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Finding peaceful solution in Guinea Bissau

Apr 30, 2012, 2:49 PM

It was not long ago, precisely two weeks ago, when we said in these pages that leaders of the sub-region must unite in purpose against any form of coup in Guinea Bissau, and ensure that they address any form of crisis in that country with urgency.

Today it seems our point is being noted, with the meeting in Banjul yesterday of all the various stakeholders in Guinea Bissau including representatives of the military junta, political parties and other stakeholders together with some foreign ministers from West Africa, with a view to finding a lasting solution to the crisis in that country.

We have always indicated that recent actions by the military in Guinea Bissau are clear indications of the level of power struggle among its members.

This is, no doubt, a cause for concern for not only the sub-region, but the African continent as a whole.

Unconstitutional seizure of power should not be condoned any more in Africa, and we urge the Bissau army to ensure a quick return to civil and constitutional rule.

The military putsch in the poor, volatile former Portuguese colony was the second such military seizure of power in West Africa in a month, following the earlier coup in Mali in March that has raised fears of worsening instability in the region.

As has been seen by its recent actions, the international community, especially the regional bloc ECOWAS, should take action against the country and its military leaders involved in the coup, should they fail to restore the country to civilian rule.

Guinea Bissau is no stranger to political violence. Its political history has been mired in intrigue, cold calculation and outright violence, since its political independence from Portugal.

Analysts have blamed the country’s army for the perennial instability that has left the mineral-rich nation weak, poor and vulnerable to economic predators of questionable stuff and means.

However, the democratic process in that country should not be threatened, and the army must perform their constitutional responsibilities only.

We must stress that the issue of tribalism and nepotism is not good for the progress of any country, as suspected is the case in Guinea-Bissau.

These menace would not take any country forward; rather, what it does is to take that country backward.

Bissau Guineans must show serious commitment to restore democracy in their country, for the betterment of the country and the sub-region as a whole.

In conclusion, we commend our regional leaders and the ECOWAS Commission for the move, but with a word of caution, since this should not be the end.

They should make sure that recommendations and resolutions are implemented for the betterment of all Africans.

“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.”

Peace Pilgrim