Guinea-Bissau’s junta has named a failed presidential candidate to govern the country for two years. The United Nations has condemned the move in West Africa’s narcotics hub. The naming of Manuel Serifo Nhamajo, the former speaker of parliament, to head an interim government was made jointly late Thursday by the military – whose coup last week preempted a presidential election runoff – and Guinea-Bissau’s main opposition, the Party for Social Renewal. Nhamajo’s nomination was immediately rejected by the ousted governing party, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). Its secretary general, Luis Olivares, described the appointment as “unconstitutional.”
Guinea-Bissau’s military junta said on Wednesday it would take two years to restore democratic rule in the West African state through elections that will be set by a soon-to-be-named caretaker government. The announcement came after broad international condemnation of the shadowy “Military Command” which seized power last week and cut short a presidential poll by detaining its front-runner, former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior. The former Portuguese colony has seen several coups and army revolts since independence in 1974. The latest coup was a blow to efforts by Western donors to reduce military meddling in the country’s politics and counter the influence of drug-trafficking cartels using Guinea-Bissau as a transshipment point.
Guinea-Bissau: Security Council Urges Political Parties to Engage in Dialogue Ahead of Run-Off Election | allAfrica.com
The Security Council today urged political parties in Guinea-Bissau to engage in dialogue ahead of the upcoming run-off elections next month to ensure a peaceful conclusion to the electoral process that started in January, and to be able to maintain unity and stability in the country. “The members of the Security Council called upon all political leaders and their supporters to exercise restraint and to refrain from any action that could hamper the electoral process,” said Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant of the United Kingdom, which holds the Council’s presidency this month, in a press statement. The West African nation is undergoing a political transition as a result of the death of President Malam Bacai Sanhá in January, which prompted early elections – the first round of which were held on 18 March. A run-off is now scheduled for 22 April between former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior and ex-president Kumba Yala.
Guinea Bissau’s election commission on Wednesday rejected opposition complaints of fraud during a March 18 first-round presidential vote in the West African state, and set a decisive run-off for April 22. The election to replace Malam Bacai Sanha, who died in a Paris hospital in January after a long illness, was meant to usher in stability to the coup-prone country, which has become a transhipment point for Latin American cocaine bound for Europe. Former prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior, who fell just short of an outright majority in the first round, is meant to face rival Kumba Yala in the run-off, but Yala has said he will boycott the vote in protest over alleged first-round rigging. Yala and four other opposition leaders filed a formal complaint with the national election commission last week, saying that Gomes Junior orchestrated “massive fraud” that included widespread double-voting.