- Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau, Aristides Gomes, today did what most African leaders give a try - to tender his resignation, especially at a time when his country is hooked up in political, administrative or economic crisis.
"I tendered my resignation to the President," Mr Gomes told a press conference in the capital Bissau, adding that President João Bernardo "Nino" Vieira is yet to react to his act.
The Prime Minister's resignation followed the ruling party's lost of a vote of confidence in parliament on 19 March. This will force the country's President to dissolve the government.
Activists called Guinea-Bissau's first-ever such move a "healthy political development," worthy of emulation. 54 of the 85 deputies voted in favour of the impeachment of Prime Minister Gomes.
The Bissau government said since the irregularities in the voting process were confirmed by the secretary to parliament, it would file an appeal at the Supreme Court. Such a move is yet to happen. The issue seems to have added confusion in Bissau, with President Vieira keeping mute over it, despite provocation from the press to do so.
President Vieira was left with the choice to either dismiss PM Gomes or dissolve the parliament. His government's main headache has been how to bury its rift with the parliament, which stems from his appointment of Mr Gomes. Even the political parties that ally with Mr Vieira's party questioned the competence of Aristides Gomes.
Mr Gomes, who was appointed to the position in 2005, has been a close friend of Mr Vieira.
Until his overthrow in 1999, Mr Vieira had ruled Guinea-Bissau in an authoritarian way for 19 consecutive years. In June 2005, he came from his six year exile to sweep the free and fair presidential elections in the country.
Bissau-Guineans fought hard to attain their independence from Portugal in 1974. Since then, the country has been confronted with mountains of problems, including shortage of human and material resources, which boomeranged on its development in general.
Most people hold the view that unless it addresses its leadership crisis, it will be hard for the Bissau government to chase political and economic instabilities that have over the years ruined the country's progress.
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