News

    Bissau-Guineans Tired of Political Instability

    Torn election campaign posters depicting Carlos Domingos Gomes Jr. line a main road in Bissau.
    Torn election campaign posters depicting Carlos Domingos Gomes Jr. line a main road in Bissau.
    Kate Thomas

    Three weeks after Guinea-Bissau's military seized control in a coup, the country is still in crisis. As West African leaders meet in Dakar on the situation, citizens of Guinea-Bissau have been sharing their thoughts on the way forward.

    Tensions remain high in the seaside capital, Bissau, in the aftermath of the military coup.

    On April 12, soldiers loyal to army chief Antonio Indjai ousted interim President Raimundo Pereira and his prime minister, Carlos Domingos Gomes, Jr.

    Although Pereira and Gomes have since been freed and evacuated to Abidjan, life has still not returned to normal.

    Bullet holes are visible outside the home of Gomes, but electoral campaign posters depicting the ousted prime minister's smiling face still hang from buildings around the capital.

    Gomes was the frontrunner in a second round presidential vote scheduled for the end of April. The election was derailed by the coup.

    Mario Gabriel Incanha, who lives in the capital, Bissau, says the coup was a necessary evil that might ultimately usher in more stability. He says an ECOWAS military force would be a way of stabilizing the country.

    Since independence from Portugal in 1974, periods of stability in Guinea-Bissau have been rare.

    In the last three years, there have been several coups and counter-coups following the assassination of President Bernardo 'Nino' Vieira.

    On Thursday, the European Union slapped economic and diplomatic sanctions on six people who it said played a part in April's coup.

    A Portuguese ship is on standby in Lisbon, in case expatriates have to be evacuated from the former Portuguese colony.

    Support for the military is generally low in Bissau. Most people are desperate for stability to get on with their lives.

    Some public offices and businesses have been closed since the coup. Banks are running skeletal operations, opening in the mornings only because of security concerns.

    Mamamdu Sambu says the military has effectively run the country since the end of the civil war in the late 1990s. He says Bissau-Guineans are tired of the constant rivalry between the military and the government.  He says the way forward is by engaging in dialogue, he said.

    In the evenings, Bissau-Guineans crowd around television sets in order to learn the latest developments.

    But access to state electricity is still sporadic in the country of 1.6 million. Even in the capital, most neighborhoods plunge into darkness after sundown.

    Augusto Correia, who is unemployed, says the ongoing political instability has made everyone's life harder. Instead of enjoying peace and the benefits of development, he says many Bissau-Guineans have to fight to make ends meet.

    During an earlier ECOWAS meeting on Sunday, Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh, who was chairing the crisis talks that day, said West Africa was "losing patience" about the crisis in Guinea-Bissau.

    Many Bissau-Guineans say they feel the same way. They are desperate to see a return to constitutional rule.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora