Guinea-Bissau faces crisis as former PM refuses to step down
Johannesburg – A bitter power struggle for control of Guinea-Bissau is continuing after President Jose Mario Vaz appointed Faustino Imbali as the new prime minister with his sacked predecessor Aristides Gomes refusing to step down, intensifying a bitter power struggle between Vaz and the ruling party weeks ahead of a presidential election.
Ahead of the November 24 poll Vaz, who will run again for the presidency dissolved his government late on Monday saying the political situation was undermining the normal functioning of state institutions in the West African country, the Uganda Observer reported.
Gomes asserts Vaz's orders are illegitimate arguing that the president’s term technically expired on June 23. However, West African regional bloc ECOWAS declared a few days later that Vaz could stay in office through to the November election.
Since its independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has suffered repeated political instability which has involved nine coups or attempted coups, a spike in cocaine trafficking from South America which has been linked to senior military officials.
However, since Vaz came to power in the 2014 elections the country has been largely peaceful despite clashes over the balance of power in the semi-presidential system with a string of prime ministers put forward by the African Party of the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which controls a majority in parliament.
African News Agency (ANA)