Since his death, the body of former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos has been a subject of public debate as his wife and daughter are in disagreement on where to bury him.
However, yesterday, a Spanish ruled in favour of the wife of the former leader, saying the remains of Eduardo dos Santos be handed over to his widow for repatriation and burial in Angola.
The former president reportedly died last month on July 8, in the northeast area of Barcelona in a health facility.
Since his death, there has been a legal battle between his widow Ana Paula Cristovao dos Santos and one of his daughters, Welwitschea “Tchizé” dos Santos. The widow has begged the court to release the body of her late husband to enable the country to carry out a befitting state burial for him before the country’s general elections on August 24.
However, the daughter Welwitschea dos Santos through her lawyer, opposed the decision to transfer her father’s body back to Angola, saying that she wants him buried in Spain. After the court verdict, the lawyer of “Tchizé” dos Santos immediately announced in a statement that her client would appeal this court decision, saying the court that ruled in the matter was not competent.
The appeal will be filed shortly before the same court that made the decision in favor of the widow of the former president.
In its ruling, the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) said it had received the results of the autopsy performed on the remains of José Eduardo dos Santos on the same day and said it had confirmed that it was a “natural death” due to “chronic cardiorespiratory failure”.
To justify its decision to give the body to his last wife, the court emphasized that “the expenses of housing of the deceased were paid by the Angolan government” and that “he had received visits from Angolan officials while he was in Barcelona.
Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who led Angola without sharing from 1979 to 2017, died at the age of 79 in a Barcelona clinic, where he was hospitalized after a cardiac arrest on June 23.
His placement in intensive care had revealed very strong tensions within the family between his last wife, Ana Paula, a former air hostess 18 years his junior, and “Tchizé” dos Santos, 44 years old, born from the first marriage of the former president.
This last one had thus lodged a complaint in Spain a few days before the death of her father for “attempted homicide”. She accused her father’s personal doctor and his last wife of being responsible for the deterioration of his health. Judging the death “suspicious”, she had then obtained from the justice that an autopsy be performed.
“Since their separation in 2017 and until last April, Ana Paula had not visited” her husband in Barcelona, had also assured “Tchizé” dos Santos in a statement issued by his lawyers.
She was especially opposed to the return of the remains of her father in Angola, saying he wanted “to be buried in privacy in Spain”, where he lived since 2019, and not in his country “with a national funeral that could favor the current government” of President Joao Lourenço in the election of August 24, according to a statement from his lawyers.
Joao Lourenço, who José Eduardo dos Santos had chosen to succeed him, will run for a second term in this election, which promises to be difficult for him, according to experts, as many Angolans are disappointed by his economic policy. “Tchizé” dos Santos seems to fear that the government will use a national funeral for his father to campaign for the coming elections.
Source: Africa News