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Opinions of Friday, 27 December 2019

Columnist: punch.ng

Guinea-Bissau: 40 years of instability

The second and final round of a presidential election take place on Sunday in Guinea-Bissau, which has suffered from regular coups and assassinations since it won independence from Portugal in 1974.

Here are key events in the history of the West African state:

– 1980: First president overthrown –

Six years after independence, Guinea-Bissau’s first president, Luis Cabral, is ousted by Prime Minister Joao Bernardo Vieira, known as “Nino”. Cabral is exiled to Portugal.

In 1985, Vice President Paulo Correia is accused of plotting a coup and is executed along with five other people.

Vieira is elected president in Guinea-Bissau’s first multi-party elections in 1994.

– 1999: Vieira deposed –

Vieira is in turn ousted by General Ansumane Mane in 1999. The former army chief of staff had launched a rebellion after being sacked following accusations he sold arms to separatists in southern Senegal.

Mane takes the helm of a military junta which installs Malam Bacai Sanha as acting president until new elections take place.

But in 2000 Bacai Sanha loses presidential elections to Kumba Yala. General Mane mounts another coup attempt but is killed by soldiers loyal to Yala.

– 2003: Kumba Yala ousted –

General Verissimo Seabra Correia takes power in a 2003 coup, ousting Kumba Yala.

However, Seabra Correia is killed the following year after soldiers demanding arrears attack army headquarters.

– 2009: Vieira assassinated –

Vieira returns to power after winning presidential elections in 2005 and survives a coup attempt in 2008.

The following year, army chief of staff Tagme Na Waie is killed. Soldiers assassinate Vieira a few hours later in an apparent revenge attack.

Army chief of staff Antonio Indjai stages a coup in the middle of a presidential election in 2012.

The military and opposition parties establish a transitional government ahead of a new vote, and the regional bloc ECOWAS sends a stabilisation force comprising more than 700 troops and police.

Jose Mario Vaz comes to power in elections held in 2014.

The following year Vaz falls out with the ruling PAIGC party over his choice of prime minister, precipitating a prolonged political crisis.