Africa’s richest woman and billionaire daughter of Angola’s ex-president, Isabel dos Santos, has said she would consider running for president in the next election in 2022.
Asked in an interview with Portuguese state broadcaster Radio e Televisao de Portugal (RTP) whether she would run for the top job in Angola, dos Santos said it was “possible”.
“I will do everything I need to do to defend and serve my country,” she said in the interview, which was broadcast late Wednesday, an AFP report said.
Dos Santos has been targeted in an anti-graft campaign led by her father’s successor President Joao Lourenco, who has vowed to fight corruption and rebuild the economy of sub-Saharan Africa’s second biggest oil producer.
Prosecutors froze the bank accounts and holdings owned by the 46-year-old businesswoman and her Congolese husband Sindika Dokolo last month.
Dos Santos, reportedly Africa’s richest woman, has denied any wrongdoing and denounced the investigation as “politically motivated”.
The investigation surrounding dos Santos is centred on the alleged use of state-owned companies to siphon off over one billion dollars.
It is delving into irregularities involving Angola’s national oil company Sonangol and Sodiam, a national diamond marketing firm.
Dos Santos was appointed head of Sonangol by her father Jose Eduardo dos Santos in 2016, one year before he stepped down and handed the reins over to Lourenco.
The president forced her out of the position within months of coming to power in 2017.
He has since launched a large-scale purge of the dos Santos 38-year administration, during which top positions were awarded to the ex-president’s cronies.
Dos Santos’s brother Jose Filomeno — nicknamed “Zenu” — went on trial last month for allegedly embezzling $500 million from Angola’s sovereign fund, which he oversaw from 2013 to 2018.
Zenu, who faces a maximum of 12 years in jail if found guilty, is the first member of the dos Santos family to be prosecuted.
“The selective manner of this so-called fight against corruption (is being used) to neutralise future political candidates,” dos Santos told RTP, adding that she continued to be “shocked” by the allegations.
Dos Santos has been named Africa’s richest woman by Forbes magazine, which last year rated her net worth at $2.2 billion (two billion euros).
She has holdings in two private banks, mobile operator Unitel, a supermarket chain and cable television among others.
Libya’s General Khalifa Haftar Agrees To Lift Oil Blockade
Self-styled Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), has said he would temporarily lift his blockade of the country’s oil production facilities.
Speaking on television, Haftar said that he has decided to allow the reopening of Libya’s oil ports “as per conditions and guarantees that ensure a fair distribution of wealth and spare it being plundered or used in terrorism financing.”
This the parliament in eastern Libya, which backed Haftar, resigned following protests in Benghazi and other cities over power cuts and deteriorating living conditions.
Ezzel-Deen al-Falih, a spokesman for the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR), said Prime Minister Abdallah al-Thani tendered the government’s resignation to Speaker Aguila Saleh late on Sunday.
Haftar said Friday’s announcement about lifting the oil blockade followed an agreement with the UN-backed government in Tripoli under which oil revenues would be distributed fairly.
A government minister has said a committee would be set up to oversee the handling of the revenue.
But the national oil company says it won’t resume operations until Gen Haftar’s forces leave the production facilities.
His blockade – which began January – has starved the Libyan economy of billions of dollars of desperately needed export earnings.
Before the blockade, Libya was producing around 1.2 million barrels per day compared to just over 100,000 barrels per day, according to Reuters.
AU Backs Call For Mali Junta To Hand Over To Civilian
The African Union (AU) has backed calls by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that the military junta in Mali appoint civilians to lead the country’s 18-months transition.
The military had overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali on August 18 in a bloodless coup, prompting sanctions from the 15-member regional bloc.
ECOWAS has insisted that the Colonel Assimi Goita-led National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) return Mali to civilian rule. The bloc also demanded that a civilian be named as head of the transition government.
The junta is yet to heed ECOWAS demand despite a deadline expiring on Tuesday. Instead, the junta, which had earlier proposed a two-year transition plan, released a charter reducing the transition period to 18 months.
Now the AU has urged the military junta in Mali to quickly appoint civilian leaders to manage an 18-month transition towards elections.
The AU Peace and Security Commissioner Smail Chergui called for a return to constitutional order.
The AU announced the day after the coup that it was suspending Mali “until restoration of constitutional order”, and it is unclear what additional leverage it has.
Mali’s military rulers met West African leaders this week but the soldiers who seized power appear reluctant to let a civilian lead the transition.
A spokesman for the junta, Colonel Ismael Wague, said after this week’s talks in Ghana that Mali could face a “total embargo” from ECOWAS if it does not quickly appoint civilian leaders.
The sanctions could bite in the poor country already facing a severe economic downturn as well as a simmering jihadist insurgency and chronic inter-ethnic violence.
Wague nevertheless made clear the junta would prefer the transition be run by the military, and claimed that was also the preference of the majority of Malians.
Libya Prime Minister’s Planned Resignation Upsets Turkey
The planned resignation of Libya’s internationally recognised Prime Minister has upset Turkey, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.
Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, an ally to Turkey, had on Wednesday announced his intention to step down from office next month end.
Speaking to reporters in Istanbul on Friday, Erdogan said a Turkish delegation will hold talks on the issue with the al-Sarraj-government in the coming weeks.
“A development like this, hearing such news, has been upsetting for us,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul, adding: “with these meetings, God willing we will turn this issue towards the direction it needs to go.”
Sarraj is head of the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, while eastern Libya and much of the south is controlled by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). His departure could lead to infighting among senior GNA figures.
The civil war has drawn in regional and international powers and Turkey supports the GNA, while the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia back the LNA.
Turkey helped the GNA turn back a 14-month LNA assault on Tripoli in June.
Sarraj’s had on August 21 announced a ceasefire in hostilities with the LNA.
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