By Arnaldo Vieira
In many circumstances, a former president’s son marrying his successor’s daughter would be a union made in political heaven.
It would guarantee the former president a sympathetic ear at the top and assure the incumbent of access to old political networks; a capital that comes in handy in holding on to power.
In Angola, however, the speculation around the marriage of Angolan President João Lourenço daughter, Ms Cristina Giovanna Dias Lourenço, and former President José Eduardo dos Santos son, Mr Joess Avelino Gourgel dos Santos, is one that the influential families may not exactly be keen on.
“With former president José Eduardo dos Santos and President João Lourenço relationship not good enough the young couple was afraid to go on but later decided to formalise their relationship,” media reports revealed.
The media reports said last month that the couple, which has been dating for the past two years, was set to be engaged.
“The announcement was not welcomed by both family members,” the private Club K reported.
Neither was a date for the engagement was not mentioned.
The couple have known each other since they were students in UK. Mr Joess dos Santos graduated in architecture at Oxford Brookes University while Ms Cristina graduated in Economics from the London School of Economics. Mr dos Santos currently works in civil construction sector while his bride to be works for the country’s finance ministry.
The president, also father of the bride-to-be would be expected to meet at the engagement ceremony where body language could betray and show the strain between the two family heads.
The strain between the Presidents
President Lourenco took over following an election in September 2017 marking the end of President dos Santos’s 38-year reign. President Lourenco was dos Santos defence minister.
The unease stems from a deep falling out between the two leaders as Mr Lourenco seeks to be his own man by breaking from the previous establishment which is tainted by corruption in the former President’s regime, also father of the groom.
In his resolve, loyalties and family ties count for nothing. He has waged an anti-corruption war that has seen several close associates of his predecessor implicated in wrongdoing.
He has also launched a large-scale purge in the administration and public companies, mainly targeting the relatives of his predecessor.
In his corruption purge Mr Lourenco sacked one of dos Santos siblings José Filomeno dos Santos Zenú who was the head of the country’s sovereign fund in January 2018. He was freed from custody in March after six months.
Mr Zenú was detained in September at the São Paulo Prison in Luanda over the suspect transfer of $500 million from the Fund.
Mr Lourenco also sacked Isabel, the former president’s eldest daughter, as the chair of the board of the state-owned oil firm Sonangol.
Mr Dos Santos, on the other hand, cannot countenance how his chosen successor can be so ungrateful and has shown his disdain at every opportunity, including refusing to fly the country’s national carrier, TAAG Angola Airlines.
On Monday the former President travelled to Spain for regular check-up but was criticised by Mr Lourenço’s office for not following protocol.
He opted to fly with a foreign airline instead of the national carrier.
The office also said he ignored arrangements made by the presidency for his stay in Spain.
A new warfront between the families unfolded on Thursday after President Lourenco cancelled a mobile phone license awarded to a local startup, Telstar, in a $120-million deal.
Telstar was established only in January 2018 with army general Manuel Joao Carneiro and entrepreneur Antonio Cardoso Mateus among its shareholders.
Other reports said the company has links to Mundo Telecomunicaçoes, an operator owned by several former ministers or advisers to the ex-president.
Lourenco swept to power in 2017 after pledging to clean up Angola’s endemic graft, tackle nepotism, and revive its listless economy.
Amidst all the political game playing, My Wedding wishes the couple a successful breakthrough. to their D-day.