Guinea Bissau. Conflicts within the ruling party Partido Africano da Independência Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC) caused the party congress to start only in May, almost a year late. At the congress, President João Bernardo Vieira strengthened his position of power.
In January, several officers were arrested for smuggling weapons into the MFDC guerrilla in Casamance in southern Senegal. As a result, Commander Ansumane Mané was dismissed on June 6. Mané and soldiers loyal to him then revolted against the government and the country ended in civil war. Mané claimed that a report to be presented to Parliament in June would have released him from the charges and instead would show that the president himself was involved.
According to Countryaah, the capital of Guinea-Bissau is Bissau. The rebels quickly took control of the airport and a military base near Bissau. Within the army there was a long time dissatisfaction with the regime, and more and more soldiers joined the rebels. According to some data, only 10% of the army was loyal to the president. After just under 48 hours, Vieira asked Senegal and Guinea to intervene. More than 2,000 foreign soldiers, most of them from Senegal, joined the government. The president’s decision to bring in foreign soldiers was also strongly criticized within his own ranks.
Hard fighting continued for two months and most of the capital’s 250,000 residents fled and the 2,000 foreigners in the country were evacuated. A ceasefire was announced on July 26, and a month later, a peace agreement was concluded, which, however, did not come to fruition. The Portuguese-speaking countries’ organization CPLP and the West African cooperation organization ECOWAS continued their mediation efforts.
- Abbreviationfinder: What does GNB stand for in geography? Here, this 3 letter acronym refers to the country of Guinea-Bissau.
Struggles broke out again in October, but on November 1, the parties signed a peace treaty stating that both sides would lay down their weapons and that foreign troops would leave the country. It was decided that the presidential and parliamentary elections should be held by March 1999 at the latest.
Reached independence (1974) after a ten-year anti-colonial war led by the Socialist-inspired Partido Africano da Indipendência da Guiné and Cabo Verde (PAIGC), the country struggled to find real political stability. Within the PAIGC, the single party that assumed the leadership of the government, ethnic clashes emerged, culminating in a coup d’état in 1980: the elite leader, of Cape Verdean origin, was deprived of authority, while the leadership of the party and the country was taken over by JB Vieira, who enjoyed the support of the indigenous population. The persistence of a very difficult economic situation, despite the start of a process of liberalization and opening up to foreign capital, however, also made the stability of the new regime precarious. In the late 1980s, protests against restrictive public spending measures added to growing demands for internal democratization, forcing Vieira to initiate institutional reforms.
In 1991, the approval of constitutional amendments sanctioned the introduction of multi-partyism and, after being postponed several times, the first general elections were finally held in 1994: Vieira was reconfirmed president, while the PAIGC won the absolute majority of seats in the national assembly (62 out of 100). The main opposition party was the Partido da Resistência da Guiné Bissau – Movimento Bah-Fatah (19 seats), an expression of regional interests.
In fact, the internal situation did not undergo significant changes: the political monopoly of the PAIGC remained unchanged, while the delay in solving economic problems kept the social tension high. The government’s attempt to revive a fiscal consolidation policy, in accordance with the demands of the international bodies on which financial aid depended, met with firm protest from the trade unions: in 1995 repeated general strikes finally forced Vieira to grant wage increases to public employees; however, in the following years, the practice of blocking the payment of wages did not cease, with consequent protest actions by the workers (repeated riots were recorded in the capital in May 1997).