Bissau-Guineans urge politicians to reach consensus: "we are tired and hungry"

4 November 2016 - Guinea-Bissau has been plunged into a crisis since August 12, 2015, after the fall of the government led by Domingos Simões Pereira. Due to this situation, the country has lost many business and investment opportunities, according to economists. The support of international donors at the 2015 Brussels Round Table has also been suspended. The political impasse has dragged the country into an unprecedented socioeconomic crisis and people fear a new civil war in the country.

4 Nov 2016

Bissau-Guineans urge politicians to reach consensus: "we are tired and hungry"

Since the beginning of this crisis, several national and international actors have been involved in the search for a solution. Such efforts have resulted, for example, in the Bissau and Conakry agreements.

 The Bissau agreement identified six steps to achieve stability for the remaining period of the current legislature, which ends in 2018, which includes the following: a dialogue with the various stakeholders; An inclusive consensual government to remain in office until the 2018 legislative elections; The reforms of the Constitution, territorial administration, electoral law and the law on political parties, as well as the strengthening of the justice system; The implementation of reforms in the defense and security sectors; The withdrawal of ECOMIB within six months after the corresponding forces of Guinea-Bissau are trained; And an ECOWAS monitoring and evaluation mechanism to ensure that the conclusions of the dialogue are implemented.

Following the signing of this roadmap, ECOWAS provided a second meeting in Conakry between political actors involved in the political crisis from 11 to 14 October, to overcome the current impasse in the country's governance that counted on the participation of organizations Civil society, religious entities, women's organizations, the international community.

But the Conakry agreements have not yet produced the expected result: the appointment of a consensual personality to head the inclusive government. The agreement provides that within a maximum period of one month following the appointment of the prime minister, a round table of national dialogue should be held to discuss the executive's program. Also according to the text, it is expected that the 15 dissident deputies "are reinstated in the PAIGC, without conditions, but in accordance with the rules in force in the party."

According to Guineans, the actors of the current crisis must respect and implement the agreements signed.

"They must comply with the agreements signed because the population is already tired with the situation that is happening in the country, because they were signing and returned and now they are saying that they do not agree with what they signed" said a citizen in Santo Domingo.

Another citizen said almost the same thing: "I want them to reach a consensus, because we are tired and starving, there is no money because of this situation, but they are eating and we are starving with our family, We want to comply with the agreement of Bissau and Conakry, "lamented Rui, a citizen of São Domingos.

In the Bafata region, citizens feel that any measure to end the crisis is welcome.

"The content of the agreement has great impossibilities to be put into practice because the biggest problem of this impasse is that the interest of politicians is above the interests of the nation. The only way out is for the President to make decisions, which follow strictly respect for democratic rules, which says that the country must be led by the group that won the elections or that the parliament is dissolved and the decision-making power is given back to the people " According to Celestino

In Conakry there were various civil society organizations such as the Guinean League for Human Rights, the Islamic Association, the Women's Political Platform and others.

These organizations have stated that there is only good sense among those involved in the crisis that their implementation is possible.

According to Augusto Mário da LGDH, the accord is very important for Guinea-Bissau, "not only because it suggests a new prime minister but also because it addresses the need to revise the constitution of the republic and adopt a stability pact" but after the return Of Conakry, the actors in the crisis have been interpreting the agreement in different ways, and this worries them.

 "The Conacri agreement must be respected and fulfilled by the actors of the crisis and for that to happen there must be common sense among the parties involved," said Silvina Tavares, president of the Women's Political Platform.