João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço GColIH (born 5 March 1954) is an Angolan politician who has served as the 3rd president of Angola since 26 September 2017.[4] Previously, he was Minister of Defence from 2014 to 2017. In September 2018, he became the Chairman of the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the ruling party. He was the party's Secretary-General from 1998 to 2003.

João Lourenço
Lourenço in 2023
3rd President of Angola
Assumed office
26 September 2017
Vice PresidentBornito de Sousa
Esperança da Costa[1]
Preceded byJosé Eduardo dos Santos
Minister of National Defence
In office
22 April 2014 – 24 July 2017
PresidentJosé Eduardo dos Santos
Preceded byCândido Pereira dos Santos Van-Dúnem
Succeeded bySalviano de Jesus Sequeira
Chairman of Southern African Development Community
Assumed office
17 August 2023
Preceded byFelix Tshisekedi
Personal details
Born (1954-03-05) 5 March 1954 (age 70)
Lobito, Portuguese Angola
Political partyMPLA (since 1974)
SpouseAna Afonso Dias
Alma mater
Nickname(s)Ti Mimoso,[2] JLo[3]

João Lourenço was designated in December 2016 to occupy the party's number one position in the August 2017 legislative election. In terms of the 2010 constitution, "the individual heading the national list of the political party or coalition of political parties which receives the most votes in general elections ... shall be elected President of the Republic and Head of the Executive" (Article 109).[5][6] As the MPLA won a majority of 150 seats, Lourenço automatically became President of Angola, succeeding José Eduardo dos Santos, who had been in power for 38 years. Lourenço was officially sworn into office on 26 September 2017.[7]

Early life edit

Born in 1954, Lourenço grew up in a politically engaged family of ten children. His father, Sequeira João Lourenço (1923–1999),[8] a native of Malanje, was a nurse and nationalist, who served three years of imprisonment in Portuguese Angola for illegal political activity.[9] His mother, Josefa Gonçalves Cipriano Lourenço (1928–1997),[10] a seamstress, was a native of Namibe.[11] He received both a primary and secondary Portuguese-language education in Bié Province and Luanda.[12]

Education and military career edit

Lourenço studied at the Industrial Institute of Luanda and later participated in the liberation struggle in Ponta Negra,[13] in August 1974, where he was part of the first group of MPLA soldiers to enter Angolan territory via Miconge, towards the city of Cabinda after the fall of the Portuguese colonial regime.[14]

He began his military career fighting against the Portuguese in the Angolan War of Independence and fought as a member of the MPLA in the Angolan Civil War.[15] Lourenço conducted his training in artillery and then became a political officer in the MPLA. In 1978, Lourenço traveled to the Soviet Union and studied at the Lenin Military-Political Academy, where he furthered his military training and completed a master's degree in Historical Sciences.[14] He later returned to Angola in 1982. Now an artillery general, Lourenço turned towards politics and in 1984 was appointed as Governor of Moxico Province.[16]

Political career edit

Lourenço with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018
Lourenço with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018
Lourenço with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2019

Lourenço's early politics were mainly confined within the MPLA as an officer responsible for keeping guerrilla soldiers' morale high. Following his appointment as Governor of Moxico Province in 1984, he continued to rise through the ranks of the ruling party.[15][17] He also served as the provincial commissioner of Moxico Province for the MPLA, president of the Regional Military Council of the 3rd Military Political Region, First Secretary of MPLA and Provincial Commissioner of Benguela Province.[14] He was the MPLA's Secretary for Information from 1992 to 1997 and President of the MPLA Parliamentary Group in the National Assembly from 1993 to 1998.[18]

At a party congress, he was elected as Secretary-General of the MPLA on 12 December 1998. His election was said to be linked to the favour of President José Eduardo dos Santos and it was thought that Lourenço could potentially succeed the long-ruling dos Santos at some point.[19] However, after dos Santos said in 2001 that he would not seek re-election as president,[20] Lourenço openly expressed an interest in becoming the MPLA's presidential candidate and thereby damaged his standing with dos Santos, who apparently had no real intention of leaving office, but had sought to expose political rivals.[15][21][22] Juilão Mateus Paulo succeeded him as MPLA Secretary-General at a December 2003 party congress.[21]

Lourenço was First Vice-president of the National Assembly from 2003 to 2014.[18] He was appointed as Minister of Defense in April 2014,[23] and he was designated as vice-president of the MPLA in August 2016.[24] In September 2018 he became the Chairman of the MPLA, replacing José Eduardo dos Santos.[25]

Lourenço is very close to Elliott Broidy. Through Broidy's firm Circinus, Broidy allegedly received $6 million in January 2017 for lobbying on behalf of the interests of Angola by arranging meetings with Angolans and several Republican United States Senators including Ron Johnson and Tom Cotton, fostering a closer relationship between Washington, and Luanda, attempting to arrange meetings among Lourenço and Mike Pence and Donald Trump and allowing Lourenço to attend a September 2017 event at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club of which Broidy is a member, however, Lourenço did not attend.[26][27]

In December 2016 the MPLA designated Lourenço as the party's top candidate in the 2017 legislative election.[28] He was elected President of Angola on 23 August 2017 and took office on 26 September becoming the third President in the country's history. On 8 September 2018, he was elected President of the MPLA, Angola's ruling party since 1975, becoming its 5th party leader.

In June 2018, Lourenço legalised Angola's first LGBT collective. The following January, he replaced the 1886 colonial law banning homosexual acts, and prohibited discrimination against LGBT people. The reforms also permitted abortion in cases of rape or danger to mother or fetus.[29][30][31]

Personal life edit

He is married to Ana Afonso Dias Lourenço, a Member of Parliament of the MPLA and former Minister of Planning, who held a position at the World Bank in Washington D.C. until October 2016. They have six children, all of whom are currently active in the MPLA.[22] Apart from his indigenous Umbundu language[citation needed] and Portuguese, he speaks Russian, Spanish, and English.[32] He is popularly nicknamed "Ti Mimoso"[2] and "JLo".[3]

Honours edit

Foreign honours edit

References edit

  1. ^ Investidura do Presidente da República. Rádio Nacional de Angola. 15 September 2022.
  2. ^ a b Catarina Machado. "Luaty Beirão está 'malaike' com exoneração de Isabel dos Santos." Archived 1 September 2021 at the Wayback Machine TVI 24. 16 November 2017. Retrieved 30 August 2021. (in Portuguese)
  3. ^ a b "Joao Lourenco: Can 'Angola's JLo' fill Dos Santos' shoes?". BBC News. 25 August 2017. Archived from the original on 26 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  4. ^ Eisenhammer, Stephen (26 September 2017). "Angola's first new president in 38 years vows to fight graft". Reuters. Archived from the original on 16 July 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Angola's Constitution of 2010" (PDF). Oxford Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press). 6 June 2017. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 October 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Constituição da Républica de Angola" (PDF) (in Portuguese). World Intellectual Property Organisation. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 June 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Angola swears in Lourenco, first new president for 38 years". News24. Archived from the original on 27 July 2021. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  8. ^ "Sequeira João Lourenço, 1923 – 1999". My Heritage. Archived from the original on 24 August 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Angola : qui est Joao Lourenço, l'ancien général désigné comme successeur de Dos Santos ?" (in French). Jeune Afrique. 4 February 2017. Archived from the original on 27 August 2022. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Josefa Gonçalves Cipriano Lourenço (born Cipriano), 1928 – 1998". My Heritage. Archived from the original on 24 August 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  11. ^ "Huíla: João Lourenço entre en pré-campagne" (in French). Agência Angola Press. 18 February 2017. Archived from the original on 23 August 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  12. ^ "JOÃO LOURENÇO COMANDA CAMPANHA DO "M"" (in Portuguese). OPAÍS. 10 February 2017.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Refers to the Ponta Negra in Angola; not to be confused with the city with a similar name in Brazil.
  14. ^ a b c Steven Mufson (18 February 2017). "Quem é João Lourenço, o homem que irá suceder a José Eduardo dos Santos?" (in Portuguese). OBS. Archived from the original on 23 August 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  15. ^ a b c "Lourenco: Ex-general poised to be Angola's next leader" Archived 23 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Agence France-Presse, 3 February 2017.
  16. ^ "Angola's new 'president in waiting'". Deutsche Welle. 3 February 2017. Archived from the original on 28 July 2019. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  17. ^ Steven Mufson (21 May 2017). "After 37 years, Angola will get a new president. Can Joao Lourenco reduce widespread corruption?". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 19 August 2017. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  18. ^ a b Kumuênho da Rosa and João Dias, "João Lourenço é o candidato escolhido pelo MPLA" Archived 1 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Jornal de Angola, 4 February 2017 (in Portuguese).
  19. ^ "MPLA chooses new Secretary General" Archived 2 June 2021 at the Wayback Machine, Angola Peace Monitor, 28 December 1998.
  20. ^ "Dos Santos to bow out" Archived 3 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine, IRIN, 24 August 2001.
  21. ^ a b "Dos Santos at the helm" Archived 14 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine, IRIN, 17 December 2003.
  22. ^ a b (, Deutsche Welle. "Who is Angola's new president Joao Lourenco? | Africa | DW | 26 September 2017". DW.COM. Archived from the original on 11 November 2017. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  23. ^ "Angola: Presidente nomeia João Lourenço para ministro da Defesa Nacional" (in Portuguese). Agência Angola Press. 22 April 2014. Archived from the original on 7 July 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  24. ^ "Nova liderança no MPLA, João Lourenço é o novo vice-presidente" Archived 19 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Voice of America, 23 August 2016 (in Portuguese).
  25. ^ "Ex-Angola president dos Santos quits last political post". Africanews. Archived from the original on 26 October 2019. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  26. ^ Vogel, Kenneth P.; Kirkpatrick, David D. (25 March 2018). "Fund-Raiser Held Out Access to Trump as a Prize for Prospective Clients". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 25 June 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  27. ^ Biddle, Sam (22 June 2018). "Trump Insider Wanted to Sell Social Media Surveillance Tools to Abusive Governments, Leaked Documents Suggest". The Intercept. Archived from the original on 25 June 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  28. ^ Herculano Coroado, "Angola's Dos Santos not up for re-election in 2017 – party document", Reuters, 3 December 2016.
  29. ^ Soares, Cristina (25 January 2019). "Angola despenaliza homossexualidade" [Angola decriminalises homosexuality] (in Portuguese). Radio France Internationale. Archived from the original on 12 July 2022. Retrieved 12 July 2022.
  30. ^ "Angola despenaliza homossexualidade" [Angola decriminalises homosexuality]. Diário de Notícias (in Portuguese). 24 January 2019. Archived from the original on 19 January 2022. Retrieved 12 July 2022.
  31. ^ "Angola despenaliza homossexualidade e permite aborto em certos casos" [Angola decriminalises homosexuality and permit abortion in certain cases] (in Portuguese). Grupo Globo. EFE. 24 January 2019. Archived from the original on 12 July 2022. Retrieved 12 July 2022.
  32. ^ "Angola's President Dos Santos anoints deputy Lourenco". BBC News. 3 February 2017. Archived from the original on 20 October 2021. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  33. ^ @hagegeingob (4 May 2018). "On the 40th anniversary of Cassinga Day, 4 May 2018 Namibia awards to H.E. João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, The Orde…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  34. ^ "Home". Archived from the original on 24 February 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  35. ^ "Boletín Oficial del Estado: A-2023-2706".
Political offices
Preceded by
Celestino Figueiredo Tchinhama Faísca
Provincial Commissioner of Moxico
Succeeded by
Jaime Baptista Ndonge
Preceded by Provincial Commissioner of Benguela
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Cândido P. dos Santos Van-Dúnem
Minister of Defense
Succeeded by
Salviano de Jesus Sequeira Kianda
Preceded by President of Angola