Ousted Guinea Bissau’s PM in 2012 coup returns home

Guinea-Bissau presidential candidate and former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior shows an inked finger after casting his vote in the first round of presidential election in 2012.

BRUSSELS, Belgium––Carlos Gomes Junior, the former ousted former prime minister of Guinea Bissau, who has spent more than five years in Portugal, returned to the country on Thursday amid an unresolved political and economic crisis.

A singing crowds, holding placards which read “the son of the country is back” greeted him at Bissau airport.

“Today, I have returned to embrace my brothers, my friends, to encourage them to find a way out of this crisis through dialogue,” Gomes Junior told supporters of the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC).

“I believe that reconciliation is possible,” he said, telling journalists that he had no intention of returning to politics.

Prime Minister Gomes Junior and his PAIGC government were overthrown in a coup led by the head of the country’s powerful army in April 2012 during a presidential election that he was expected to win.

Prime Minister Umaru Sissoco Embalo submitted his resignation to the president last Sunday in a bid to end a two-year political, social and economic crisis in the poor West African nation.

The tiny West African nation has seen power struggle since August 2015, after President Jose Mario Vaz sacked the then prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira.

The ECOWAS West African bloc urged the country’s leaders during its latest summit on December 16, 2017 to resolve the crisis disfiguring their impoverished nation within two months, or else face tough regional sanctions.

President Vaz and former prime minister Pereira — who heads the ruling party — have accused each other of blocking the implementation of an accord reached in October 2016.

One of the world’s poorest countries, Guinea-Bissau, has been plagued by repeated military coups and political instability since its independence from Portugal in 1974.

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Michael Harrington

Michael Harrington is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.
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