Guinea-Bissau’s President José Mário Vaz has fired Prime Minister Carlos Correia, who has been in office for barely seven months, and dissolved the entire government, Reuters Africa reports.
Correia’s sudden dismissal on Thursday threatens to extend the ongoing political instability in the West African country particularly since his appointment in September last year was expected to end the crisis sparked by conflicts within the ruling party PAICG (African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde).
While announcing the dismissal, President Vaz made sweeping criticisms, saying:
“Carlos Correia’s government is incapable of managing the crisis and creating better political and institutional conditions for (the government’s) full function.”
President Vaz also instructed PAICG to immediately select a new cabinet that will lead Guinea-Bissau out of the current political turmoil.
Correia, who was the third person to be appointed Prime Minister in a span of three months, and his allies are yet to comment on the dismissal.
Local sources say the streets are relatively calm, but security agents have been deployed at all state institutions.
Political Situation in Guinea-Bissau
Since gaining its independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has endured periodic political conflicts, with numerous military coups, some of which have left many people dead and others displaced.
The current crisis started in August 2015 following the dismissal of Prime Minister Domingos Simões Pereira by the incumbent President Vaz, a move that set the president against his own ruling party PAIGC.
This was followed by the appointment of Baciro Dja as Prime Minister. He was forced to resign a month later after the Supreme Court nullified his appointment, terming it as unconstitutional.
On 17 September, 2015 Correia was appointed Prime Minister in an attempt to unite the party, but the continued presence of former Prime Minister Pereira in Correia’s government as the Vice-Prime Minister caused further divisions instead.
It is this power struggle that led the nation’s parliament to reject the 2016 budget after 15 PAIGC deputies abstained from voting. The 15 dissenters were then expelled from parliament.
Later, parliament adopted three resolutions, which included a censure motion against the government, reinstatement of the dismissed deputies and the dismissal of Pereira and Cassama from the party.
Many are now interpreting the President’s move to dissolve the entire government as an attempt to ratify the three resolutions passed by parliament.
Rumors of a pending coup in the West African country are also rife.