News

    Tense Guinea-Bissau Awaits Election Results

    Boys watch electoral officials count votes through a window in Guinea's capital Bissau, March 18, 2012.
    Boys watch electoral officials count votes through a window in Guinea's capital Bissau, March 18, 2012.
    Anne Look

    Vote-counting is under way in Guinea-Bissau following Sunday's presidential poll. The late-night assassination of a key military figure cast a shadow over an otherwise calm day of voting, and highlights the risk of further instability in the coup-prone West Africa country.

    Guinea-Bissau's former military intelligence chief, Colonel Samba Diallo, was shot dead at a bar in the capital Sunday night following the country's presidential election.  

    Sources in Bissau told VOA that the assailants appeared to be renegade soldiers, but the army says it has no information on the incident.

    Military coups, army mutinies and assassinations are commonplace in Guinea-Bissau.

    Guinea-Bissau Elections

    • Guinea-Bissau wins independence from Portugal in 1974.
    • Luis Cabral becomes president in 1974 and is ousted in a 1980 coup led by armed forces chief Joao Bernardo Vieira.
    • Vieira clings to power despite alleged coup attempts and is elected president in 1994 multi-party polls.
    • Guinea-Bissau plunges into a bloody civil war in 1998 after an army uprising.
    • Military junta ousts Vieira in 1999; opposition leader Kumba Yala is elected president in 2000.
    • President Yala is ousted in bloody military coup in 2003; Businessman Henrique Rosa is sworn in as president.
    • Joao Bernardo Vieira wins 2005 presidential vote and is killed by soldiers in the presidential palace in 2009.
    • Malam Bacai Sanha is elected president and while hospitalized in 2011 a military struggle and attempted coup take place.
    • President Sanha dies in January 2012 after a long illness; National Assembly Speaker Raimundo Pereira becomes acting president.

    Political and military leaders have long wrestled for dominance of the tiny coastal nation and, according to analysts, profit from the thousands of kilograms of cocaine trafficked through its Atlantic coastline each week.

    Meanwhile, two-thirds of its inhabitants live in poverty. Corruption runs rampant. No elected president has finished his mandate since 1994.

    Sunday's murder was a troubling sign, following an election many hoped would mark a fresh start.

    Voter Senguda Fonseca says the women of this country are tired. She says we cannot afford to send our children to school. She says our relatives die in misery. She says they need someone who can guide Guinea-Bissau forward.

    In April 2010, Colonel Diallo was arrested by mutinous soldiers and detained for nine months. Then-prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior was also briefly detained. He is now a presidential frontrunner pledging to reform the economy and end drug-trafficking.

    Casting his ballot at an open-air polling station in Bissau Sunday, Gomes said he was feeling calm and confident that the elections would go smoothly. He said his priority will be to serve the country.

    Still, Gomes had ties to Colonel Diallo. Sources in Bissau worry that Sunday's killing could be a warning for the candidate.

    Vincent Foucher, a Guinea-Bissau analyst for the International Crisis Group, says there have been rumors that a victory by Gomes would spark unrest or a military takeover. However, he says that Colonel Diallo had enemies, and it is still unclear what, if any, connection his murder had with the election.

    Guinea-Bissau is voting to replace former president Malam Bacai Sanha, who died in January following a prolonged illness. Sanha had been elected only two years earlier after his predecessor, long-time president Joao Vieira, was assassinated by renegade solders seeking revenge for the killing of the chief of the armed forces just hours earlier.

    Nine candidates are running for the presidency. Gomes' key challenger is former president Kumba Yala, who was overthrown by a coup in 2003. He has strong ties to the military and placed second in the 2009 poll.

    Results are expected within one week. If no candidate wins a clear majority, the vote will go to a second round run-off next month.

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.