24.7 C
Saturday, December 14, 2019

Candidates ramp up campaign ahead of Guinea-Bissau presidential elections

Elections are less than a week away in Guinea Bissau, where residents are hoping to emerge from years of political stagnation. On November 24, voters will choose the next president.

President Jose Mario Vaz is the first democratically-elected president in Guinea-Bissau’s history to finish his term.

He is up for re-election, but is facing stiff competition from several opponents, including former prime ministers Carlos Gomes, Jr. and Domignos Simoes Pereira.

Vaz campaign spokesperson Herry Mane said the president should be re-elected to move the country forward with needed reforms.

“In the country, corruption was installed at the highest level,” he said. “Drug trafficking, with collaboration of a lot of people, was installed at the highest level, we needed to fight that. We needed to make reforms, but reforms are not easy.”

Vaz’s five-year term has not been without turmoil.  When the president fired Pereira as prime minister in 2015, a political stalemate between Vaz and the majority party PAIGC ensued.

The country went through years of no new legislation being passed.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) stepped in to mediate the crisis and pushed for sticking to the election date.

Vincent Foucher, a researcher for the French National Center for Scientific Research, said ECOWAS was integral for keeping the elections on track.

“Clearly, the international community has been very important in Guinea Bissau in bringing this election about, and bringing also the legislative elections,” Foucher said.

“What is quite significant is that there is a very strong leadership by ECOWAS, which these last few years has basically been enjoying the support of most of their international partners…there’s a sense that, OK, ECOWAS owns this.”

Pereira is running against Vaz as the PAIGC candidate.

Pereira, campaigning in the small towns, has promised better roads, schools and hospitals to rural residents. Everywhere he goes, he wears his signature straw-colored fedora.

The hat is known as “Tchon Na Fria,” which he says loosely translates to “fresh air hat” in local Portuguese-based Creole.  He says it represents a break from the past  including Vaz.

“We cannot afford to continue to have entire families that don’t have anybody to relate to in terms of literacy,” Pereira  said. ”So this has to be a big question. This country needs a restart, fresh air.”

Other main contenders include Umaru Sissoko Embalo, the candidate for MADEM-15, a new party that sprouted up during the political stalemate, and Nunu Nabiam, the candidate for PRS opposition party, which usually enjoys the support of the Balanta community, the largest ethnic group in Guinea Bissau.

As election day approaches, trucks drive by with music and slogans blaring from loudspeakers. Most residents hope this election will keep the country on a democratic path and give it a functioning government again.


Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Latest News

Court jails Sudan’s Omar al Bashir for corruption

A court in Sudan convicted former President Omar al-Bashir of money laundering and corruption on Saturday, sentencing him to two years in a rehabilitation...

Twins who married same man for 9 years now divorced, waiting for one man to love them both

Meet Owami and Olwethu Siko, the twins from Gauteng, South Africa who were once married to the same man, TV director Mzukiseni Mzazi when...

Bosnia to release table tennis players to Nigeria

Bosnian authorities have told the BBC that two Nigerian students who were wrongfully deported to Bosnia from Croatia will soon be sent home, but...

UN expert report unmasks Libya arms embargo violations

From buying an Irish navy boat re-registered as a "pleasure yacht" to enlisting a Canadian firm to recruit Sudanese fighters -- Libya's warring parties...

Action Against Hunger says Islamist group has killed 4 workers held hostage in Nigeria.

An armed group that kidnapped humanitarian workers in northeastern Nigeria five months ago has claimed it killed four hostages, international aid agency Action Against...

Russia calls for talks in Libya after Haftar calls on forces to advance

Russia’s foreign ministry on Friday called for dialogue between hostile groups to resolve the crisis in Libya, the Interfax news agency reported, a day...

Cameroon MPs debate autonomy for the Anglophone region

Members of parliament in Cameroon are debating whether to grant more autonomy to the country's Anglophone regions where thousands of people have died in...

Omar al-Bashir’s wife summoned over finances

The wife of ousted Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, Widad Babiker, has been summoned for questioning over possession of land and bank accounts, Arabic-language website...

Ex-Algeria PM elected president as thousands prepare to protest

Former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune was elected Algeria’s new president after a vote the authorities hope will end months of turmoil, but demonstrators who...

UK’s Johnson claims Brexit mandate as Conservatives secure majority in British election

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has won a thumping majority of seats in Britain’s Parliament — a decisive outcome to a Brexit-dominated election...

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -
%d bloggers like this: