Crisis-hit Guinea-Bissau announces new government

Allen Yero Embalo
Guinea-Bissau said a government led by Prime Minister Baciro Dja, seen on April 12, 2012 in Abidjan, when he was the defence minister, had been formed (AFP Photo/Sia Kambou)

Bissau (AFP) - Guinea-Bissauannounced on Monday a new government led by Prime Minister Baciro Dja had been formed to turn the page on a month-long crisis caused by the sacking of his predecessor.

The new administration, made possible with the blessing of the second-largest party and pro-Dja lawmakers in the ruling party, will comprise 16 ministers and 15 secretaries of state, a presidential decree said.

The new government, whose composition was announced on public radio, will be sworn in at a ceremony at the presidency in Bissau in the evening.

Among the key portfolios, only finance was not immediately allocated, while foreign affairs returned to Rui Dia de Souza, of the majority African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC).

The defence ministry went to Eduardo Costa Sanha, while Octavio Alves becomes the interior minister and Dionisio Cadi gets justice.

Dja was appointed after President Jose Mario Vaz fired his predecessor Domingos Simoes Pereira in August, angering the ruling party and plunging the chronically unstable nation into fresh crisis.

While all three men belong to the PAIGC -- which holds a slender majority in parliament -- the bloc had fallen in line behind Pereira in the dispute.

Among Dja's first actions was to sack the chiefs of the state-owned radio and television services for what he described as their "biased treatment of the political crisis".

- 'Corruption and nepotism' -

Dja, 39, a former minister and government spokesman, also condemned the state media outlets for broadcasting parliamentary debates live during the crisis, saying they "had not respected the guidance given regarding the maintenance of a climate of peace".

Lawmakers adopted a proposal to try to get rid of the new premier, in which they voiced their "disagreement with the nomination of Prime Minister Baciro Dja".

Lawmakers said they would present the resolution to Vaz, and if he ignored it, they would take up the issue with the Supreme Court.

The legislators also urged Vaz to ask the PAIGC to nominate another prime minister after which the president must "consult with parties in parliament and an advisory body attached to the president's office".

After Pereira's sacking the ruling party renominated him, but to no avail.

The political crisis is the latest to rock the west African nation which was hoping for stability after 2014 elections as it recovers from the latest in a long line of military coups in 2012.

Vaz said his fallout with Pereira stemmed partly from the appointment of a new armed forces chief, a key post in the small nation known as a hub in drug trafficking between South America and Europe.

The president also raised the closure of the border with Guinea over an Ebola outbreak and cited problems of corruption and nepotism, a lack of transparency in public procurement and alleged obstruction of the judiciary.