Luanda.

                                        Who is Joao Lourenco?

He was born on 5th March, 1954 in Lobito, Angola and named Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco Angola gained independence when he was 21 and he was one of those that fought against the colonial ruler, Portugal. He took part in  the civil war that lasted 27 years and involved liberation movements that seized power of the capital city Luanda between MPLA and the opposition UNITA (The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola). After he became a member of the Marxist MPLA he travelled to the Soviet Union in 1978 and studied a history course for party cadres at the Vladimir Lenin Military academy. When he returned to Angola he quickly rose to the rank of General and established his position with the MPLA.

His ambitions to become President were nearly written off when Dos Santos once indicated in 2003 that he was ready to step down. Dos Santos’s indecisive mindset on his resignation was a political strategy to see if there were party members who had ambitions of power within the MPLA. Lourenco’s aspirations caused him to become a political outcast for 10 years as Dos Santos considered this as being opportunistic.  

However, he took on various positions in the MPLA government, namely Political Chief of the Armed Wing in the civil war, Governor of the Eastern province in Moxico, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, and finally in 2014 was appointed as the Defense Minister.

Lourenco is married to Ana Dias Lourenco, a former Minister who worked for the World Bank and together they have six children who are also politically active.

Congratulations to President Joao Lourenco as he takes office!

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