- At last, the Bissau-Guinean President, João Bernardo “Nino” Vieira, succumbed to mountains of pressures of the main opposition parties surrounding the appointment of a consensus Prime Minister for his poverty-stricken country.
In a radio address on Monday, Mr Vieira read a Presidential decree to announce the appointment of Martinho Ndafa Cabi, the leader of the main opposition African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), as the new Premier. PAIGC holds the majority in Bissau’s parliament with 45 representatives. He is a former Minister in Guinea-Bissau.
Mr Cabi replaced Aristide Gomes who resigned from office on 29 March - exactly 10 days after the parliament moved a vote of no-confidence against his removal.
Mr Gomes, who was accused of being a close ally of President Vieira, was appointed to the post on 2 November 2005 following the sacking of Carlos Gomes Junior.
The new PM said his first pre-occupation has to do with reconciling Bissau-Guineans who have been divided by political, social and other problems. He said in the absence of reconciliation and unity, meaningful development will not take place in the country.
“It’s also my priority to organise the upcoming legislative polls in a state of peace and fairness,” he said, adding that eradication of famine or hunger as well as address the country’s ailing economic problems also rank high on his agenda.
It is obvious that the new Premier’s Herculean task will be to address the problems of salaries of civil servants who have not been paid for over eight months.
Opposition activists suspended their strike against the failure of their President to appoint a consensus Prime Minister after Mr Vieira decided to breakaway from his long silence on the issue. He held consultation with opposition parties on the issue.
Since it attained independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has been going through leadership crisis. But analysts linked the country's major problem to the lack of adequate human resources among its ruling class.
In recent weeks, Guinea Conakry and Côte d'Ivoire that have been at the centre of crisis, also decided to seal their differences after their governments appointed consensus Prime Ministers.
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