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Guinea-Bissau’s president says decision to fire former PM is irreversible

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The President of Guinea-Bissau, José Mário Vaz, has described his decision to fire former Prime Minister Aristides Gomes and his entire cabinet as irreversible.

Vaz claimed that Gomes showed recalcitrance towards him, removing any chance of teaming up with the sacked prime minister again.

“I can assure you that my decision to remove the government (of Aristides Gomes) is irreversible. My decree will not be trampled on,” President Vaz said on Sunday, 3 November 2019, during his first campaign meeting for the 24 November presidential elections for which he is a candidate.

According to Vaz, who was speaking in Pitche, a town in eastern Guinea-Bissau, he was forced to part ways with Gomes because there was no possibility of cohabitation with him.

“He was not even attending the meetings I was convening,” he claimed.

At the beginning of last week, President Vaz sacked Gomes and his entire cabinet before naming a new prime minister four days later, in the person of Faustino Fudut Imbali.

Gomes’s successor went on to form a 31-member government.

Aristides Gomes rejected his dismissal and claimed that his government was still in charge.

His defiance was on the grounds that President Vaz, whose term of office ended in June 2018, was not constitutionally mandated to dismiss him.

Meanwhile, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediator in the Guinea-Bissau crisis seems to be sympathetic to Gomes, urging Vaz to respect the roadmap the regional grouping has outlined for the country.

It recommends keeping the former government in place until the presidential election.

Similarly, the African Union, the European Union, the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP) and the United Nations condemned President Vaz’s decision to sack Gomes, pointing out that they will not cease recognising his government.

Going further, ECOWAS, which sent a mission to Bissau on Saturday, 2 November 2019, issued a thinly-veiled threat to impose sanctions on those considered an impediment to the holding of presidential election later this month.



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