Former Angolan leader José Eduardo dos Santos who retained his position as head of the ruling MPLA, says the party should elect a new party leader.
On Friday he announced that he will quit as head of the governing party by 2019.
Dos Santos ceded the presidency to his former defence minister Lourenço following the ruling MPLA’s victory in August elections, but held on to the party’s top job.
The veteran leader, who has ruled for nearly four decades, is battling ill health and said he would retire from politics entirely by April 2019 at the latest, AFP reported. “I cautiously recommend that the extraordinary congress elects a new party leader in December 2018 or April 2019,” he said as he opened a meeting of the MPLA’s central committee.
His intervention comes as Luanda looks to play down speculation of a rift between Dos Santos and Lourenço which has shaken the MPLA leadership.
When he announced he will step down in August last year, many thought he was going to influence decision making in the country through the ruling party MPLA, since he was still the head of the party, but this has not been the case.
Since taking power, Lourenço has waged a crusade against corruption and targeted many appointees of his predecessor, who had held powerful roles in state businesses and institutions.
Two of Dos Santos children, including Africa’s richest woman Isabel, have been removed from key positions in recent months.