The first daughter of Angola’s ex-president José Eduardo dos Santos has set her sights on Angola's presidency and hopes to win back her father’s seat.
On Thursday, 46-year-old businesswoman nicknamed “The Princess” at home expressed interest in running for the presidency despite facing accusations of diverting more than a billion dollars of state money that has seen some of her assets freezed.
“It’s possible” she said when asked if she would be interested in the role of president, which is next up in 2022 during an interview with Portuguese TV channel RTP.
This comes in the face of increased crack down by incumbent President Joao Lourenco who has come down hard on his predecessor’s children, firing dos Santos from her job chairing oil firm Sonangol and her brother from the sovereign wealth fund.
Dos Santos, her husband Sindika Dokolo and associate Mario Leite da Silva were subject to an asset freeze on December 31 after accusations of steering more than $1 billion from Sonangol and official diamond trader Sodiam to firms where they held stakes.
She has, however, continually denies the allegations terming them as a “witch hunt” forming part of an attempt to erase her father’s legacy and distract from failures under the new government.
In the past, she has consistently identified herself as an entrepreneur, not a politician. Dos Santos holds significant stakes in several important Portuguese firms, including in Eurobic bank, telecoms company NOS, engineering company Efacec, and oil and gas company Galp Energia.
Forbes magazine put her worth at more than $2 billion, while two thirds of her compatriots live on less than $2 a day, according to the World Bank.
At home in Angola, Isabel dos Santos split opinion. Her supporters see her as an inspiring entrepreneur, while detractors see her as the poster child of African corruption.