Post-election in Guinea-Bissau: Challenges for the PAI - Terra Ranka Alliance Spécial

In the Timbuktu Institute's weekly column in partnership with Medi1Tv on the socio-political situation in Guinea-Bissau, Dr Bakary Sambe answers questions from Sana Yassari.

Dr. Bakary Sambe, Guinea-Bissau has just held legislative elections, which left all observers and the country's immediate neighbours in a state of anticipation. But in the end, the elections went well. Is this a surprise for a country that has experienced instability in the past?

Elections are generally fair, free and transparent in Guinea-Bissau, and have been since the opening up of democracy in 1994. It is true that post-election periods have always been marred by upheavals and a few incidents. The PAI Terra Ranka Alliance, made up of the PAIGC and 18 other opposition political parties, won an absolute majority in the legislative elections held on 4 June, with 54 seats in a 102-seat parliament. Under Guinea-Bissau's constitution, the PAI Terra Ranka Alliance must therefore, in principle, appoint a Prime Minister who will form a new government. As for President Cissoko Embalo, he has already acknowledged his defeat and promised to cohabit with any Prime Minister from the parliamentary opposition, which now has a majority.  The coming months will tell us how the executive will follow up these good political intentions.

But, Dr Sambe, after the election episode, the question remains of the durability of the PAI Terra Ranka Alliance, and above all its ability to overcome the many obstacles in its path, given the country's political inclinations. Given your knowledge of the context in Guinea Bissau, where the Timbuktu Institute is carrying out peace-building activities, do you think it will be easier this time?

It's true that the people of Guinea-Bissau are wondering how this alliance is going to govern, despite the many political and security challenges we know about. Political parties and civil society have already been warned that no one can lead Guinea-Bissau without including the PRS (Social Renewal Party) and perhaps, who knows? the military. So it remains to be seen whether Domingos Simoes Pereira of the PAIGC will succeed in overcoming the political and institutional crisis that Guinea-Bissau has been facing for a long time. In many respects, it seems to me, this is a very difficult gamble to win. One of the most obvious examples of what some observers consider to be a leadership crisis in which Amilcar Cabral's country is mired was recently in 2020, during the second round of the presidential elections, with all the ups and downs that occurred during this difficult stage in Guinea-Bissau's political life.

Bakary Sambe, you said in one of the local media that everything is urgent in this country. But what do you think are the biggest challenges facing the new alliance that will now govern alongside President Embalo?

Among the heavy tasks awaiting the new government, we must not lose sight of good neighbourly relations with the countries of the sub-region, in particular Senegal and Guinea-Conakry. Another no less important issue is sub-regional integration with ECOWAS. We know that the leader of the PAIGC, Simoes Pereira, and the leader of the Terra Ranka Alliance will have to make efforts to forge closer ties with the ECOWAS Commission. For the PAIGC, there will also be the challenge of reconciliation with Guinea Bissau's immediate neighbours, as well as with ECOWAS, which will be a key ally in the search for funding to implement projects to restructure and demobilise the army, for example, modernise the administration, and rehabilitate the education and health sectors.  In other words, there is no shortage of urgent matters to deal with, and many challenges lie ahead in the medium and long term.

Source : Timbuktu Institute