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In new sign of rising political instability, President Sissoco Embaló dissolved parliament in bid to strengthen his hand amid tensions within ruling coalition. Embaló 16 May dissolved parliament, accusing MPs of “corruption, harmful administration and embezzlement”; same day said “persistent and unresolvable” differences between National Assembly and other govt branches created “space for guerrilla politics and plotting” and scheduled early parliamentary elections for 18 Dec. After Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) new stabilisation mission late April arrived in Guinea-Bissau, head of former ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), Domingos Simões Pereira, 4 May suggested deployment amounts to “invasion”, lamented ECOWAS bought into Embaló’s narrative of coup plot following early Feb attack on govt palace.
Murky attack on govt palace exposed fragility of President Sissoco Embaló’s seat and gave rise to competing narratives. Heavy gunfire 1 Feb broke out in capital Bissau near govt premises where Embaló and PM Nuno Nabiam were chairing cabinet meeting; Embaló hours later said govt forces had repelled attackers and declared situation under control; also suggested apparent “assassination attempt” aimed to end his fight against drug trafficking. Govt 2 Feb said 11 people killed in firefight, including four civilians; media reported seven security personnel, three civilians and one assailant killed; medical sources mentioned only eight killed. Embaló 10 Feb said three people previously detained by U.S. authorities on drug-trafficking charges were behind coup plot, including ex-Navy chief Bubo na Tchuto; also said all three had been arrested. Main opposition party African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cabo Verde (PAIGC) in following days expressed skepticism about president’s narrative, with party leader Domingos Simoes Pereira 3 Feb telling Deutsche Welle “such a coup would be an ideal pretext to intensify his purge of internal critics and opposition figures”; Prosecutor General’s Office 22 Feb barred Pereira from leaving country, citing legal cases against him. West Africa’s regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), 1 Feb condemned “coup attempt” and 3 Feb said it will deploy stabilising force to country.
NGOs accused authorities of suppressing dissent. NGO Committee to Protect Journalists 16 March said four unidentified gunmen 9 March abducted journalist António Aly Silva in capital Bissau and later beat him unconscious; President Embaló had reportedly called Silva few days before to complain about article critical of govt. NGO National Network of Human Rights Defenders in Guinea-Bissau 26 March denounced increasing violence against human rights activists, especially in country’s south.
Former PM Aristide Gomes 12 Feb left country to neighbouring Senegal; Gomes had sought refuge in UN premises in capital Bissau in early 2020 as authorities initiated several investigations against him.
Authorities issued international arrest warrant against opposition leader and intercommunal violence broke out near capital Bissau. Attorney General’s Office 18 Dec said it had issued international arrest warrant against runner-up in 2019 presidential election and leader of main opposition African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), Domingos Simões Pereira, without elaborating on charges against him; Pereira, who went into exile in Portugal in early 2020, had early Dec announced his intention to resume political activity in Guinea-Bissau. UN mission Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) ended 31 Dec; UNIOGBIS Head Rosine Sori-Coulibaly mid-Dec said UN would continue to guarantee safety of former PM Aristides Gomes, who took refuge in UN mission headquarters in early 2020. Meanwhile, President Embaló 16 Dec threatened to dissolve National Assembly and call for early legislative elections, due to boycott by PAIGC deputies of parliamentary session on 2021 budget. Intercommunal violence erupted near Bissau: ethnic Yunkun and Thun communities 29 Dec clashed over land dispute in Nhoma town, 25km north of Bissau, leaving at least four dead and several wounded.
Former PM Aristides Gomes filed human rights complaint against govt. Gomes’ lawyers 19 Nov said they had filed legal complaint to West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS alleging govt’s “forcible confinement” of Gomes at UN mission headquarters in capital Bissau, where he took refuge earlier this year as authorities initiated several investigations against him.
Amid harassment of civil society activists, opposition denounced judicial proceedings against former PM. Guinea-Bissau Human Rights League 6 Oct said unidentified individuals previous day abducted two civil society activists, Queba Sane and Carlos Sambu, near capital Bissau and released them next day; Attorney General Fernando Gomes 8 Oct promised investigation into circumstances of activists’ kidnapping; in joint press conference, Sane and Sambu 9 Oct said elements of presidential security service arbitrarily detained and beat them in presidential palace 5-6 Oct. Lusa news agency 13 Oct revealed Court of Appeals had put former PM Aristides Gomes under house arrest in Aug on suspicion of embezzlement; Gomes took refuge in UN mission headquarters in Bissau after being dismissed by President Embaló in Feb. Opposition African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde parliamentary leader Califa Seidi 21 Oct denounced govt persecution of Gomes, saying cases were being “forged” against him. Attorney General’s Office 30 Oct said Gomes was under investigation in three separate cases.
Following longstanding electoral dispute, Supreme Court confirmed Umaro Sissoko Embaló’s victory in 2019 presidential election. Supreme Court 7 Sept confirmed President Embaló’s victory in late 2019 election, rejecting challenger Domingos Simões Pereira’s appeal; election had sparked months-long standoff amid fraud allegations. Pereira same day acknowledged decision put end to electoral dispute but maintained allegations of electoral fraud. Regional bloc Economic Community of West African States mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB), whose mandate expired 10 Sept, continued to withdraw its troops from country. Amid international concern over resurgence of drug smuggling in Guinea-Bissau, police 11 Sept arrested head of migration agency, Colonel Alassana Diallo, on allegations of cocaine trafficking. Health authorities 14 Sept said COVID-19 situation was beginning to “stabilise” with number of new cases reaching plateau.
UN condemned stifling of dissent amid persistent standoff between govt and opposition. At UN Security Council meeting 10 Aug, Special Representative and Head of UN peacebuilding mission in Guinea-Bissau Rosine Sori-Coulibaly said “political crisis and parliamentary paralysis” since late-2019 presidential election has left country in fragile state, with “arbitrary arrests, intimidation and detention” of opponents, journalists and civil society leaders contributing to “hostile” atmosphere of mistrust; Sori-Coulibaly also warned that mandate of UN mission in Guinea-Bissau – which involves restoring political stability – will unlikely be fulfilled before it expires in Dec, and urged President Embaló to implement reforms outlined in 2016 Conakry agreement, which comprises constitutional revision aimed at establishing better checks and balances. At same meeting, UN Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Ghada Fathi Waly warned against resurgence of transatlantic cocaine trafficking in Guinea-Bissau, urged for coordinated response to make sure 2019 anti-trafficking achievements, including security operations which led to seizure of roughly 3 tonnes of cocaine, were not carried out in vain. Regional body Economic Community of West African States mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB) 27 Aug started to withdraw its troops from country; withdrawal due to be completed by Dec 2020.
President Embaló tightened his grip on power despite mounting international pressure to reach compromise with opposition. UN Security Council 1 July expressed concern over “ongoing political and institutional crisis” and called on Embaló to compromise with African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cap Verde (PAIGC), winner of 2019 legislative elections, to form govt “in full compliance with the provisions of the Constitution”. PAIGC contested legality of parliament’s late June approval of Nuno Gomes Nabiam as PM. PAIGC parliamentary group leader Califa Seidi 1 July said vote was “null and void”, citing procedural flaws; PAIGC leader Domingos Simões Pereira 5 July accused security forces of coercing five PAIGC MPs into voting for Nabiam. Meanwhile, Embaló 3 July reinstated five ministers he had dismissed in June to secure parliamentary majority. Embaló 7 July announced forthcoming referendum to change constitution, and said authorities would start tracking citizens’ communications within next ten days, citing need to “provide security and tranquillity to the citizens” by monitoring “insults under the guise of anonymity in the media or social networks”; several jurists immediately criticised “violation of constitution”. Group of “armed men in uniform” 26 July reportedly vandalised broadcasting equipment of independent Rádio Capital FM in capital Bissau; PAIGC same day accused authorities of staging attack; govt denied accusations. High Commissioner in charge of COVID-19 response 6 July said official figures on cases and deaths were “not even close to reality”, citing country’s low screening capacities. Embaló 25 July extended coronavirus state of emergency until 24 Aug but announced lifting of international travel restrictions.
President Embaló secured majority in Parliament, opening way for long-delayed formation of new govt. After weeks of power struggle between Embaló’s MADEM G-15 party and African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cap Verde (PAIGC), winner of March 2019 parliamentary elections, over formation of new govt, Embaló 28 June dismissed five ministers, including defence and interior ministers; all five resumed positions as MPs that had remained vacant since their nomination within govt, allowing Embaló to move closer to securing majority in Parliament. In parliamentary session next day, 55 out of 102 lawmakers approved Embaló’s candidate Nuno Gomes Nabiam as PM, opening way for formation of new govt; several PAIGC MPs reportedly turned sides and supported Gomes Nabiam. Embaló 25 June extended COVID-19 state of emergency for one month and lifted curfew. Media reports late month argued country is facing “one of Africa’s worst COVID-19 related crises” as political crisis prevents efficient response to limit spread of virus.
New President Embaló moved toward constitutional reform and failed to meet regional bloc ECOWAS-imposed deadline to form new govt. Embaló 11 May announced creation of expert commission to propose constitutional amendments by mid-Aug; move follows ECOWAS calls in late April for constitutional reform. NGO Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime published new report 11 May alleging that Embaló’s presidency might be prompting resurgence in cocaine trafficking, citing his suspected close ties to drug lords in military; notably, several police agents apparently left country in recent weeks after alleged threats and intimidation by military, reportedly leading to slowdown in drug-related investigations. Embaló failed to meet ECOWAS-imposed deadline of 22 May to form new govt, as four out of five MPs within PM Nabiam’s Assembly of the People United-Democratic Party of Guinea-Bissau, including MP Marciano Indi, continued to reject alliance with Embaló, saying 2019 coalition agreement with leading party in parliament, African Party for the Independence of Guinea, remains valid; unidentified individuals same day reportedly briefly abducted MP Indi near capital Bissau. Embaló 26 May extended COVID-19 state of emergency into June.
Umaro Sissoco Embaló, whom electoral commission declared winner of late 2019 presidential election, consolidated power amid COVID-19 pandemic and despite persisting controversy about election results. Supreme Court’s de facto president 2 April rejected some judges’ call to examine leading party in Parliament African Party for the Independence of Guinea (PAIGC)’s latest appeal against results of Dec 2019 presidential runoff vote, saying court would sit only when COVID-19 related state of emergency is lifted. Embaló’s govt stepped up pressure on some members of previous PAIGC-dominated govt. Notably, former Minister of Justice and Human Rights Ruth Monteiro 1-2 April said authorities prevented her twice from leaving country in March and distributed list with names of former ministers to airport and border posts to prevent them from leaving country; authorities 3 April denied existence of travel ban. Public Prosecutor’s office 8 April summoned Monteiro to hearing on charge of refusing to return vehicles to authorities, compelled her to appear regularly before authorities to confirm identity and continued residence in country. Bissau Regional Court 2 April sentenced twelve individuals to fourteen to sixteen years in prison for having smuggled nearly two tons of cocaine into country in Sept 2019. Embaló’s govt 6 April apologised for “excessive police actions” after human rights groups condemned alleged abuses by security forces while enforcing COVID-19 restrictions, including beatings and extortions; Embaló 12 April extended state of emergency for another fourteen days. Regional body ECOWAS 22 April recognised Embaló as president. Embaló and two PAIGC officials reportedly met 29 April in Bissau in bid to resolve crisis.
Post-election standoff persisted between Umaro Sissoco Embaló, whom electoral commission declared winner of Dec 2019 presidential runoff vote, and ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea (PAIGC), which has been challenging results before Supreme Court. After PAIGC-controlled parliament late Feb swore in parliament’s President Cipriano Cassamá as interim president, Cassamá resigned 1 March, citing death threats. Regional body Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) 2 March asked armed forces to remain neutral following deployment late Feb of security forces aligned with Embaló in and around major institutions. Embaló 2 March named govt of PM Nuno Gomes Nabiam, who next day urged public servants to resume work; however incumbent PM Aristides Gomes, who refused to stand down, same day rejected order and asked civil servants to stay at home instead. Nabiam 8 March confirmed that his party rescinded their coalition agreement with PAIGC, but some of its MPs maintained support for PAIGC, blocking Nabiam’s ability to secure majority at Assembly. Same day, ECOWAS cancelled expert mediation mission due 9 March after Nabiam condemned “foreign interference” and called for departure of ECOWAS military mission in Bissau (ECOMIB) at its expected termination date end of March. By 11 March, ECOMIB had removed its troops, which were securing houses of Aristides Gomes, Cassama and Supreme Court judges. EU Foreign Policy Chief Borrell 12 March asked parties to prioritise dialogue and expressed support for ECOWAS mediation. Embaló embarked on diplomatic tour, meeting Senegalese, Nigerien and Nigerian presidents 9-13 March and securing their support. Backed by armed forces, Embaló and Nabiam progressively took over state bureaucracies throughout month, but controversy carried on. Nabiam 27 March proclaimed state of emergency amid COVID-19 pandemic, which critics denounced as step to stifle debate.
Post-electoral standoff intensified as ruling party continued to contest its candidate’s defeat in late Dec 2019 presidential election. Electoral commission (CNE) 4 Feb again confirmed former PM Umaro Sissoco Embaló as winner after regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) 31 Jan requested it respond to Supreme Court’s request to make further checks. Defeated candidate of ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) Domingos Simões Pereira 5 Feb filed new appeal with Supreme Court requesting election be annulled, citing irregularities. ECOWAS 9 Feb gave Supreme Court six days to release ruling; latter 14 Feb denounced interference by regional bloc, rejected Pereira’s appeal, but requested CNE again check results’ accuracy. Embaló 19 Feb denounced ruling, while CNE said it had already fulfilled similar request and results were definitive. ECOWAS 22 Feb called on CNE and Supreme Court to break deadlock, warned it may impose sanctions against actors who hamper resolution of post-electoral standoff. Pereira 26 Feb filed new complaint with Supreme Court. Both sides late Feb took steps to affirm their grip on power: Embaló 27 Feb took oath as president during ceremony at hotel reception hall in Bissau organised by parliament’s VP Nabiam, in presence of outgoing President Vaz and senior military officials and 28 Feb appointed Nabiam as PM; PAIGC denounced moves as coup attempt and PAIGC-controlled parliament same day swore in parliament’s President Cassamá as interim president. Security forces aligned with Embaló reportedly increased their presence in Bissau 28-29 Feb.
Post-electoral standoff emerged amid allegations of fraud in second round of presidential election late Dec. After national electoral commission (CNE) 1 Jan said former PM Umaro Sissoco Embaló had won with 53.55% of votes, defeated candidate Domingos Simões Pereira of ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) complained of fraud and 3 Jan appealed to Supreme Court to annul results. Supreme Court 11 Jan called on CNE to clarify certain aspects of results. CNE responded to Court’s queries and 17 Jan gave final results, confirming Sissoco’s victory, but Supreme Court same day insisted it demanded recount. CNE 22 Jan said it had submitted additional documents to Supreme Court, called for Sissoco to be sworn in. Regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) acknowledged Sissoco’s victory 22 Jan but 30 Jan sent mission to Bissau, insisted CNE should comply with Supreme Court’s demand.
Former PM Umaro Sissoco Embaló 30 Dec won in second round of presidential election 29 Dec with 53.55% of votes, beating former PM and candidate of ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) Domingos Simões Pereira. Pereira denounced electoral fraud, and submitted appeal at Supreme Court 3 Jan.
In 24 Nov presidential election, former PMs Domingos Simoes Pereira and Umaro Sissoco Embaló came first and second with 40% and 28% of votes respectively and will contest second round planned for 29 Dec; tensions and violence could rise in coming weeks. Incumbent President Vaz came fourth with 12%, 28 Nov conceded defeat. Vaz’s campaign team accused rivals of buying votes and stuffing ballot boxes; electoral authority 25 Nov denied claims, said vote was transparent. Minor clashes involving party supporters or police broke out in several places including Bissorã in north, Canchungo in north west and Empada in south west, and in neighbourhoods of capital Bissau. After Vaz late Oct dismissed govt and replaced PM Gomes, African Union’s Peace and Security Council 7 Nov deemed removal of Gomes “illegal”. Heads of state from regional bloc Economic Community of West African States at extraordinary summit in Niger 8 Nov said decision violated country’s constitution and threatened to apply sanctions if govt of Vaz-appointed PM Imbali did not resign. Imbali resigned same day and Gomes resumed his functions.
Ahead of 24 Nov presidential election, tensions mounted as President Vaz dissolved govt and tried to replace PM Gomes raising risk of protests and violent repression by security forces in coming weeks. Supreme Court 16 Oct approved twelve of nineteen would-be presidential candidates, including incumbent President Vaz and representatives of main political parties. Parliament 15 Oct approved PM Gomes’s program by narrow margin, but vote divided ruling coalition: notably Nuno Gomes Nabiam, presidential candidate and leader of Assembly of the People United (APU), voted against program. Tension rose over updating of electoral rolls. Nabiam 14 Oct said ruling party African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) used money earmarked for updating electoral rolls to finance its activities. Mission including representatives of African Union (AU), UN and regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) visited capital Bissau 7 Oct, insisted on adherence to electoral schedule and said that previous rolls should be used in absence of agreement on revisions. PM Gomes 22 Oct said his former ally and opposition leader Umaru Sissoco Embalo, also presidential candidate, was preparing coup; recording of conversation between Sissoco and unidentified man about fomenting trouble circulated on social networks. Sissoco denied accusations. Police 26 Oct cracked down on opposition protest in Bissau calling for revision of electoral rolls and delay of presidential election, one person reportedly killed. President Vaz 28 Oct dissolved govt saying political situation was undermining normal functioning of state institutions and 29 Oct named Faustino Fudut Imbali (PM from 2000 to 2003) as PM, but incumbent PM Gomes refused to step down. ECOWAS same day rejected Vaz’s decision and insisted Gomes was still PM; UN, AU and Angola supported ECOWAS position.
Ahead of presidential election scheduled for 24 Nov, nineteen individuals put forward candidacies, including incumbent President Vaz. Judiciary, which needs to approve applications, 24 Sept went on strike to demand better police protection and working conditions, potentially delaying vote. PM Gomes deferred vote on his program and budget, initially due 23 Sept.
After electoral commission 10 July announced that presidential elections would take place 24 Nov, several candidates came forward. Opposition party Movement for a Democratic Alternative G-15 (MADEM G-15) 9 Aug elected former PM Sissoco Embaló as its candidate. After conducting primaries 23 Aug, African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) same day announced leader Domingos Simões Pereira as its official candidate, who pledged to leave PAIGC if elected. Incumbent President Vaz did not take part in MADEM G-15’s primaries and 29 Aug officially announced his independent candidacy for second term. Govt 16 Aug announced process to update electoral rolls and include around 24,000 disenfranchised voters, which MADEM G-15 called “omen for electoral fraud”. Opposition Party for Social Renewal (PRS) same day announced court action for injunction of review process due to “lack of legal framework”.
Following 23 June reappointment of Aristides Gomes as PM, President Vaz 3 July nominated Gomes’s proposed cabinet and Ladislau Embassa as attorney general. New govt mainly comprising members of African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde’s (PAIGC) and its allies took office 4 July. PM Gomes same day nominated 21 new advisers, including PAIGC’s leader Domingos Simões Pereira as special adviser to PM and head of Office to Support Reforms; civil society organisations criticised appointments as “nepotism” and waste of public funds. After electoral commission 10 July set 24 Nov as date of presidential election, National Assembly President Cipriano Cassamá announced his candidacy, adding that if he won Pereira would be his PM; Pereira 11 July reminded Cassamá that PAIGC would opt for primaries to choose candidate. Former PAIGC leader and former PM Gomes Júnior 13 July also announced his candidacy.
President Vaz reappointed PM Gomes ending three-month stalemate, Vaz’s term ended 23 June, and regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said Vaz would remain in office until Nov presidential polls, but play no part in govt. With Vaz refusing to name as PM leader of ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) Domingos Simões Pereira, PAIGC 22 June, as compromise, proposed that Aristides Gomes continue as PM for second term “on behalf of peace and stability”; Vaz same day announced Gomes’s nomination but held off approval of cabinet. Opposition parties allied to Vaz Movement for a Democratic Alternative G-15 (MADEM G-15) and Party for Social Renewal (PRS) did not attend nomination ceremony. Parliament 27 June voted (54 to 48) that Vaz should step down and parliamentary speaker Cipriano Cassama should become interim president until Nov presidential elections. At 29 June summit, ECOWAS said Vaz would remain in office until Nov polls, but play no part in govt affairs. Attorney general 30 June opened criminal inquiry against speaker and PAIGC’s parliamentary leader for “subversion of democratic order” for trying to unseat Vaz. Struggle over parliamentary leadership continued to fuel protests: opposition parties MADEM G-15 and PRS demanded PAIGC accept their proposals for vice presidents of parliament; opposition and ruling coalition’s supporters staged rallies 6-7 June. After parliament 11 June suspended its session due to protests, MADEM G-15 chairman Braima Camará 20 June withdrew his candidacy for parliament’s vice-presidency in bid to resolve crisis and maintain peace; MADEM G-15 leadership same day said it would continue discussions to determine alternative candidate.
After ruling party won 10 March legislative elections, tensions persisted as President Vaz resisted pressure, including protests organised by ruling party, to name PM to form new govt; further protests could face violent repression in coming weeks especially around end of Vaz’s term 23 June. Ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) and opposition continued to contest appointment of two vice presidents of parliament, which Vaz made a precondition for him to name new PM and cabinet. In capital Bissau, thousands of PAIGC supporters protested 14, 22 and 25 May calling on Vaz to name party leader Domingos Simoes Pereira as PM. Supreme court 15 May rejected appeal by two opposition parties allied to Vaz, Movement for a Democratic Alternative G-15 (MADEM G-15) and Party for Social Renewal (PRS), against PAIGC’s alleged attempts to block their nominees for first and second vice presidents of parliament, opening way for nomination of parliament’s bureau and govt. PAIGC leader Pereira 30 May insisted President Vaz nominate PM before end of his presidential term 23 June. P5 group that comprises African Union, Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, ECOWAS, EU and UN 27 May called for immediate nomination of PM and formation of govt. Public and utilities sector workers 22 May started new three-day strike over unpaid wages and poor working conditions.
Following 10 March legislative elections, ruling party and opposition faced off over appointment of two vice presidents of parliament. Opposition parties Movement for a Democratic Alternative G-15 (MADEM G-15) and Party for Social Renewal (PRS) 24 April announced court action against ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) due to its attempts to block their nominees for first and second vice presidents. Mission from regional bloc Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) arrived in capital Bissau 30 April to help break impasse.
Legislative elections took place 10 March after four years of political stalemate. In provisional results published 13 March, ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) came first with 47 of 102 seats. PAIGC 12 March forged agreement to form govt with other parties which hold seven seats. Teachers’ unions 2 March ended public schools strike, saying govt had met demands, namely payment of salary arrears and publication of official status of teacher’s career. Classes resumed 6 March. Security forces 9 March seized almost 800kg of cocaine near Safim, country’s biggest ever seizure; arrested four men in connection with drugs, including adviser to Niger’s parliamentary speaker.
Strikes and protests continued in run-up to legislative elections in March. Journalists working for public media went on strike 1-4 Feb to denounce censorship and demand payment of salaries. Teachers’ union 5 Feb said authorities had failed to keep commitments made in Jan, threatened to resume strike. Angry at paralysis of schools, students protested in capital Bissau 8 Feb; protests turned violent, protestors looted shops, ruling party headquarters and minister’s house, security forces arrested eight. Govt 8 Feb said funds needed to pay teachers’ Dec and Jan salaries were available, but teachers resumed strike 14 Feb. Campaigning for 10 March legislative elections started 16 Feb. UN Security Council representatives visited country 15-16 Feb, urged President Vaz, PM Gomes, political party leaders and electoral commission officials to work for free, fair and peaceful legislative and subsequent presidential elections.
24 parties registered candidates ahead of 10 March legislative elections.
Public prosecutor 6 Dec suspended voter census ahead of 2019 legislative elections after platform of political parties made allegations of fraud; 13 Dec allowed census to continue “under monitoring” after West Africa regional organisation ECOWAS 13 Dec called for elections to be held by end of Jan and for date to be set before organisation’s next summit 22 Dec; govt 17 Dec said census would end 19 Dec; President Vaz 20 Dec announced legislatives elections would take place 10 March. Teachers’ unions 3 Dec launched new fifteen-day strike over unpaid salaries and poor working conditions; 18 Dec refused to sign memorandum negotiated with govt to end crisis.
Govt 19 Nov announced new extension of voter census by fifteen days until 5 Dec, likely delaying legislative elections initially scheduled for 18 Nov until 2019. Teachers’ unions 1 Nov launched new 30-day strike over unpaid salaries and poor working conditions. Students demonstrating in capital Bissau 8 Nov to denounce paralysis of education sector clashed with police, at least eight wounded and five others arrested.
Teachers’ unions 1 Oct launched 30-day strike over unpaid salaries and poor working conditions after govt failed to implement deal that unions made with govt in 2017. Thousands protested in capital Bissau 21 Oct against lack of transparency and irregularities in voter registration process ahead of legislative elections scheduled for 18 Nov. Govt 22 Oct announced extension of voter census by one month until 20 Nov, likely delaying vote.
Electoral commission 8 Sept said legislative elections scheduled for 18 Nov should be postponed due to delays in organising vote, while regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) called on country to organise vote as planned. Census of voters started 20 Sept one month late.
Govt and National Union of Workers 1 Aug agreed on new salary scale for civil servants, to be applied from Sept, with minimum wage rising from FCFA29,000 ($51) to FCFA50,000 ($88) a month. Civil servants 2 Aug said they had suspended their strike. Public radio and television employees 7 Aug started five-day strike to demand better salaries and working conditions. PM Gomes 9 Aug said legislative elections scheduled for 18 Nov may be postponed due to delayed arrival of equipment for registering voters.
Public radio and television employees 17 July started three-day strike, joining ongoing civil servants’ protest movement to demand better salaries and working conditions.
Parliament 19 June approved govt’s electoral calendar and plan to consolidate public finances. National Union of Workers went on strike 19-21 June to demand better salaries for civil servants.
National Union of Workers went on strike 7-9 May to demand better salaries for civil servants, 16 May called for new strike 12-14 June.
President Vaz 16 April named Aristides Gomes as new consensus PM in compliance with Oct 2016 Conakry agreement in bid to end political stalemate; Gomes formed new govt 25 April. Parliament 19 April held first session in two years, extended its own mandate, due to expire 23 April, until legislative elections scheduled for 18 Nov.
Prosecutor General Bacari Biai 13 March sent letter of complaint to regional bloc Economic Community of West African States for applying sanctions early Feb on nineteen politicians and businessmen, including himself, loyal to President Vaz and thus allegedly undermining efforts to implement Oct 2016 Conakry agreement.
For undermining efforts to implement Oct 2016 Conakry agreement, regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) 6 Feb applied sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on nineteen politicians and businessmen loyal to President Vaz: eight of fifteen dissident members of African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), six MPs from opposition Social Renovation Party (PRS) and five others close to him, including his son Emerson Goudiaby Vaz. Thousands of Vaz supporters protested against sanctions in capital Bissau 18 Feb.
PM Embalo resigned 13 Jan to facilitate dialogue to end political impasse, but President Vaz failed to meet 16 Jan deadline set in Dec by regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for him to conform with Oct 2016 Conakry agreement by naming consensus PM. Former FM Augusto Antonio Artur Da Silva sworn in as new PM 31 Jan.
President Vaz 11 Dec invited signatories of Oct 2016 Conakry agreement to fresh talks on way out of political impasse, but African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) and its allies declined, requesting more information on agenda. Following mission in capital Bissau by ECOWAS regional bloc 2-3 Dec, ECOWAS heads of state at 16 Dec summit requested Guinean President Condé and Togolese President Gnassingbé to hold talks with all stakeholders within one month, and threatened “collective or individual sanctions” on those blocking implementation of Conakry agreement.
Several thousand supporters of opposition coalition demonstrated in capital Bissau 16-17 Nov to demand implementation of Oct 2016 Conakry agreement and resignation of President Vaz, clashes with security forces left several injured.
Supporters of opposition coalition comprising eighteen parties demonstrated daily 27-31 Oct to demand dissolution of govt and implementation of Oct 2016 political agreement; party leaders pledged to continue protests until 3 Nov. PM Embalo, leader of opposition African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde Domingos Pereira, and former PM Djá met mediator of political crisis Guinean President Condé in Guinea mid-late Oct to address hold-up in implementation of Oct 2016 political agreement.
President Vaz in Liberia 1 May asked ECOWAS chairperson and Liberian President Sirleaf for greater involvement of regional bloc in efforts to resolve political crisis. ECOWAS 9 May started withdrawing its 500-strong peacekeeping mission (ECOMIB), reportedly as part of sanctions it threatened in April if ruling coalition and opposition failed to make progress on implementation of Oct 2016 Conakry agreement. Vaz 19 May said he would only dissolve PM Embalo’s govt if parliament, which has not sat for one year, voted against its program. Seven political parties same day accused Vaz of breaking terms of Oct 2016 Conakry agreement. About 2,000 members of civil society organisations in capital Bissau demanded Vaz step down to resolve political crisis 27 May.
President Vaz 24 April accused military of plotting coup against him. ECOWAS regional bloc 25 April said it would impose sanctions on those impeding progress if Oct 2016 Conakry agreement between ruling coalition and opposition not implemented within one month, same day announced it would begin withdrawing its 500-strong peacekeeping mission (ECOMIB) 28 April, but late month postponed withdrawal until early May.
Hundreds of protesters in capital 11 March and several thousand 25 March demanded President Vaz step down to resolve political crisis.