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31 december 2014

President José Mário Vaz hield gisteren voor het eerst zijn oudejaarstoespraak, die ik hieronder integraal neerzet. Na zijn toespraak vertrok hij naar Brazilië om daar morgen aanwezig te zijn bij de investituur van de herkozen president Dilma Youssef. José Mário Vaz gaat daarna naar Lissabon voor privé-bezoek. Op 9 januari is hij weer terug in Bissau.


 

 

Caros Compatriotas,

Estamos no limiar de mais um ano, oportunidade que aproveito, como é de tradição, para desejar felicidades e prosperidade a todos os guineenses, tanto os que vivem no país, como os que constituem a nossa diáspora e ainda aos estrangeiros que escolheram a Guiné-Bissau como terra de residência e de trabalho.Os meus votos de um feliz Ano Novo vão extensivamente para todos os Guineenses e residentes na Guiné-Bissau que, por razões de saúde ou outras, não podem partilhar connosco as festividades da entrada do Novo Ano 2015.

Felicito especialmente as autoridades e as populações pelas medidas implementadas na prevenção contra o vírus do ébola e apelo ao reforço das mesmas, uma vez que os riscos da doença ainda não se encontram completamente banidos.

Aproveito ainda esta ocasião para aqui deixar uma palavra de apreço e de solidariedade às mulheres e homens que integram a força da ECOMIB que, longe das suas famílias, num país que não é o seu, numa missão de paz, passam connosco esta quadra festiva. Desejo-lhes e aos seus familiares um Feliz e Próspero Ano Novo.

O ano que ora termina marcou o fim de um período de transição, cujas consequências devem interpelar-nos a todos e servir de reflexão à nossa sociedade, para o amanhã que queremos construir, tanto para nós como para a geração vindoura.

Em 2014 o povo guineense escolheu, livre e democraticamente, o seu Presidente da República e os seus legítimos representantes na Assembleia Nacional Popular, criando assim condições para a formação de um Governo com legitimidade democrática.

Essa escolha decorreu num clima de grande civismo e tranquilidade, num ambiente de total transparência e liberdade que mereceu rasgados elogios dos observadores eleitorais e de toda a comunidade internacional – devemos orgulhar-nos disso! Demonstração clara de que o guineense sabe, pode e, quando quer, faz.

Mas o nosso povo não fez esta escolha só para ser elogiado.

Fê-la porque acredita firmemente que os seus eleitos são as pessoas certas nos lugares certos.

Fê-la, igualmente, porque acredita que os seus eleitos são capazes de encontrar soluções para os problemas com que o país e o povo se defrontam.

Assim, compete-nos agora não defraudar essas expectativas.

Como o país ainda não produz riqueza suficiente para garantir o bem-estar dos seus filhos, precisamos trabalhar e trabalhar no duro. Precisamos “meter a mão-na-lama”.

Só assim é que podemos produzir a nossa própria comida e criar riqueza para o nosso bem-estar.

O período de graça não pode ser alargado indefinidamente, sob risco de criar frustrações e desânimo.

Se é verdade que 2014 não foi, rigorosamente, um ano de resultados concretos e tangíveis, o mesmo não se poderá dizer em relação ao ano 2015. Ainda que reconheçamos que o ano 2015, à luz do Orçamento Geral do Estado (OGE), venha a ser um ano muito difícil, de grande exigência, sobretudo para aqueles que têm a responsabilidade de governar, é chegado o momento de dar sinais claros de cumprimento das promessas eleitorais e iniciar a execução das prioridades definidas no programa do Governo.

 

Mulheres e Homens Guineenses,

Durante a campanha eleitoral insisti muito em quatro pontos de capital importância:

– O respeito rigoroso à Constituição da República;

– A defesa intransigente da nossa integridade territorial;

– A não permissão do uso do nosso território para a desestabilização dos países vizinhos; e

– A produção de arroz para dar de comer ao nosso povo.

Estou firmemente empenhado em cumprir estas promessas eleitorais e fazer da sua execução o estandarte do meu mandato.

A propósito da produção de arroz, gostaria igualmente de aproveitar a oportunidade para dar um enfoque também à exploração dos nossos recursos naturais.

 

Caros Compatriotas,

Aquando da abertura solene do ano legislativo, manifestei as minhas reservas relativamente à pertinência do início imediato da exploração dos nossos recursos minerais.

Insisto nesta posição, porquanto continuo firmemente convicto de que a agricultura e as pescas – que constituem as nossas vantagens comparativas – devem merecer, neste momento, total prioridade e constituir a base do nosso desenvolvimento económico e social.

Quanto aos outros recursos naturais, penso que devemos preparar-nos melhor para a sua exploração, sobretudo investindo na formação de quadros guineenses nos respectivos sectores e fortalecendo o quadro institucional e de governação, de forma a geri-los com eficácia para o bem de todos.

São vários os exemplos no mundo em que as receitas da indústria extractiva são absorvidas por uma minoria e não chegam às populações – que mais precisam – o que corrói o tecido económico e a coesão social.

Porque, lamentavelmente, em vários países, a indústria extractiva pouco contribui para as receitas orçamentais e a criação de emprego.

Um trabalho bem feito neste sector pode contribuir para alavancar a nossa economia, combater a pobreza, criar emprego, riqueza e ganhos nas exportações.

No nosso caso em concreto, devemos aprender com os erros do passado recente, nomeadamente com a exploração desenfreada da nossa floresta:

Ninguém sabe quantas árvores foram abatidas e equivalentes a quantos metros cúbicos;

Ninguém sabe quem as exportou e a que valor o fez, uma vez que nada ficou registado nas receitas orçamentais.

Outro exemplo: a exploração das areias pesadas de Varela.

Até hoje, não sabemos quantas toneladas foram extraídas, a quantidade exportada e muito menos o valor pago a nível de taxas.

Significa que, legalmente, as areias pesadas de Varela não estão a ser exploradas, apesar de, na prática, assistirmos regularmente a um movimento de camiões carregados deste produto. Resta saber para onde vão as taxas pagas uma vez que não se encontram reflectidas nas receitas orçamentais de 2014 e muito menos nas do OGE de 2015.

Em relação às riquezas do nosso mar, justiça seja feita, as suas receitas, embora pequenas, entram nos cofres do Estado, através do pagamento de licenças de pesca e da tão conhecida Compensação da União Europeia. Sabe-se o montante que entra e como é gasto. É o único dinheiro arrecadado em termos de exploração dos nossos recursos.

 

Caros Compatriotas,

Sei que a vida do cidadão não está fácil nos dias de hoje. Mas temos de continuar a ACREDITAR. Acreditar em dias melhores. Acreditar nas virtudes do trabalho. Temos de ter coragem e inteligência para transformar as nossas dificuldades em oportunidades.

Temos de ser capazes de aumentar a nossa produção para atingir a auto-suficiência alimentar e criar riquezas.

Temos de combater o desemprego e promover, sobretudo, o emprego jovem. Um país essencialmente jovem não pode dar-se ao luxo de desperdiçar toda a energia da juventude, afastando-a da tarefa da criação de riqueza e do impulso para o desenvolvimento.

Jovens, o futuro deste país pertence-vos. Comecemos a construí-lo hoje, juntos.

 

Às Nossas Mulheres!

Mulheres da Guiné-Bissau, o destino transformou-vos em pilares da família e principais sustentáculos da sociedade.

Aproveito esta oportunidade para saudar a vossa coragem e determinação e desejar-vos um ano muito bom.

 

Guineenses, Meus Compatriotas,

Um dos grandes problemas com que nos defrontamos desde a independência, e que se tem agravado nos últimos anos, tem a ver com a Educação e a Saúde.

Todos reconhecemos que não é concebível um desenvolvimento económico e social sustentável sem se desenvolver correctamente mecanismos que nos permitam superar as dificuldades que se colocam nestes sectores.

Estou convicto de que, com a determinação e coragem que sempre caracterizaram o povo guineense, vamos vencer, também, estes desafios.

 

Mulheres e Homens Guineenses,

Façamos de 2015, ano de “NÓ PRODUZI ARUZ PA NÓ CUME – MON NA LAMA”.

Convido as famílias, as empresas e as ONGs a não esperarem somente pelo Estado. Cada um deve usar da sua imaginação e criatividade, para produzir riqueza para si e para a sua família.

Assim, ninguém deve deixar a sua parcela de terra disponível por lavrar.

Eu acredito. Peço-vos que acreditem!

Um Feliz e Próspero Ano Novo a todos!

Viva a República da Guiné-Bissau!

Que Deus abençoe a Guiné-Bissau e ao seu povo!

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14 december 2014

- vorige week verklaarde de voorzitter van de Portugese luchtvaartmaatschappij TAP, Fernando Pinto, dat de maatschappij de vluchten van en naar Bissau niet zal hervatten, omdat er weinig vraag naar zou zijn; dat is volgens hem te verklaren door de omstandigheid dat andere maatschappijen op Bissau zijn gaan vliegen, nadat de TAP op 10 december 2013 besloten had de vluchten voorlopig te annuleren (zie op de pagina "guiné-bissau in 2013"); er zal begin 2015 een nieuwe evaluatie plaatsvinden m.b.t. de vraag naar de directe vluchten Lissabon-Bissau v.v. door de maatschappij;

 


                                                 
- de staatssecretaris van Transport en Communicati
e en de minister van Financiën verklaarden deze week dat de prijs voor een retourticket economy class Bissau-Lissabon niet meer mag kosten dan 500.000 CFA (750 euro);

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4 december 2014

- gisteren verklaarde minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira dat de grenzen met buurland Guiné-Conakry binnen vijf dagen heropend zullen worden. Er zouden dan voldoende veiligheidsvoorzieningen  aan de grenzen geïnstalleerd zijn; op 12 augustus dit jaar werden de grenzen gesloten; er zijn in Guiné-Bissau geen gevallen van Ebola gemeld;

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9 november 2014

- het IMF heeft een lening van 5.400.000 Amerikaanse dollar aan Guiné-Bissau goedgekeurd; het roept de nieuwe regering op een einde te maken aan alle achterstallige salarissen van overheidsfunctionarissen; de organisatie betoonde zich tevreden met de resultaten die al door de nieuwe regering sinds haar aantreden begin juli j.l. behaald zijn;


                                                    
- afgelopen dinsdag werd in Lissabon een overeenkomst getekend door minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira en zijn Portugese ambtgenoot Pedro Passos Coelho, waarbij Portugal bijna 7.000.000 euro toezegt voor een noodplan ten gunste van "de vrede, de veiligheid en de ontwikkeling" van het land; de overeenkomst markeert het hervatten van de Portugese samenwerking, die na de staatsgreep van 12 april 2012 was stopgezet;

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2 november 2014

                                          
In de afgelopen week tekenden de ambassadeur van de Europese Unie in Guiné-Bissau, Joaquín González-Ducay, en de minister van Financiën en nationaal beheerder van het Europese Ontwikkelingsfonds Geraldo Martins een programma van begrotingssteun ter verlichting van de meest nijpende problemen van het land ter waarde van 20 miljoen euro. Het geld zal vooral gebruikt worden voor basisvoorzieningen op het gebied van gezondheidszorg, onderwijs, landbouw en bestuur. Ambassadeur González-Ducay zei o.a. dat hij ervan overtuigd was dat de handtekening "slechts de eerste handeling is van een voortdurende en vruchtbare samenwerking tussen de Europese Unie en de democratische regering van een modern Guiné-Bissau dat met grote betrokkenheid aan haar toekomst werkt".


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1 november 2014

Gisteren werd in hotel Pestana Palace in Lissabon in aanwezigheid van minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira een overeenkomst gesloten tussen Guiné-Bissau en Euro Atlantic Airlines, die inhoudt dat met ingang van 14 november a.s. de EAA wekelijks een directe vlucht tussen Lissabon en Bissau v.v. zal onderhouden. Daardoor wordt het voor het eerst sinds 10 december 2013 weer mogelijk om rechtstreeks van en naar Lissabon en Bissau te vliegen. Voor meer informatie en voor boekingen: www.euroatlantic.pt of +351218437040  

                       
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18 oktober 2014

Woensdag j.l. werd bekend dat de TAP, in afwijking van de afspraken hierover, haar vluchten naar en van Bissau nog niet per 28 oktober zal hervatten. Minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira toonde zich verrast hierover en zei o.a. dat niets erop wees dat de hervatting uitgesteld zou worden. Hij beloofde actie te ondernemen.
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3 oktober 2014

Minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira tijdens zijn toespraak op 29 september j.l bij de 69e Vergadering van de Verenigde Naties:

 

                                      foto: www.un.org

Tijdens dezelfde vergadering riep de minister van Buitenlandse Zaken van Portugal Rui Machete de internatoniale gemeenschap op Guiné-Bissau "technisch en financiëel te steunen". Hij zei verder o.a. dat er een zwarte bladzijde was omgeslagen en dat het constitutionele herstel alle steun verdient, waarbij hij o.a. suggereerde een door de Afrikaanse Unie en de Verendigde Naties gesteunde CEDEAO-stabiliteitsmacht (ECOMIB)  in het land te installeren.

                                         foto: www.un.org



- van www.irinnews.org:

DAKAR/OUGADOUGOU, 22 September 2014 (IRIN) - As the Ebola caseload rises to over 5,350, aid agencies and governments in countries not yet affected by the deadly virus are gearing up for its potential spread across new borders by pre-positioning supplies, training health workers, identifying isolation centres, and disseminating prevention campaign messages, among other activities.

Countries that share a land border with the affected countries, including Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, and Mali, are considered to be most at risk.

"It is vitally important that, countries - especially surrounding countries that don't have Ebola cases as of yet - are prepared for a worst case scenario," said Pieter Desloovere, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO).

In August, WHO issued an
Ebola Response Roadmap to help countries across the region limit the spread of the virus. One of its three objectives is to strengthen the ability of all countries to detect and deal with any potential cases.

"The reason that Ebola started in Guinea and has since spread to Liberia and other countries is that no one was paying attention," said Grev Hunt, the UN Children's Fund's (UNICEF's) sub-regional coordinator for the Ebola outbreak. "We were caught unaware. But now, we are paying very close attention to what is going on and making sure the same thing won't happen again."

Unlike in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where response plans and training materials had to be created from scratch, UNICEF is now replicating those resources and giving them to neighbouring countries, saving time and effort.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says they have put in place Ebola preparedness and response activities in 11 countries across West Africa, and many local and international NGOs have been pre-positioning medical supplies, training health workers and educating the public.

"Failing to plan is actually planning to fail," said Unni Krishnan, the head of disaster preparedness and response for Plan International. "And we know from previous disasters that a dollar you put towards preparedness... tends to save thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of lives."

Preparedness funds

Key to prevention and preparedness in at-risk countries is having access to timely funding, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Senegal currently has US$5.7 million at the ready to use towards Ebola preparation and prevention.

Mali has around $3.6 million and Côte d'Ivoire $2.9 million. In Guinea Bissau, where the health system is extremely weak, only $800,000 is currently available for Ebola-related activities. "It's quite a fragile situation right now," said Daniel Sanha, a communication officers for the Guinea Bissau Red Cross. "We have a contingency plan in place, but the Red Cross still has no funds to implement any Ebola intervention activities. At the same time, the government doesn't have enough funds or equipment to take all the necessary precautions."

Mass public education campaigns

National media campaigns, including radio shows, TV programmes and other on-air broadcasts, are now under way in all sub-regional countries to educate people about Ebola and give them enough information to protect themselves, as well as to prevent rumours and misunderstandings from spreading.

"This is the first time we have had an Ebola outbreak in West Africa and part of the challenge we are facing is that people have no idea what the disease actually is or how it is spread," Desloovere said.

Volunteers in Senegal, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau are handing out pamphlets and flyers door to door, as well as posting them in public areas. Social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, along with text messages to mobile phone subscribers, are being used by Health Ministries and aid agencies to transmit information and to remind people to practise safe hygiene measures, and to go to a clinic if they detect symptoms.

UNICEF says the messages, which have all been approved by the Ministries of Health, are transmitted in local languages and in culturally appropriate ways. Rather than urging families not to bury their dead in the traditional way, for instance, aid agencies work with communities to find a safer burial procedure that both are comfortable with.

"Our message is very simple," said Buba Darbo, the head of disaster management for the Gambian Red Cross. "Don't touch a sick person, don't touch a dead body. If everyone follows this advice they will prevent themselves from getting Ebola."

Some messaging specifies that people should avoid shaking hands as a gesture of greeting.

Aid agencies have also begun working with religious leaders and local community leaders to spread messages about what to do, and not do, in case of possible Ebola infections.

Health worker training

Doctors and nurses across the region are being trained to spot possible cases, as well as to follow protocol for reporting suspected cases, how to prevent any further contamination and how to protect themselves.

"Educating and protecting our health workers is a top priority," said Ibrahima Sy, a grants manager and health expert with the Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA). "We need to put at their disposal all the materials they need to avoid contamination, and arm them with the information they need to avoid further spread of this virus."

In Côte d'Ivoire, for example, the Red Cross has been conducting staged simulations of Ebola cases, so that health workers know exactly what to do if they encounter a suspected case.

"We hope Ebola never comes here, but if a case were to be declared today, with the emergency health system we have in place, we are ready to take charge of it," said Franck Kodjo, the communications officer for Côte d'Ivoire's Red Cross. "All the actors, from the Ministry of Health to the local volunteers, we are prepared to take it on."

Other countries, such as The Gambia, have been training healthcare workers on how to handle the dead bodies of suspected cases.

Thus far over 300 health workers in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have contracted Ebola, according to WHO.

Specialized prevention and response teams

To help coordinate prevention efforts and put such measures in place, many countries have created multi-sectorial committees to implement the measures. Senegal's National Crisis Committee, for example, now has a 10-committee unit dedicated to Ebola prevention and containment. They have been working with the Ministry of Health and other key partners, including the Senegalese Red Cross and WHO, to engage in activities such as resource mobilization, media and communication, surveillance, logistics, security and clinical care. The Gambia has a similar seven-committee Ebola response unit, which works alongside the government and various health partners and NGOs to implement prevention measures.

Pre-positioning materials

Items such as soap, chlorine, gloves, disinfectant materials, medicines, medical equipment, and hygiene kits are being stocked in countries across the region. In Mali, protection kits have also been given to some of the volunteers who are involved in contact tracing and mass education campaigns.

Identifying isolation and treatment centres

Some treatment centres and isolation units in at-risk countries have been pre-identified, but not in sufficient numbers, say aid agency staff.

Cameroon now has isolation centres and laboratories in selected hospitals throughout the country, as well as a quarantine zone in the Southwest Region of the country, near the Nigerian border. The Gambia has also established three Ebola treatment centres: one in the greater Banjul area, the second in the country's "middle belt", and the third in the far east. Senegal has established an isolation unit and has testing facilities at its Institute Pasteur, as do the Institute Pasteur in Côte d'Ivoire and laboratories in Mali. Guinea-Bissau has not yet identified isolation units.

Border closings and surveillance measures

Despite strong recommendations by WHO not to close borders, or to restrict travel to or from the affected countries, seven African countries have decided not to allow anyone from an Ebola-affected country in or out. Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire, for example, have shut all land, sea and air borders with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Guinea Bissau has closed its land borders with Guinea, and Guinea, in an attempt to contain the outbreak, has shut its land borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia. Cameroon has also closed its land and air borders with Nigeria though refugees fleeing Boko Haram attacks have been
crossing the border.

All countries in the sub-region now have health workers posted at all main border crossings and points of entry, including the airports, where incoming travellers are screened for Ebola-like symptoms.

In Nigeria, where 21 cases have been confirmed, health workers are also going around communities to check people's temperatures and seek out the sick. Many schools, shops and restaurants now have handwashing stations set up outside their doors.

"It has become an everyday sight to see temperature-taking devices both at major border crossings, as well as hospitals and offices," said O. Nwakpa, of the Nigerian Red Cross. "They take our temperature and give you hand sanitizer each time you enter a building."

In Mauritania, not only do incoming travellers go through health checks, but outgoing travellers do as well, as the capital, Nouakchott, is considered a "last stop" before Europe.

Many communities in border areas most at risk have also created neighborhood watch programmes, in which people are encouraged to report anyone who shows Ebola-like symptoms.

Countries, such as Burkina Faso and Senegal, have set up toll-free numbers for people to call and report suspected cases.

Restricting public gatherings

To avoid potential bodily contact, many countries, such as The Gambia, have restricted or prohibited large public gatherings.

In Burkina Faso, the government has cancelled important high-level meetings, including the African Union Employment and Poverty Reeducation conference, which was scheduled to be held in the first week of September.

NGOs and health volunteers across the region say they have stopped performing educational theatre sketches on Ebola for fear of encouraging crowds to gather.

jl/bo/aj/cb

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 24 september 2014

Vandaag viert Guiné-Bissau Onafhankelijkheidsdag: 41 jaar geleden verwierf het land haar onafhankelijkheid. Minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira is op deze dag in New York om op de 69e Algemene Vergadering van de Verenigde Naties Guiné-Bissau te vertegenwoordigen. De U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry zond namens president Obama een gelukstelegram - "aan alle Guiné-Bissauers" - waarin hij gewag maakt van de grote vooruitgang die het land sinds het aantreden van de nieuwe regering gemaakt heeft.

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19 september 2014

In de afgelopen week is bij presidentiëel besluit opperbevelhebber António Indjai, de militair eerstverantwoordelijke voor de staatsgreep van 12 april 2012, van zijn functies ontheven. Kort daarop maakte president José Mário Vaz de naam van zijn opvolger bekend: Biague Na Ntan.
 



31 augustus 2014

- minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira riep eergisteren op zijn vrijdagse persconferentie zijn landgenoten opnieuw op de voorzorgsmaatregelen ten behoeve van het voorkomen van verspreiding van het Ebola virus in acht te nemen en ook niet naar buurland Guiné te reizen; hij zei dat het bericht dat nu voor het eerst het virus bij iemand in Senegal was aangetroffen, net als Guiné een buurland van Guiné-Bissau, slecht nieuws was voor Guiné-Bissau (Senegal heeft al maanden geleden verregaande voorzorgsmaatregelen getroffen, zoals het sluiten van de grens met Guiné);

                                       

ook schonk hij al aandacht aan de de internationale schoonmaakcampagne die gisteren door president José Mário Vaz werd ingeluid, een campagne die er op gericht is niet alleen de uitbraak van Ebola, maar ook de kans op cholera en malaria te verkleinen; die campagne, waaraan de gehele bevolking moet deelnemen, zal elke laatste zaterdag van de maand uitgevoerd worden.

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27 augustus 2014

- van www.who.org :

Unprecedented number of medical staff infected with Ebola

Situation assessment - 25 August 2014


The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in west Africa is unprecedented in many ways, including the high proportion of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers who have been infected.

To date, more than 240 health care workers have developed the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and more than 120 have died.

Ebola has taken the lives of prominent doctors in Sierra Leone and Liberia, depriving these countries not only of experienced and dedicated medical care but also of inspiring national heroes.

Several factors help explain the high proportion of infected medical staff. These factors include shortages of personal protective equipment or its improper use, far too few medical staff for such a large outbreak, and the compassion that causes medical staff to work in isolation wards far beyond the number of hours recommended as safe.

In the past, some Ebola outbreaks became visible only after transmission was amplified in a health care setting and doctors and nurses fell ill. However, once the Ebola virus was identified and proper protective measures were put in place, cases among medical staff dropped dramatically.

Moreover, many of the most recent Ebola outbreaks have occurred in remote areas, in a part of Africa that is more familiar with this disease, and with chains of transmission that were easier to track and break.

The current outbreak is different. Capital cities as well as remote rural areas are affected, vastly increasing opportunities for undiagnosed cases to have contact with hospital staff. Neither doctors nor the public are familiar with the disease. Intense fear rules entire villages and cities.

Several infectious diseases endemic in the region, like malaria, typhoid fever, and Lassa fever, mimic the initial symptoms of Ebola virus disease. Patients infected with these diseases will often need emergency care. Their doctors and nurses may see no reason to suspect Ebola and see no need to take protective measures.

Some documented infections have occurred when unprotected doctors rushed to aid a waiting patient who was visibly very ill. This is the first instinct of most doctors and nurses: aid the ailing.

In many cases, medical staff are at risk because no protective equipment is available – not even gloves and face masks. Even in dedicated Ebola wards, personal protective equipment is often scarce or not being properly used.

Training in proper use in absolutely essential, as are strict procedures for infection prevention and control.

In addition, personal protective equipment is hot and cumbersome, especially in a tropical climate, and this severely limits the time that doctors and nurses can work in an isolation ward. Some doctors work beyond their physical limits, trying to save lives in 12-hour shifts, every day of the week. Staff who are exhausted are more prone to make mistakes.

All personal protective equipment despatched or approved by WHO meets the appropriate international safety standards.

The heavy toll on health care workers in this outbreak has a number of consequences that further impede control efforts.

It depletes one of the most vital assets during the control of any outbreak. WHO estimates that, in the three hardest-hit countries, only one to two doctors are available to treat 100,000 people, and these doctors are heavily concentrated in urban areas.

It can lead to the closing of health facilities, especially when staff refuse to come to work, fearing for their lives. When hospitals close, other common and urgent medical needs, such as safe childbirth and treatment for malaria, are neglected.

The fact that so many medical staff have developed the disease increases the level of anxiety: if doctors and nurses are getting infected, what chance does the general public have? In some areas, hospitals are regarded as incubators of infection and are shunned by patients with any kind of ailment, again reducing access to general health care.

The loss of so many doctors and nurses has made it difficult for WHO to secure support from sufficient numbers of foreign medical staff.

The African Union has launched an urgent initiative to recruit more health care workers from among its members.

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13 augustus 2014

- van www.rfi.fr:

Ebola: l’OMS approuve l’emploi de traitements non homologués

Les experts de l'Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) réunis, ce mardi 12 août, en comité d’éthique au siège de l’organisation à Genève, ont approuvé l’emploi de traitements non homologués contre la fièvre Ebola. Selon un dernier bilan, 1 013 décès et 1 848 cas ont été enregistrés.


Deux questions étaient examinées par les experts de l'OMS lors de leur réunion au siège de l'organisation à Genève, ce mardi 12 août. Il s'agissait de déterminer s'il est éthique ou non d'utiliser des traitements non homologués contre le virus Ebola et si oui, dans quels cas administrer le traitement et à qui.

Pour le moment, il n'existe toujours aucun vaccin ou médicament certifié contre le virus. Par contre, plusieurs traitements sont en phase de test. Certains ont montré des résultats prometteurs en laboratoire, mais on ne peut pas garantir leur efficacité sur des humains ni connaître leurs éventuels effets secondaires qui pourraient être dangereux pour la santé. Néanmoins, devant les circonstances exceptionnelles de l'épidémie, la plus grave depuis la découverte du virus il y a 40 ans, les experts ont accepté l'utilisation de ces traitements non homologués.

Des conditions éthiques doivent être remplies

Il faut une transparence absolue concernant le type de traitement, la liberté de choix et la garantie de confidentialité pour le malade, et l'implication des communautés locales avant toute utilisation d'une thérapie. Les scientifiques devront recueillir toutes les données possibles : sur la durée du traitement, les doses administrées, le moment et les conditions où il est administré.

Toutes les conditions rigoureuses d'un essai clinique classique doivent être respectées. Le but est de pouvoir déterminer le plus rapidement possible si tel ou tel médicament est réellement efficace  pour pouvoir améliorer la prescription et même éventuellement le diffuser plus largement. « Il ne s’agit pas de prendre n’importe quelle poudre de perlimpinpin sous prétexte que les taux de mortalité d’Ebola sont très élevés pour l’utiliser sur des patients », prévient ainsi Marie-Paule Kieny, sous-directrice générale à l'OMS. « Il s’agit de voir quels sont les produits qui ont fait leurs preuves au moins dans des modèles animaux pertinents, chez le singe en particulier, montrer qu’ils étaient capables de protéger ces animaux contre une infection et une maladie d’Ebola et quels sont les effets secondaires qu’on a pu observer dans ces modèles, pour essayer de déterminer si ce qu’on attend comme bénéfice est commensurable avec ce qu’on fait courir comme risque au patient », explique-t-elle.

Reste à savoir qui pourra bénéficier de ces traitements. Et pour l'instant, les experts en éthique de l'OMS apportent peu de précisions. Il reste en effet à déterminer quels malades doivent être traités en priorité et comment répartir équitablement les traitements entre les pays affectés. Car de très faible quantité de ces médicaments sont disponibles.

Dans le cas du fameux sérum expérimental qui aurait aidé à guérir deux soignants américains mais qui n'a pas sauvé le missionnaire espagnol, les Etats-Unis ont d'ores et déjà annoncé l'envoi de ce traitement au Liberia. Il est destiné aux médecins libériens actuellement infectés.

Décès du premier malade européen rappatrié du Liberia

Ce mardi matin, un premier malade est décédé sur le sol européen. Il s'agit du missionnaire espagnol qui avait été rapatrié du Liberia vers l'Espagne.  C'est le quatrième membre du personnel de l'hôpital Saint-Joseph de Monrovia qui décède. L'hôpital a été fermé début août par les autorités libériennes.

Les personnels de santé restent en première ligne, sept médecins et un infirmier chinois ont été placés en quarantaine en Sierra Leone.

Au Liberia, particulièrement touché par l'épidémie, une troisième province affectée, la province de Lofa, frontalière avec la Guinée et la Sierra Leone, a été isolée le lundi 11 août. La maladie touche également le Nigeria où un nouveau cas a été détecté hier à Lagos.

La Guinée-Bissau a annoncé ce mardi soir la fermeture de ses frontières avec la Guinée. La Guinée est l'un des trois pays africains les plus durement touchés par l'épidémie du virus Ebola.


 

 


 - minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira maakte gisteren bekend dat alle grenzen met buurland Guiné gesloten zullen worden om verspreiding van het virus in Guiné-Bissau te voorkomen. Het luchtverkeer tussen beide landen blijft wel mogelijk; ook wordt er een noodprogramma samengesteld op het gebied van voorlichting, monitoring 24 uur per etmaal (met speciaal telefoonnummer) en mogelijkheden om snel in te grijpen als dat nodig mocht zijn; de minister-president adviseerde terughoudend te zijn wat betreft de typische Guine-Bissause wijze van begroeten (kussen, omhelzen, hand vasthouden) en traditionele en culturele ceremonies; er zijn nog geen gevallen van Ebola in Guiné-Bissau gemeld; 

                                       

- van www.who.org:

Barriers to rapid containment of the Ebola outbreak

Overview - 11 August 2014


The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in west Africa continues to evolve in alarming ways, with no immediate end in sight. Many barriers stand in the way of rapid containment.

The most severely affected countries, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, have only recently returned to political stability following years of civil war and conflict, which left health systems largely destroyed or severely disabled.

Lack of capacity makes infection control difficult

 

This lack of capacity makes standard containment measures, such as early detection and isolation of cases, contact tracing and monitoring, and rigorous procedures for infection control, difficult to implement. Though no vaccine and no proven curative treatment exist, implementation of these measures has successfully brought previous Ebola outbreaks under control.

The recent surge in the number of cases has stretched all capacities to the breaking point. Supplies of personal protective equipment and disinfectants are inadequate. The outbreak continues to outstrip diagnostic capacity, delaying the confirmation or exclusion of cases and impeding contact tracing.

Diagnostic capacity is especially important as the early symptoms of Ebola virus disease mimic those of many other diseases commonly seen in this region, including malaria, typhoid fever, and Lassa fever.

Some treatment facilities are overflowing; all beds are occupied and patients are being turned away. Many facilities lack reliable supplies of electricity and running water.  Aid organizations, including Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), which has provided the mainstay of clinical care, are exhausted.

Managerial framework for Ebola

 

Last week, the WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, announced a new managerial framework designed to ensure that WHO’s emergency response is fully staffed, drawing on personnel in all WHO regional and country offices, for an around-the-clock response.

The Ebola virus is one of the world’s most virulent pathogens. Personal protective equipment is essential, but in short supply. It is also hot and cumbersome, severely limiting the number of hours that medical and nursing staff can work on an isolation ward. On present estimates, a facility treating 70 patients needs a minimum of 250 health-care staff.

Fear is hard to overcome

 

Six months into the outbreak, fear is proving to be the most difficult barrier to overcome. Fear causes contacts of cases to escape from the surveillance system, families to hide symptomatic loved ones or take them to traditional healers, and patients to flee treatment centres. Fear, and the hostility it can feed, have threatened the security of national and international response teams.

Health-care staff fear for their lives. To date, more than 170 health-care workers have been infected and at least 81 have died.

Outbreak control is further compromised when fear causes airlines to refuse to transport personal protective equipment and courier services to refuse to transport properly and securely packaged patient samples to a WHO-approved laboratory.

Fear has spread well beyond west Africa, leading some to suggest that imported cases, also in wealthy countries, could ignite widespread infections in the general population. In countries with well-developed health systems, such a scenario is highly unlikely, given the epidemiology of the Ebola virus and experiences in past outbreaks.

Transmission

 

The Ebola virus is highly contagious, but is not airborne. Transmission requires close contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, as can occur during health-care procedures, home care, or traditional burial practices, which involve the close contact of family members and friends with bodies. In Guinea, around 60% of cases have been linked to these burial practices, with women, who are the principal care-givers, disproportionately affected.

The incubation period ranges from 2 to 21 days, but patients become contagious only after the onset of symptoms. As symptoms worsen, the ability to transmit the virus increases. As a result, patients are usually most likely to infect others at a severe stage of the disease, when they are visibly, and physically, too ill to travel.

Vigilance means better detection

 

On the positive side, fear has led to a very high level of vigilance and clinical suspicion worldwide, as seen in the number of false alarms at airports and in emergency rooms. Such a high level of alert further increases the likelihood that any imported case will be quickly detected and properly managed, limiting onward transmission.

This pattern was clearly seen during the 2003 SARS outbreak. Of the total number of cases during that outbreak, 98% occurred in the four countries affected prior to the WHO global alert issued on 15 March. The high level of vigilance and preparedness that followed that alert helped the additional 26 outbreak sites with imported cases to prevent onward transmission or hold it to just a handful of cases.

Also on the positive side, the presidents of the hardest-hit countries have made outbreak containment a top national priority. Several extraordinary measures have been introduced over just the past few days, though it is too early to assess their impact.

In some areas, the inclusion of social anthropologists on outbreak teams is helping to reduce fear and change behaviours.  The fact that no effective medical treatment exists has enforced the desire of families to care for patients in their homes or turn to traditional healers. Many communities now understand the importance of managing symptoms through supportive care. Evidence that early detection and supportive care greatly improve prospects for survival is a powerful incentive to seek medical care.

Last week, an Emergency Committee, convened under the provisions of the International Health Regulations, met to consider all the evidence and unanimously agreed that this outbreak meets the criteria for declaring it a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). On Friday, 8 August 2014, Dr Margaret Chan accepted that advice and declared the outbreak a PHEIC.  The committee also advised Dr Chan that:

  • the Ebola outbreak in west Africa constitutes an ‘extraordinary event’ and a public health risk to other States;
  • the possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence of the virus, the intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the weak health systems in the currently affected and most at-risk countries;
  • a coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola.

 

Emergency meeting on the role of experimental therapies in outbreak response

 

On Monday 11 August, WHO is holding an emergency meeting with ethicists, scientific experts and lay people from affected countries to assess the role of experimental therapies in the Ebola outbreak response. Issues to be considered include the ethics surrounding use of therapies when safety is unproven, ethics governing priority setting for access to these therapies and principles for fair distribution.

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8 augustus 2014

van www.newyorktimes.com:

In Ebola Outbreak, Who Should Get Experimental Drug?

By Andrew Pollack, AUG. 8, 2014

Some have said it is wrong that with hundreds of Africans dying from the outbreak of Ebola, extremely scarce supplies of an experimental drug went to two white American aid workers.

But what if the first doses of the drug — which had never been used in people and had not even finished the typical animal safety testing — had been given to African patients instead?

“It would have been the front-page screaming headline: Africans used as guinea pigs for American drug company’s medicine,” said Dr. Salim S. Abdool Karim, director of Caprisa, an AIDS research center in South Africa.

A history of controversy about drug testing in Africa is just one of the complexities facing public health authorities as they wrestle with whether and how to bring that drug and possibly other experimental ones to the countries afflicted with Ebola. Who should get such a scarce supply of medicine? Health workers? Children? The newly infected who are not yet as sick?

The World Health Organization is convening a meeting of ethicists early next week to discuss this sensitive and difficult dilemma. The United States government is also forming a group to consider the same issues, said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

At least two of the countries affected by the Ebola outbreak, Liberia and Nigeria, have asked for the drug, according to a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The debate about who should get the drug, which is called ZMapp, may be mainly academic in the short term, because there is virtually no supply left, Dr. Fauci said. By the time somewhat more ample but still modest supplies are available in a few months, the epidemic may have run its course.

Other experimental medicines might be available, but also probably in small amounts, like one from Tekmira Pharmaceuticals that has so far been tested only in healthy volunteers. Tekmira said Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration had determined the drug was safe enough to be tried in infected patients.

ZMapp is reported to have helped the two aid workers, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who were initially treated in Liberia and are now at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. But experts say it is too soon to conclude it is truly effective.

ZMapp is being developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical, a nine-person company in San Diego that was still doing animal studies with an eye toward beginning human safety testing next year.

According to federal officials, ZMapp was given to the two Americans because Samaritan’s Purse, the aid organization that employed Dr. Brantly, found out about it and asked for it, not because of any favoritism to Americans.

Some bioethicists said they did not find it troublesome that the first doses went to health workers, be they American or African.

Health workers, they said, can best understand the risks in taking a drug not yet tested in people and give informed consent. Offering health workers priority is a way to encourage them to undertake the grave dangers of caring for people with such a deadly, contagious disease. And if nurses and doctors get better, they might go back to caring for other patients, in effect multiplying the benefit of the drug.

“I think there are very special commitments that we must make ethically to the health care providers that are willing to go in and serve,” said Nancy Kass, a professor of bioethics and public health at Johns Hopkins University.

Supplies of ZMapp, which is made in tobacco plants, are being scaled up, but that is expected to take a few months.

Federal authorities say that the drug should not just be given to patients but should be connected with some sort of study to assess its safety and efficacy.

“You’ve got to balance the compassionate-use aspect with trying to figure out whether it works,” Dr. Fauci said.

Doing such a study in the midst of an outbreak could be difficult, especially in parts of Africa with limited medical infrastructure.

With enough drug for only a small percentage of infected people, who should get it?

Dr. Arthur Caplan, head of the division of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center, said priority should go to health care workers. Others say more recently infected patients would be more likely to be helped by the drug.

A senior Food and Drug Administration official said priority might go to those who have access to other supportive care because they are most likely to benefit. But that could mean that the limited supplies might go to relatively privileged Africans.

This, of course, assumes people will want the drug. That might not always be the case because of suspicions about health care in general and Western pharmaceutical companies in particular. Many patients stricken in the current outbreak are fleeing rather than going to clinics.

“There are just an awful lot of Africans who are afraid of the health care system right now,” said Dr. G. Kevin Donovan, director of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Northern Nigeria has a history of resisting the campaign to eradicate polio, for example, with rumors circulating that vaccinations were a plot to sterilize Muslim women. At least nine polio immunization workers were shot to death there in February 2013.

Dr. Fauci said he had already heard from an aid worker who had just come back from the region of the Ebola outbreak that a Western drug marked as experimental “more likely will be met with resistance rather than welcoming.”

The aid group Doctors Without Borders has also expressed some caution. “As doctors, trying an untested drug on patients is a very difficult choice since our first priority is to do no harm,” it said in a statement earlier this week.

There have been some controversies over testing of drugs in Africa and other developing regions, with critics saying that participants are exploited or not treated properly and that they help develop drugs that might not even be affordable in poor countries.

ZMapp would be provided free in studies, and it is too early to say how much it would cost if it ever gets to market.

Pfizer settled charges and lawsuits that accused it of improprieties in testing an experimental antibiotic during a 1996 meningitis outbreak in northern Nigeria. Eleven children in the trial died, five of them who received the Pfizer drug, called Trovan. Other children suffered blindness, deafness and brain damage.

Families accused the company of not getting proper clearance for the study, of failing to inform potential study participants that an approved drug was available and of using a too-low dose of a comparison drug to make Trovan look better. Pfizer denied any wrongdoing or liability and said that Trovan actually helped the patients and that the deaths and injuries were from meningitis, not the drug.

Dr. Caplan of NYU Langone said that in the end, experimental drugs against Ebola were likely to make little difference in the current outbreak and that resources would be better spent trying to stamp out the epidemic using quarantines and other public health measures.

“Morally, everyone is keenly interested in who should get the drug,” he said. But the most important moral question is, “What is the best thing to do to bring that outbreak to a close? And I don’t think it’s drugs.”

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7 augustus 2014

- afgelopen week werd met een manisfestatie en een mars en toespaken van o.a. minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira en vakbondsvoorzitter Estêvão Có in Bissau het zogenaamde "bloedbad van Pindjiguiti"  herdacht: 55 jaar geleden, op 3 augustus 1959, werden in de haven van  Bissau 50 stakende havenarbeiders door leden van de Portugese koloniale  politie koelbloedig vermoord; voor de in 1956 opgerichte 

 


                                              

bevrijdingspartij PAIGC was het een aanleiding om van strategie te  veranderen; zij richt zich vanaf dat moment niet meer alleen op de  stadsbevolking, maar ook op de bewoners van het platteland, de overgrote  meerderheid van de bevolking van "Portugees Guiné"; de strijd blijft er  echter nog een van overleg met het koloniale regime; pas in 1963 wordt  de eerste gewapende aanval uitgevoerd op een Portugees garnizoen (dat  van Tipe, in het zuiden van het land); dat is het begin van de  bevrijdingsoorlog die elf jaren zal duren;


- en president José Mário Vaz nam in Washington deel aan de top van leiders van de Verenigde Staten en Afrika onder leiding van Barack Obama; het betrof een unieke gebeurtenis, nooit eerder waren zoveel Afrikaanse leiders (50) in de V.S. bijeen om - onder het motto "investeren in de volgende generatie" - te confereren over de toekomst van het continent en de bijdrage van de V.S. aan haar ontwikkeling;


                         foto: U.S. State Department

Tijdens het diner gisteravond werden de beloften van Obama, o.a. op het gebied van investeringen, energie, bestrijding van corruptie en het bevorderen van democratie, afgesloten met een speech waarin hij niet naliet in te gaan op zijn eigen Afrikaanse achtergrond ("ik ben de zoon van een Afrikaan") en aan het eind waarvan hij een toast uitbracht op het Amerikaans-Afrikaanse partnerschap:

                        foto:U.S. State Department

_________________________________________________________

31 juli 2014

van www.who.org:


Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

 

Disease outbreak news
31 July 2014

Epidemiology and surveillance

 

Between 24 and 27 July 2014, a total of 122 new cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD; laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 57 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. The Ebola epidemic trend in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone remains precarious with ongoing community and health-facility transmissions of infection. The surge in the number of new EVD cases calls for concentrated efforts by all to address the identified problems, such as health facility transmission and effective contact tracing.

On 29 July 2014, the National IHR Focal Point for Nigeria confirmed that the probable EVD case notified to WHO on 27 July 2014 was symptomatic at the time of arrival in Nigeria and that 59 contacts (15 from among the airport staff and 44 from the hospital) have been identified so far. The report also confirms that the patient travelled by air and arrived in Lagos, Nigeria, on 20 July via Lomé, Togo, and Accra, Ghana. The sample from this case is yet to be sent to the WHO Collaborating Centre at the Institute Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, due to refusal by courier companies to transport this sample. Though only one probable case has been detected so far in Nigeria, Ebola virus infection in this country represents a significant development in the course of this outbreak.

National authorities in Ghana, Nigeria, and Togo continue to work closely with WHO and it partners in identification of contacts and contact tracing as well as in preparing response plans.

Health sector response

 

In an effort to accelerate the response to the current EVD outbreak in West Africa, the Director General of WHO and other senior managers continue to hold discussions with the donor community, development partners, and international agencies at a global level. Focus of the discussion has centered on the need to rapidly deploy additional human and financial resources that will help interrupt Ebola transmission and end the outbreak.

Efforts are currently ongoing to scale up and strengthen all aspects of the response in the four countries, including epidemiologic investigations, contact tracing, public information and community mobilization, case management and infection prevention and control, coordination, and staff security. WHO is also working closely with various partners to finalize the national response plans that define urgent response needs in line with the Accra strategy adopted by Member States.

WHO and it partners – GOARN, CDC, MSF, UNICEF, IFRC, Institute Pasteur of Dakar, Save the Children, Plan Guinea, and others – continue to work together through the Sub-regional Ebola Outbreak Coordination Center (SEOCC) in Conakry to accelerate the control of this outbreak.

WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions is applied to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, or Sierra Leone based on the current information available for this event.

Disease update

 

New cases and deaths attributable to EVD continue to be reported by the Ministries of Health in the four West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Between 24 and 27 July 2014, 122 new cases (laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) of EVD and 57 deaths were reported from the four countries as follows: Guinea, 33 new cases and 20 deaths; Liberia, 80 new cases and 27 deaths; Nigeria, 1 case and 1 death; Sierra Leone, 8 new cases and 9 deaths.

As of 27 July 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to EVD in the four countries stands at 1 323 including 729 deaths. The distribution and classification of the cases are as follows: Guinea, 460 cases (336 confirmed, 109 probable, and 15 suspected) including 339 deaths; Liberia, 329 cases (100 confirmed, 128 probable, and 101 suspected) including 156 deaths; Nigeria, 1 case (1 probable who died); and Sierra Leone, 533 cases (473 confirmed, 38 probable, and 22 suspected) including 233 deaths.

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28 juli 2014

- Met ingang van 28 oktober a.s. zal de TAP weer vliegen naar en van Bissau; daarmee zal dan de enige directe vlucht van Bissau naar Lissabon v.v. - opgeschort sinds 10 december 2013 - weer hersteld zijn; de vluchten zullen plaatsvinden op dinsdag, donderdag en zaterdag op de gebruikelijke middernachtelijke tijden;


 
                                        
- Equatoriaal Guiné is als volwaardig lid in de CPLP opgenomen, o.a. omdat aan de voorwaarde van een moratorium voor het toepassen van de doodstraf is voldaan; 


_______________________________________________
24 juli 2014

  

 

   
- Equatoriaal Guiné treedt toe tot de CPLP.
- Hoezo ?
- Praten ze Portugees in Equatoriaal Guiné ?

- Petrolees.

                    president van Equatoriaal Guiné

               Teodoro Obiang Nguema, moordenaar !


 - van www.irinnews.org:

Rosewood plunder in Guinea-Bissau


BISSAU, 22 July 2014 (IRIN) - During the March-May cashew nut harvesting season, it is normal to see heavy trucks line Amílcar Cabral Avenue in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau’s capital, waiting to offload their cargo onto ships. But when they line up all year long, suspicion is raised, especially when demand for the country’s cashews has plummeted.

From interior regions of Guinea-Bissau, the trucks openly haul tree trunks, said Constantino Correia, an agro-engineer and former director of the country’s forest management agency. The cargo, mainly African rosewood, is destined for China, according to Abílio Rachid Said of the government Institute of Biodiversity and Protected Areas (IBAP).

Environmental activists have been denouncing illegal logging in Guinea-Bissau for some years, but now it may be too late “as we risk not having [the African rosewood] in the coming years,” warned Said.
“It is a type of wood in extremely high demand in the Chinese market,” he said. Worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, Bissau-Guinean rosewood is used, among other things, to make Hongmu furniture, red-coloured luxury Chinese furniture replicating the styles of the Qing period.

Various
reports by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) indicate that China’s craze for rosewood has already driven dramatic increases in illegal logging elsewhere in the world.

Following the April 2012 military coup, rule of law almost completely broke down in Guinea-Bissau, heightening corruption and fanning illegal and wanton deforestation.

“There has always been illegal cutting of trees,” Fodé Mané, president of Human Rights Network in Guinea-Bissau, told IRIN. “The difference is that it wasn’t as abusive as it is now.”

He pointed out that protests by affected local communities worried about the loss of the forests and source of their livelihood have resulted in intimidation and abuse by the National Guard (in charge of internal security) and the military.

Poverty and plunder

Guinea-Bissau’s latest crisis also
drove up misery for its mainly rural population, as donors froze funds, while the prices of its main export commodity, cashew nuts, plunged due to falling demand.  Eighty percent of the country’s 1.6 million people are involved in cashew nut production.

The falling prices saw the terms of trade for cashew deteriorate sharply for the local population, with a kilo of rice being exchanged for three kilos of cashew nuts in 2013, up from a 1:1 ratio the previous year, according to an
assessment by the World Food Programme in 2013 (the latest available data).

To access their forests, loggers may typically pay impoverished communities around $500. Young villagers may be paid as little as $2-6 to cut a tree. The average price per kilo of cashew nuts was about two US cents in 2013, though prices have improved slightly since then to about 50 US cents.

While tree felling provides them with quick money, communities are worse off as they are being deprived of their source of survival, experts said.

“It is from the forests that the people obtain wood, which is their primary domestic source of energy,” said Correia. “It is to the forests that the population goes to get its medicine… [and] meagre sources of protein though hunting animals. At this pace, deforestation is going to destroy the animals’ natural habitats and cause their disappearance.”

On the other hand a container-load of wood fetches between $6,000-10,000, while the price of a container of rosewood can reach $18,000, sources told IRIN. Rosewood can take almost 50 years to mature.

The country’s former anti-corruption chief Lassana Seidi described the illegal logging as “barbarism” epitomizing Guinea-Bissau’s decline. Nearly 70 percent of citizens of the West African country, which has been jolted by repeated coups and instability, live in poverty, according to the World Bank.

It appears that the illegal loggers have been able to obtain licences to harvest and export logs without requisite conditions such as setting up sawmills, wood shelters and subjecting themselves to the supervision of the General Directorate of Forests and Wildlife to ensure compliance with regulations, several environmental activists said.

“Now, anyone who owns a saw can have a license,” said IBAP’s Said.

According to the forestry regulations, only processed timber can be exported. But local newspapers have reported that containers full of unprocessed logs are being shipped out of the country. Recently, citizen pressure group Ação Cidadã, or Citizen Action, said logging concessions were being handed out for wood harvesting in protected areas and in forests held sacred by local communities.


In a petition, the group said extensive logging was ongoing under the eyes of the military in Dulombi National Park in western Guinea-Bissau and Lagoas de Cufada National Park near the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

Laws need to be applied

Former forest management director Correia said that despite certain weaknesses, strict application of the regulations could significantly improve forest conservation. “The problem,” he said, “is the inexistence of the state.”

Guinea-Bissau in April elected
a new president and government to end the post-coup transition, and hopes to reverse its international isolation and economic decline.

Local populations have tried to resist and continue to decry the extensive wood harvesting, but their efforts have had little success or effect due to harassment and repression. “The locals, poor as they are, cannot resist the bribes offered. Sometimes even if they want to resist, they don’t have the strength to do so. Against the military, there is no possible resistance,” said Correia.

Rights activist Mané explained that as criticism against illegal logging increases, the Chinese operators, in order to avoid further exposure, have started offering higher prices for the wood at Bissau’s port. “The trafficking chain now involves a lot of nationals,” he said.

There are suspicions that the trafficking involves the police, forest guards as well as high-level government and military officials, which makes any form of control or law enforcement very difficult.

A source, who requested anonymity, told IRIN that army or police officers turn a blind eye, allowing the logs to reach the port for a US$200 bribe.

There may be irreversible losses resulting from the deforestation, warns Said of IBAP, calling for immediate implementation of reforestation plans and suspension of all wood harvesting concessions.

Activists and experts agree that above all the law must be enforced.  The end of the two-year transition period is bringing hope for a new beginning. The Council of Ministers on 11 July announced a
temporary suspension of all timber exports and decided to prioritize cashew exports.

Mané noted that the election of a new civilian government was starting to have a deterrent effect on the deforestation.

However, not all share the optimism. Much of the illegal logging benefits a few military officials who are unlikely to easily give up huge profits. According to some activists, illegal logging will continue but under more subtle guises.

ms/ob/cb
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23 juli 2014

Minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira is gisteren in Dili (Oost Timor) aangekomen voor de top van staatshoofden en regeringsleiders van de CPLP (Gemeenschap van Portugeestalige Landen) die daar gehouden wordt. Belangrijke agendapunten zijn de her-toetreding van Guiné-Bissau tot de organisatie en de toelating van Equatoriaal Guiné als volwaardig lid. Dat laatste land wil al heel lang tot de CPLP behoren maar voldeed (voldoet ?) niet aan de voorwaarden die wat dat betreft aan de mensenrechten worden gesteld. Zo werden er in 2014 nog mensen ter dood veroordeeld. Equatoriaal Guiné, al decennialang op dictatoriale wijze geregeerd door Teodoro Obiang Nguema, is officieel een Spaanstalig land (het enige Afrikaanse land waar Spaans de officiele taal is) en daarnaast is ook Frans een officiele taal. Vooral om economisch belangen maar ook omdat een klein stukje van het land, het eiland Fernando Pó, vroeger deel uit maakte van Portugees Afrika, wordt al jaren toetreding tot de CPLP nagestreefd. Obiang wordt wel vergeleken met Idi Amin en Robert Mugabe. Veel kunstenaars, (ex-)politici, intellektuelen en mensenrechtenactivisten binnen de Gemeenschap van Portugeestalige Landen (vooral in Portugal, maar ook in de andere landen en in Guiné-Bissau) verzetten zich al jaren tegen de toetreding, maar het ziet ernaar uit dat het lidmaatschap nu toch een feit wordt.


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18 juli 2014

- in de slotverklaring van de voorzitter van de Europese Commissie José Manuel Durão Barroso n.a.v. het bezoek van minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira aan Brussel, verklaarde deze dat een speciale missie van de EU al in het land is om een urgent herstelprogramma vast te stellen, hetgeen er op neer zal komen dat deze de nieuwe regering gaat steunen bij het uitvoeren van prioriteiten, waaronder het betalen van salarissen van ambtenaren, het beschikbaar maken van water en electriciteit en steun aan de landbouw; 

- de president van Guiné-Bissau, José Mário Vaz, is tenslotte toch uitgenodigd voor de top Verenigde Staten-Afrika die begin augustus in Washington gehouden zal worden (zie 4 juli op deze pagina); hetzelfde geldt voor de president van Egypte; zowel Guiné-Bissau als Egypte zijn onlangs weer als lid van de Afrikaanse Unie toegelaten en daarmee was aan de voorwaarde voor een uitnodiging door Obama voldaan; de staatshoofden van Eritrea, Soedan en Zimbabwe zijn niet uitgenodigd;              
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15 juli 2014

- van www.irinnews.org:

Statelessness = invisibility in West Africa

    


DAKAR, 15 July 2014 (IRIN) - At least 750,000 people are stateless in West Africa, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which is calling for governments to do more to give or restore the nationality of stateless individuals, and improve national laws to prevent statelessness.
                                                                     
Many in the region are both stateless and refugees, said Emmanuelle Mitte, senior protection officer on statelessness with UNHCR in Dakar, but 80 percent of West Africans are stateless within their own country, lacking proof of the criteria required to guarantee their nationality.

Statelessness can block people’s ability to access health care, education or any form of social security. In the case of children who are separated from their families during emergencies, the lack of official documentation makes it much harder to reunite them, says the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Lack of official identification documents can mean a child enters into marriage, the labour market, or is conscripted into the armed forces, before the legal age.

Statelessness can also render people void of protection from abuse. Denied the right to work or move, they risk moving into the invisible underclass, said UNHCR’s West Africa protection officer, Kavita Brahmbhatt, who gave the example of a group of stranded non-documented Sierra Leonean migrants living in the slums of Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, selling charcoal as they were too poor to do anything else, and too scared to return home for fear of being punished. “They became a member of Monrovia’s underclass,” she said.

Statelessness not only stops people travelling across borders but restricts movement within countries such as Côte d’Ivoire or Mauritania, which are heavily check-pointed.  

“Nationality is not just a document; it affects all of your rights as a citizen. Without a nationality you’re invisible, you don’t exist,” said Mitte. According to her, the 750,000 figure is “just the tip of the iceberg” - no studies have been undertaken to document the number officially. But UNHCR estimates at least 10 million people are stateless worldwide.

Stateless children

Stateless children are particularly vulnerable as there is little that they can do to fight for their cause.
Lack of birth registration is the first step to statelessness for many children: some 230 million under-fives globally have never been registered, according to UNICEF. West Africa suffers very low rates of birth registration: just 4 percent of infants are registered in Liberia; 16 percent in Chad, and 24 percent in Guinea-Bissau, making them among the world’s worst 10 performers.

“Birth registration is more than just a right. It’s how societies first recognize and acknowledge a child’s identity and existence,” said Geeta Rao Gupta, UNICEF deputy executive director in a late 2013 communique launching the report
Every Child’s Birth Right: Inequities and trends in birth registration.

A significant proportion of West Africa’s three million double orphans (children with no living parent) are stateless, as are almost all of the region’s street children, known as talibés.

“People never look at the talibé issue from the standpoint of statelessness. It’s the elephant in the room,” said Brahmbhatt.

Emergencies and statelessness

Emergency-linked displacement causes stateless figures to spike. The Chadian government helped evacuate tens of thousands of Chadians from Central African Republic (CAR) into southern Chad where most are still living in temporary transit camps. But many arrived without papers to prove their identity and thus fear for their future. Youths who attended secondary schools in CAR told IRIN they had no papers to register at secondary schools in Chad.

Furthermore, many people living in transit camps are from Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, but have no papers. “You can’t send them to a country where they will have no state,” said Mitte.

Citizens of Niger (Nigeriens) who fled Boko Haram attacks on their villages in Nigeria to return to Niger face a similar predicament as most arrived with no papers. “People flee leaving their documents behind thinking they’ll soon return or that they’re safer left at home,” said Mitte. The Niger government demands a birth certificate as an initial document to certify Nigerien citizenship but almost all returnees IRIN spoke to in Diffa, eastern Niger, said they had left them behind. Dozens of interviewees said they fled quickly in the night as their houses were set on fire, and they fear their paperwork, alongside most of their possessions, has been burned or looted.  

Taking action

Statelessness usually occurs because people cannot provide the necessary documentation to prove their identity when state laws exist. But in some cases the laws are simply too weak to impose or do not sufficiently help protect citizens’ rights.

Governments must adjust their laws to fit with the Conventions they have signed, notably the 1954 Convention relating to the status of Stateless Persons, and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, said UNHCR.  The gap between signing up to and applying international norms remains too wide, say campaigners.  

A first step in reducing statelessness is to raise awareness that it exists, and of its impact. “People don’t know about statelessness or to fight for it, so they don’t ask for help,” said Mitte. As such, UNHCR runs trainings on statelessness among legal experts, government officials, civil society groups and journalists to try to get the word out.

Progress on documenting individuals in West Africa is slow partly because there is more leeway for people to live in invisibility in a region dominated by a largely informal economy. In Europe stateless individuals would not last long before being imprisoned or deported, said one critic. But as West African economies and societies formalize legally and increase border restrictions linked to terrorism concerns, it will probably become more difficult to live without paperwork, said Mitte.

UNHCR advises governments on how to help individuals acquire identity documents and to include nationality issues in wider governance plans, among other activities.

Civil society groups play an important role in giving legal advice to individuals on how to obtain documentation but could do more, say campaigners. UNHCR urges NGOs to bring forward strategic legal cases. Thus far just a few cases of statelessness have been brought up with national judicial bodies in Africa and only two cases have been examined by the African Commission, according to UNHCR. None have yet been brought to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) court of justice.

UNHCR works closely with other UN agencies and with NGOs to address statelessness holistically. It works closely with UNICEF, given UNICEF’s long-term efforts to boost birth registration, which are starting to pay off, said child protection specialist in West and Central Africa Mirkka Tuulia Mattila. In the region, Benin, Burkina Faso and Senegal have improved registration rates, introducing SMS registration systems and removing registration fees.

The key is to tie registration to all maternal and child health services, with registration as the grounding factor, she stressed.

aj/cb

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13 juli 2014

- minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira bezocht afgelopen vrijdag het Nationaal Ziekenhuis Simão Mendes (HNSM) in gezelschap van de minister van Gezondheid Valentina Mendes en minister van Binnenlandse Zaken Botche Candé; bij die gelegenheid zei hij dat hij zich van de ernst van de situatie in het ziekenhuis op de hoogte had gesteld en dat hij van plan is elke vrijdag een instelling te bezoeken om zich van de situatie ter plaatse op de hoogte te stellen; wat de situatie in het ziekenhuis betreft zei hij te hopen dat als eenmaal de oplossingen voor de problemen gevonden zijn de mensen in de sector ook in staat zullen zijn te doen wat nodig is; gevraagd naar de hervatting van de TAP-vluchten Bissau-Lissabon v.v., zei hij dat de betrokken verantwoordelijken van Guiné-Bissau en Portugal al met elkaar in gesprek zijn over hoe de problemen opgelost kunnen worden;

                                              

-
van www.who.org:

  

Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

Disease outbreak news

 
10 July 2014

 

Epidemiology and surveillance

The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to monitor the evolution of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. In Guinea, the current epidemic trend shows low activity of community viral transmission, with only 1 confirmed EVD case reported in the last 7 days. This trend is being closely monitored, particularly in communities that had resistance to recommended outbreak control measure. The epidemic trend in Liberia and Sierra Leone remains precarious with high numbers of new cases and deaths being reported. The current active foci of the EVD outbreak have been identified as Kailahun and Kenema in Sierra Leone and Lofa and Montserrado in Liberia. The respective Ministries of Health are working with WHO and its partners to step up containment measures.

Health sector response

As part of the effort to control this outbreak, Dr Keiji Fukuda, the Assistant Director-General for WHO’s Health Security cluster and Dr Benido Impouma, the Sub-regional Coordinator for the outbreak response visited Sierra Leone and Guinea from 7–10 July 2014. The WHO’s delegation engaged and had dialogue with high-level political and Government authorities aimed to enhance national leadership and commitment. The delegation also held discussions with the national coordination structures for EVD outbreak response, including partners, in order to strengthen coordination, communication, and inter-sectoral collaboration.

A Sub-regional Outbreak Coordination Centre for the response is being established in Conakry, Guinea. The centre will act as a control and coordination platform to consolidate and harmonize the technical support to West African countries and to assist in resource mobilization.

The Sub-regional Centre will be responsible for ensuring effective use and deployment of limited and scarce, but highly critical resources based on prioritization and agreed objectives. The organization and coordination of key support functions and field operations will move closer to outbreak areas, or hot spots.

In addition, the Sub-regional Centre will:

  • Ensure      sufficient technical and operational support and resources to sustain      response activities in the field, facilitate the coordination of the      Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) partners and networks,      prepare public communications materials and activities, engage in      contingency planning, risk assessments, and scaling of operations as      required, and secure an environment that enables effective and successful      field operations.
  • Define      operational periods to achieve agreed objectives and ensure the planning,      coordination, and optimum use of limited resources, as well as continuity      of action and management.
  • Direct      human and material resources to communications and social mobilization,      investigation of alerts and new outbreaks, case finding and contact      tracing, surveillance and data management, patient treatment and care,      logistics, stockpiling, and movement of personal protective equipment to      key locations.
  • Provide      technical guidance and resources, communications support, decision-making,      and reporting for all field teams in the subregion.

 

WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone based on the current information available for this event.

 

Disease update

New cases and deaths attributable to Ebola virus disease (EVD) continue to be reported by the Ministries of Health in the three West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Between 6 and 8 July 2014, 44 new cases of EVD, including 21 deaths, were reported from the three countries as follows: Guinea, 1 new case and 2 deaths; Liberia, 11 new cases with 4 deaths; and Sierra Leone 32 new cases and 15 deaths. These numbers include laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases and deaths of EVD.

As of 8 July 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to EVD in the three countries stands at 888, including 539 deaths. The distribution and classification of the cases are as follows: Guinea, 409 cases (296 confirmed, 96 probable, and 17 suspected) and 309 deaths (197 confirmed, 96 probable, and 16 suspected); Liberia, 142 cases (70 confirmed, 32 probable, and 40 suspected) and 88 deaths (44 confirmed, 28 probable, and 16 suspected); and Sierra Leone, 337 cases (298 confirmed, 34 probable, and 5 suspected) and 142 deaths (127 confirmed, 11 probable, and 4 suspected).

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10 juli 2014

President José Mário Vaz is in Accra (Ghana) aangekomen om voor het eerst deel te nemen aan de top van staatshoofden van de Economische Gemeenschap van Westafrikaanse Staten CEDEAO (ECOWAS). De 32ste top staat in het teken van de politieke situatie en de veiligheid in de regio, o.a. in Guiné-Bissau en Mali. Aan de top nemen deel de voorzitter van de Afrikaanse Unie, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, en de algemeen secretaris van de Verenigde Naties Ban Ki-moon.



    

 

 

 

    
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9 juli 2014

- de ex-president van São Tomé en Principe, Miguel Trovoada, wordt de nieuwe speciale vertegenwoordiger van de algemeen secretaris van de Verenigde Naties Ban Ki-Moon voor Guiné-Bissau, hij volgt José Ramos-Horta op aan wiens missie eind juni een einde kwam; Miguel Trovoada (77 jaar) was ook de eerste minister-president van São Tomé en Principe na de afhankelijkheid (1975);



                          
- op  het ogenblik is er een speciale missie van de EU in het land om de politieke banden met Guiné-Bissau te herbevestigen en om een programma van urgente hulp vast te stellen, dat het de nieuwe regering mogelijk moet maken om de meest nijpende problemen aan te pakken; vertegenwoordigers van de EU zullen ontmoetingen hebben met de nieuwe president, de nieuwe minister-president en de nieuwe parlementsvoorzitter; ook zullen er ontmoetingen plaatsvinden met ministers en staatssecretarissen, meermalen samen met vertegenwoordigers van de Wereldbank, de Afrikaanse Ontwikkelingsbank BAD en het IMF; op korte termijn worden missies verwacht van de Gemeenschap van Portugeestalige Landen CPLP, de Afrikaanse Unie, de Economische Gemeenschap van Westafrikaanse Staten CEDEAO (ECOWAS) en de Verenigde Naties;


 _______________________________________________                                      

6 juli 2014


- van www.rfi.fr:

 

Guinée-Bissau: un solide gouvernement prêt à relever les défis

par RFI

Liliana Henriques/RFI

  

Investi jeudi par le chef de l’Etat bissau-guinéen José Mario Vaz, le Premier ministre Domingos Simões Pereira a formé ce vendredi 4 juillet son gouvernement. Une équipe composée de 31 membres dont quatre femmes placées à la Défense, à la Justice, à la Santé et aux Affaires sociales.

C’est une forte équipe de 31 membres dont la taille correspond aux défis à relever. La plupart des ministres ont au moins déjà occupé un poste ministériel, ou sont rompus à la tâche.

Quatre femmes font leur entrée et occupent des postes clés : la Défense nationale à Cadi Mané, la Justice à Carmelita Pires, la Santé à Valentina Mendès et les Affaires sociales à Giloni Nan Tamba Nhassé.

Le ministère des Affaires étrangères revient à un diplomate de carrière, Mario Lopes da Rosa, précédemment ministre de la Pêche dans le gouvernement de Transition. Plusieurs fois ambassadeur en Europe et en Asie, il connaît parfaitement les méandres diplomatiques devant faciliter le retour des grands partenaires qui avaient suspendu leur aide à la Guinée-Bissau depuis le coup d’Etat d’avril 2012.

Au ministère de l’Intérieur se trouve un autodidacte, Botché Candé. Parti de rien, il y a une décennie, il a gravi les échelons de l’administration par son audace et son opiniâtreté.

Les défis sont énormes et les moyens inexistants. Le pays doit compter d’abord sur ses propres ressources pour créer des richesses. C’est ce qui justifie l’entrée au ministère de l’Economie et des Finances de Géraldo Joao Martins, haut cadre de la Banque mondiale.

           

- van www.who.org:
                                                  

Ebola virus disease, West Africa

Disease outbreak news

 
3 July 2014

 

Epidemiology and surveillance

The evolution of the Ebola virus disease outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia remains a serious concern as primary and secondary viral transmissions continue to occur in both urban and rural communities. Analyses of the current trend and the potential risk factors for the continuing spread of this epidemic have been conducted. The major factors responsible for continuous propagation of EVD outbreak in the sub-region include:

1. Some negative cultural practices and traditional beliefs, resulting into mistrust, apprehension and resistance to adopt recommended public health preventive measures. The implication of this include poor health care seeking behaviour such as hiding of EVD patients, home-based management of EVD patients, and customary treatment of dead bodies. These are very high risk practices leading to extensive exposures to Ebola virus in the community. Consequently, community deaths continue to be reported. In addition, the potential contacts to the EVD patients managed at home and exposures during customary burial procedures are not systematically identified and put under observation (very critical measures for containment of community transmission of Ebola virus). This is therefore a major factor amplifying the outbreak.

2. The extensive movement of people within and across borders has facilitated rapid spread of the infection across and within the three countries. The homogeneous community living along the border areas have common socio-cultural activities that enhance viral transmission e.g. visiting sick relatives or attending to burial ceremonies of relatives across the border. In addition, the cross border movement has complicated tracking and follow up of contacts, with several contacts loss to follow up.

3. Currently, the coverage of effective outbreak containment measures is not comprehensive. The unprecedented geographical expanse of the EVD outbreak in the three countries requires enormous and robust response capacity and structures in terms of human capital, financial, operational and logistics requirements. This is the first major EVD outbreak in West Africa and the affected countries had weak capacity and structures for epidemic preparedness and response, particularly for viral haemorrhagic fever. Lastly, the apprehension of some communities limits access to affected population with effective outbreak control measures.

 

Health sector response

In an effort to rapidly interrupt further spread of the Ebola virus, the World Health Organization convened a special Ministerial meeting on Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa. The meeting, held on 2-3 July 2014 in Accra, Ghana, brings together Ministers of Health and senior health officials from 11 African countries (Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Uganda), as well as partners, Ebola survivors, representatives of airlines and mining companies, and the donor communities. The objective of the meeting was to obtain consensus from Member States and partners on the optimal ways to interrupt the ongoing Ebola virus transmission in West Africa in order to reduce the human, social and economic impact of the current and future EVD outbreaks. The meeting focused on getting a clear understanding of current situation and response, including gaps and challenges; developing a comprehensive operational response plan for controlling the outbreak; priority preparedness activities to be implemented by countries at risk; and engagement of national authorities to optimally respond to EVD outbreak.

WHO, technical partners in the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), UN agencies and donors continue to provide the necessary technical support to the Ministries of Health to stop the transmission of the EVD in the communities and health facilities.

The support is provided in the form of deployment of additional experts; provision of field logistics; and provision of equipment which include the establishment of field laboratories, personal protective equipment and medical supplies.

WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone based on the current information available for this event.

 

Summary statistics

New cases and deaths attributable to Ebola virus disease (EVD) continue to be reported by the Ministries of Health in the three West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Between 1and 2 July 2014, 21 new cases of EVD, including 14 deaths, were reported from the three countries, as follows: Guinea, 0 new case and 2 deaths; Liberia, 8 new cases with 10 deaths; and Sierra Leone 13 new cases and 2 deaths. These numbers include laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases and deaths of EVD.

As of 2 July 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to EVD in the three countries stands at 779, including 481 deaths. The distribution and classification of the cases are as follows: Guinea, 412 cases (292 confirmed, 100 probable, and 20 suspected) and 305 deaths (194 confirmed, 94 probable, and 17 suspected); Liberia, 115 cases (54 confirmed, 24 probable, and 37 suspected) and 75 deaths (38 confirmed, 22 probable, and 15 suspected); and Sierra Leone, 252 cases (211 confirmed, 35 probable, and 6 suspected) and 101 deaths (67 confirmed, 29 probable, and 5 suspected). A table summarizing the statistics is found at the end.

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5 juli 2014

Sinds gistermiddag heeft Guiné-Bissau - na twee jaar en drie maanden - weer een democratisch gekozen regering. Minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira maakte zijn ploeg van ministers (16) en staatssecretarissen (15)  bekend. Van de regering maken vijf leden deel uit van de een na grootste partij PRS en in totaal drie leden van drie kleinere partijen.

 

 

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4 juli 2014

- van www.jeuneafrique.com:


                                              
           

                                         foto: AFP

Sommet États-Unis-Afrique : qui en sera ?

Par Pierre Boisselet

Quels chefs d'État du continent se rendront à Washington pour le sommet États-Unis-Afrique des 5 et 6 août prochain et quel en sera le programme ? Éléménts de réponse.

À moins de deux mois du prochain sommet États-Unis-Afrique, on y voit un peu plus clair sur l'identité des chefs d'État que Barack Obama accueillera à Washington les 5 et 6 août.

Les délégations devraient arriver dès le 4 pour assister à une manifestation organisée par le Congrès. Puis, elles dîneront à la Maison Blanche, rencontreront 300 chefs d'entreprise et participeront à un "dialogue interactif" avec le président américain - sans tête-à-tête.

Michelle Obama a de son côté élaboré un programme spécial premières dames. Mais tous les chefs d'État ne sont pas les bienvenus. En principe, Washington définit sa liste des participants en se référant à la composition de l'Union africaine (UA)...

À quelques exceptions près. Ainsi, malgré sa réintégration au sein de l'institution, la Guinée-Bissau n'a pas été invitée. Madagascar, qui ne figurait pas au nombre des heureux élus, a reçu un carton une fois sa transition achevée. La Centrafrique en revanche ne sera pas reçue.

L'Égypte "en cours d'examen"

Quant à l'Égypte, réintégrée par l'UA, son cas est "en cours d'examen", indique le département d'État. Et le Maroc, qui n'appartient pourtant pas à l'Union, est attendu - contrairement aux responsables de la République arabe sahraouie démocratique (RASD).

Restent interdits de sommet Omar el-Béchir, le président soudanais, visé par un mandat d'arrêt de la Cour pénale internationale (CPI), l'Érythréen Issayas Afewerki et le Zimbabwéen Robert Mugabe, toujours soumis à des sanctions américaines.

Mais d'autres États en délicatesse avec Washington (comme l'Ouganda, qui a durci sa législation homophobe) ne seront pas exclus de l'événement. Son thème, "investir dans la prochaine génération", en dit toutefois long sur l'opinion d'Obama à l'égard de ceux qui modifient leur Constitution pour s'accrocher au pouvoir.

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30 juni 2014

- van www.reuters.org:

West African nations should be prepared for Ebola - WHO expert

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, June 27 (Reuters) - West African nations neighbouring those hit by the Ebola epidemic - Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Guinea Bissau - should prepare for the possible arrival of travellers carrying the deadly virus, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

The outbreak persists especially in forested areas of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and its spread is being fueled by unsafe burial practices that infect relatives handling bodies, the U.N. agency said. 

"We want other countries in West Africa to be ready - bordering countries, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, Guinea Bissau - to prepare themselves in case people affected with the disease may be also travelling," WHO medical officer Dr. Pierre Formenty told a briefing in Geneva.

Despite efforts by national health authorities and international aid organisations to contain its spread, the WHO has recorded 635 infections, including 399 deaths, in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since the outbreak began in February.

Some of the sick have travelled to get medical treatment, spreading the disease to big cities such as the Guinea capital of Conakry and Liberian capital of Monrovia, Formenty said.

"Roads exist in all of West Africa. There are roads going to Bamako, going to Abidjan, going to Dakar," he said.

Ebola causes vomiting and diarrhoea, impairs kidney and liver function and may cause internal and external bleeding.

It kills up to 90 percent of those infected. It is spread by close contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected people or high-risk animals such as monkeys. The incubation period is from 2 to 21 days and there is no treatment or vaccine.

The epidemic is already the deadliest since Ebola first emerged in central Africa in 1976, and the number of infections continues to rise.

"In Sierra Leone, the staff are really working very hard to contain the outbreak, so in terms of statistics we are really behind ... You should understand that probably the scope of the outbreak in Sierra Leone is bigger than what we are reporting today," Formenty said.

The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Monday that the epidemic is out of control and requires massive resources from governments and aid agencies to halt its spread.

Health workers have been able to control outbreaks in some places but it was proving more difficult in some other sites, partly due to the difficulty of convincing families about the required changes in behaviour.

"We are not there yet, we shall continue our effort. Because for me the only way we will succeed is when the people will understand clearly how dangerous it is for their life to conduct unsafe burial (practices) during an outbreak of Ebola," he said.

But he added: "This is not out of hand."

He said the U.N. health agency is not considering recommending travel or trade restrictions on the three countries, calling them "drastic measures".

"We favour much more the dialogue with the affected family, the affected village and the affected district, than really trying to be a sort of sanitary police who would try to control any movement of the population."

WHO's Regional Director for Africa Luis Sambo on Thursday called for drastic action to halt what he said has turned into a cross-border crisis.

West African health ministers are due to meet in Accra, Ghana on July 2 and 3 to try to coordinate a regional response. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

                                              

- en van www.irinnews.org:

Guinea-Bissau’s tough post-coup recovery

 

BISSAU, 16 June 2014 (IRIN) - The recent successful holding of legislative and presidential elections has raised hopes that Guinea-Bissau can move closer to the end of a two-year political crisis marked by international isolation and a devastating economic decline.

 

A post-elections rapprochement



The results were accepted by the population, international opinion and political rivals. There were concerns that the military, with a history of meddling in politics, would create problems if its preferred candidate, Nuno Gomes Nabiam, lost. But in a surprising move, António Indjai, the army chief and leader of the April 2012 coup that provoked a new political breakdown and sent the country backwards, publicly saluted president-elect José Mário Vaz, who beat Nabiam into to second place.



Since the elections, Vaz’s African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC,) that has historically dominated Guinea-Bissau’s politics, has sought to pursue dialogue with the main opposition Social Renewal Party (PRS).

 

This effort has been welcomed by Guinea-Bissau’s international partners, who have encouraged the PAIGC to avoid a “winner-takes-all” mentality, and bring its opponents into the fold. UN Special Representative José Ramos-Horta has
repeatedly called for an inclusive government.



According to Vincent Foucher, Dakar-based analyst with the International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank, the high levels of political violence and the repeated instability witnessed in the past have been driven by intense competition for access to state resources.



“Fundamentally, the country’s economy remains weak and clientelistic. So the state is the key prize, and the political game is winner-take-all. That is why the few hundred business, political and military figures that play the game sometimes come up with violent manoeuvres.” Foucher argues that: “the best defence against another coup is a civilian regime that maintains its legitimacy through policy outcomes and good governance.”

 
How to rein in the military



But the structural problems that have handicapped Guinea-Bissau in the past have not gone away. Foucher stresses that sorting out dire administrative problems and establishing proper governance will not be easy. Previous efforts to reform the security sector have faced strong resistance, particularly when they challenged the long-established privileges of the armed forces. Guinea-Bissau’s army remains oversized and top-heavy, with many long-serving officers reluctant to retire.



“It is true that there is a history of military interference in politics in Guinea-Bissau, but today, the political context is different,” argues Ovidio Pequeno, special representative for the African Union (AU). “The military have always interfered when the politicians are weak and divided. As for now, the new authorities have the legitimacy to lead the country.”

 
Mending the economy



Analysts point out that Guinea-Bissau’s new political authorities have to revamp a broken-backed economy and address serious deficiencies in hard-hit sectors like health and education.



Poverty rates are extreme. Guinea-Bissau has long been blighted by high levels of corruption. Illegal logging and over-fishing are amongst the issues that will have to be dealt with. Problems like salary arrears, going back over a long period, will require external assistance. “The government that will take over will find the coffers empty,” Pequeno warns.

 

Deforestation and drugs trafficking



President-elect Vaz has promised to closely review all contracts for the exploration of natural resources. Over the past year, environmentalists have been warning of the risks of a brutal devastation of Guinea-Bissau’s forests. A local newspaper recently denounced the logging by Chinese and Gambian companies in the Region of Quínara.

 

Combating
drug-trafficking will be another difficult challenge. With no proper oversight, poorly paid police and armed forces, and a barely functioning justice system, Guinea-Bissau has long been identified as one of West Africa’s leading “narco states”, dangerously vulnerable to the influence of drug traffickers. Former navy chief Bubo Na Tchuto, who was captured by US forces in April 2013, recently pleaded guilty on charges of conspiring to bring drugs into the United States.



Last year, a
slump in the price of cashew nuts, Guinea-Bissau main export earner, which sustains some 80 percent of its 1.6 people, left nearly half of the population facing serious food shortages. 2013 was the second consecutive year of falling cashew nut prices in the country.

 
What has changed since April 2012 ?



The crisis provoked by the coup in April 2012 has brought dire economic consequences and bitter lessons.



“What has changed is that people in the army and in politics have learned the hard way that coups brought international isolation, and that isolation brought major budgetary issues,” said ICG’s Foucher.



In the aftermath of the April 2012 military coup, Guinea-Bissau’s main international donors, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank suspended technical and financial aid. According to the African Economic Outlook, Guinea-Bissau’s fiscal deficit widened to 4.7 percent of the GDP in 2013 from 2.7 in 2012. Budgetary shortfalls meant slashing state expenditure, driving the country further into poverty.



The return to constitutional order should pave the way for renewed international support, which in turn should help initiate some kind of
economic revival.

 

 
Learning the lessons



“There are many lessons that the coup has taught the politicians, the military and the people in general; a sort of national experience. The difficulties experienced during the two years of transition have convinced the majority that a coup is not a solution for solving political problems,” says AU’s Pequeno.



In addition, the emergence of a new and younger set of political leaders is a source of hope for the country’s stability, Pequeno told IRIN.



According to Luís Vaz Martins, president of the Guinean Human Rights League (GHRL), much has changed as the country now finally has a legitimate government and an elected president due to be inaugurated on 23 June.

 



Reconciliation and amnesty



A formal accord between the PAIGC and the PRS in which they agree to work together for reconciliation, is an important signal.

In a joint statement signed by the in-coming Prime Minister Domingos Simões Pereira and the leader the PRS Alberto Nambeia, the two parties have agreed to work for a bill to accord amnesty to the leaders of the 2012 coup. This, however, may well trigger angry reactions as many believe it will help perpetuate the widespread impunity that has reigned in the country.



The idea of an amnesty was previously put forward by the transitional government, but blocked in the National Assembly and heavily criticized by civil society and human rights groups. GHRL president Martins told IRIN that his organization will oppose any attempt to approve an amnesty bill. True reconciliation, he said, is achieved through transitional justice.



Nevertheless, in its April 2014
report, the ICG suggested that the newly formed National Assembly pass the bill. ICG’s Foucher can see the drawbacks, but acknowledges that an amnesty now “is an acceptable price to pay for political stability and a chance to try and build stronger institutions that can make the lives of the whole population better.”



ms/ob/cs

__________________________________________
26 juni 2014

Gisteren heeft president José Mário Vaz de leider van de meerderheidspartij PAIGC, Domingos Simões Pereira ,benoemd tot minister-president. Hij zal spoedig de samenstelling van zijn ploeg van ministers en staatssecretarissen bekend maken.


_______________________________________________

25 juni 2015


Vandaag is onder grote nationale en internationale belangstelling in
de nieuwe president José Mário Vaz ("JOMAV") beëdigd; velen halen opgelucht adem; zijn mandaat zal 5 jaren duren:

_______________________________________________

19 juni 2014

- In Portugal verklaart de minister van Buitenlandse Zaken, Rui Machete, dat nu de democratie in Guiné-Bissau hersteld is, de relaties tusen de twee landen weer genormaliseerd zullen worden; dat betekent o.a. dat ontwikkelingsprogramma's weer voortgezet kunnen worden; ook betekent het dat zeer binnenkort de TAP-vluchten van en naar Bissau hervat zullen worden;

 

 

_______________________________________________
17 juni 2014

Sinds 10 uur vanmorgen heeft Guiné-Bissau eindelijk weer - sinds de militaire staatgreep van 12 april 2012 - een democratisch gekozen volksvertegenwoordiging en regering;

-volgens de nieuwe minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira, zal de nieuwe regering 25 ministers (16) en staatssecretarissen (9) tellen, die allen minimaal een universitaire opleiding voltooid hebben; 

                                            
- op 26 juni zal de democratisch gekozen president
Mário Vaz beëdigd worden. 

 

_______________________________________________

24 mei 2014

Gistermiddag maakte de Nationale Verkiezingscommissie CNE de definitieve uitslag van de tweede ronde van de presidentsverkiezingen bekend, die niet afweken van de voorlopige uitslagen: José Mário Vaz is de nieuwe president van het land. Hij was de kandidaat van de PAIGC, de partij die de parlementsverkiezingen won en die de minister-president, Domingos Simões Pereira, mag leveren.                           

 

 

De verslagen presidentskandidaat Nuno Gomes Nabiam heeft officiëel de resultaten aanvaard "ten behoeve van de vrede, de stabiliteit en de verzoening", maar blijft op het standpunt staan dat hij eigenlijk de verkiezingen gewonnen heeft. De internationale gemeenschap heeft de uitslag geaccepteerd en waarderende woorden gesproken over de burgerzin van de Guiné-Bissauers, die zo rustig en vreedzaam het verkiezingsproces hebben doorgemaakt.

_______________________________________________

23 mei 2014

Gistermiddag maakte de Nationale Verkiezingscommissie de voorlopige uitslag van de tweede ronde bekend: de nieuwe gekozen president van het land is José Mário Vaz, die 62% van de stemmen verwierf. Zijn tegenstander Nuno Gomes Nabiam (38% van de stemmen) bestreed onmiddellijk na die bekendmaking de resultaten en zei zichzelf als gekozen president te beschouwen (waar en wanneer hebben we dat liedje eerder gehoord ?). De militaire top riep op tot kalmte en verklaarde de door de commissie bekend gemaakte en nog bekend te maken resultaten te accepteren.

_______________________________________________
18 mei 2014

De tweede ronde van de presidentsverkiezingen is vanmorgen in alle rust begonnen.

_______________________________________________

3 mei 2014

Gisteren is de campagne begonnen voor de tweede ronde van de presidentsverkiezingen van 18 mei. De strijd gaat tussen de kandidaat van de PAIGC José Mário Vaz (bij de eerste ronde 40,89 % van de stemmen) en de door de een maand geleden overleden Kumba Yala gesteunde onafhankelijke kandidaat Nuno Gomes Nabiam (bij de eerste ronde 24,79 % van de stemmen). Op de foto van links naar rechts kandidaat Nuno Gomes Nabiam, de aanstaande minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira (partijleider van de PAIGC, die met 57 zetels de parlementsverkiezingen van 16 april j.l. won) en kandidaat José Mário Vaz ("JOMAV"):

 
_______________________________________________

30 april 2014

Gisteravond vierde de miniscule Nederlandse gemeenschap van Guiné-Bissau koningsdag, met veel genoegen en in gezelschap van o.a. de toekomstige minister-president Domingos Simões Pereira, de vertegenwoordiger van de Europese Unie Joaquin Gonzalez Ducay, overige diplomaten, vertegenwoordigers van het maatschappelijke middenveld en toevallige voorbijgangers. 
_______________________________________________
                                                                                                                               

20 april 2014

- aanstaande vrijdag, 25 april, drie weken na zijn overlijden, zal ex-president Kumba Yala met staatseer begraven worden (zie o.a. 4 april op deze pagina);

_______________________________________________

17 april

De tweede ronde van de presidentsverkiezingen zal gehouden worden op zondag 18 mei;  de bevolking mag kiezen tussen José Mário Vaz ("JOMAV"), kandidaat van  de PAIGC en de onafhankelijk kandidaat Nuno Gomes Nabiam.

__________________________________________                                                       
16 april 23.10 uur:


voorlopige uitslag van de parlementsverkiezingen:

01. PAIGC: 55 zetels

02. PRS: 41 zetels

03. PSD: 2 zetels

04. PRD: 1 zetel

05. UM: 1 zetel

_______________________________________________
16 april 23.00 uur:

voorlopige uitslag van de presidenstverkiezingen

01. Jose Mario Vaz: 40,98 % van de stemmen, kandidaat van de PAIGC

02. Nuno Nabiam: 25,14 % van de stemmen, onafhankelijk kandidaat

03. Paulo Gomes: 9,87 % van de stemmen, onafhankelijk kandidaat

_______________________________________________
16 april 22.35 uur : de ceremonie in het Azalai Hotel is begonnen; pas over 48 uur zullen de resultaten van de diaspora bekend zijn.

_______________________________________________
16 april 22.30 uur: in  het zwaar bewaakte Azalai Hotel waar de Nationale Verkiezingscommissie  de officiele voorlopige uitslagen bekend zal maken, is sprake van enige  "vertraging". Het lijkt waarschijnlijk dat wat de presidentsverkiezingen  betreft er een twee ronde zal zijn tussen José Mario Vaz, de kandidaat  van de PAIGC, en de onafhankelijke kandidaat Nuno Gomes Nabiam, de keuze  van de vorige week overleden PRS-oprichter Kumba Yala.

_______________________________________________
16 april 20.00 uur :
de voorzitter van de Nationale Verkiezingscommissie Augusto Mendes  verklaarde vanmorgen dat de officiele voorlopige verkiezingsuitslagen  vanavond om 19.00 uur (21.00 uur Nederlandse tijd) tegemoet kunnen  worden gezien:

 

_______________________________________________

15 april 2014                                            

Internationale en nationale verkiezingswaarnemers spraken gisteravond van "vreedzame verkiezingen" die vrijwel smetteloos zijn verlopen; de burgers werden geprezen om hun rust en waardigheid, maar de eerlijkheid gebiedt te zeggen dat het aan de burgers ook nooit gelegen heeft als een verkiezing de mist in ging. Met name de Nationale Verkiezingscommissie ging ook in op de historisch unieke grote opkomst van tussen de 70 en 80 procent van de kiesgerechtigden. De voorzitter van de Nationale Verkiezingscommissie, Augusto Mendes,  verklaarde dat pas aan het eind van de week de resultaten - en een eventuele tweede ronde -  officieel bekend gemaakt zullen worden.

_______________________________________________
13 april 2014


Vandaag kiezen de ongeveer 700.000 kiesgerechtigde Guine-Bissauers (50% van de totale bevolking) na twee harde overgangsjaren na de militair-burgerlijke staatsgreep van 12 april 2012 een president en een regering. In mijn dorp hangt een bijna serene rust, er hangt een sfeer van hoop en naderende opluchting bij de dorpsgenoten die langzaam door de hitte naar de 2 stembureaus (stemtafels) lopen en daar rustig in de rij gaan staan totdat hun naam wordt afgeroepen; autoverkeer is er niet, behalve dat van de officials van de Nationale Verkiezingscommissie en van een enkel militair of politie-voertuig, dat netjes op afstand blijft:


foto's r.g.: mijn buren en dorpsgenoten vanmorgen vroeg bij de stemtafel                            

Aanstaande dinsdag of woensdag zullen we weten hoe het afgelopen is; dat duurt zo lang omdat de uitslagen van de eilanden altijd lang op zich laten wachten; daarna zal duidelijk worden of er over twee weken een tweede ronde zal worden gehouden; en daarna kan ik hopelijk na twee jaar dat hatelijke soldaatje rechtsboven uit de opmaak verwijderen.

_______________________________________________
11 april 2014

- de afgelopen week riepen de Verenigde Staten, de Afrikaanse Unie, de Europese Unie, de Verenigde Naties, de Gemeenschap van Portugeestalige Landen CPLP en de de Europese Gemeenschap van Westafrikaanse Staten CEDEAO (ECOWAS) Guiné-Bissau op tot "vreedzame verkiezingen"; overmorgen mogen de Guiné-Bissauers twee jaren na de staatsgreep van 12 april 2012, een president en een parlement kiezen; de huidige voorzitter van de CEDEAO, de president van Ghana John Mahama, verklaarde vandaag in Bissau dat de militairen hem gegarandeerd hebben zich dit keer niet in de verkiezingen te mengen;

_______________________________________________                                             

5 april 2014

- de overgangsregering heeft drie dagen van nationale rouw afgekondigd i.v.m. het overlijden van Kumba Yalá; hij zal pas na de verkiezingen van 13 april een staatsbegrafenis krijgen;

- Kumba Yalá is de voor de staatsgreep van april 2012 tweede politiek verantwoordelijke die overlijdt; vorig jaar op 15 mei overleed Henrique Rosa Pereira, die na de eerste ronde van de presidentsverkiezingen van maart 2012  evenals Kumba Yalá de resultaten aanvocht. Hieronder de foto (maart 2012) van de destijds tegen de eerste ronde uitkomsten protesterende presidentskandidaten, die de kort daaropvolgende staatsgreep pleegden, ondersteunden dan wel gedoogden: Serifo Baldé, Afonso Té (thans kansloze presidentskandidaat), Kumba Yalá (gisteren overleden), Serifo Nhamadjo (huidige couppresident, ook wel overgangspresident genoemd, mag zich niet meer kandideren), Henrique Rosa Pereira (15 mei 2013 overleden);

 


                        
- de speciale afgevaardigde van de Verenigde Naties in Guiné-Bissau, José Ramos Horta, roept de overgangsregering op de grenzen met buurland Guiné-Conakry te sluiten om een uitbreken van de dodelijke Ebola epidemie te voorkomen; in Guiné zijn inmiddels meer dan honderd sterfgevallen te betreuren; de minister van gezondheid Agostinho Cá vond dat er dienaangaande nog geen beslissing genomen kon worden;

 

 

_______________________________________________
4 april 2014

 


Vanmorgen kort na middernacht is in het Militair Hospitaal Bissau ex-president Kumba Yalá op 61-jarige leeftijd aan een hartstilstand overleden. Kumba Yalá was de oprichter van de oppositiepartij PRS en hij was na zijn door een staatsgreep beëindigde presidentschap (2000-2003) nog meermalen kandidaat  bij de presidentsverkiezingen, voor het laatst in maart 2012, toen hij in de eerste ronde als tweede eindigde, de resultaten aanvocht en vervolgens zijn rol speelde bij de staatsgreep van 12 april 2012. Voor de presidentsverkiezingen van 13 april a.s. had hij zich niet kandidaat gesteld – hij zette begin dit jaar een punt achter zijn actieve rol in de politiek (zie 9 januari op deze pagina) – maar hij schoof wel een kandidaat naar voren: Nuno Gomes Nabiam. Tot gisteravond was hij nog met deze politieke vriend op campagne geweest. In  loop van de avond ging hij zich onwel voelen en werd hij naar het ziekenhuis gebracht. Kumba Yalá was zowel in eigen land als in de internationale gemeenschap – en tenslotte ook in zijn eigen partij – een zeer omstreden figuur vanwege zijn onvoorspelbaarheid en onbetrouwbaarheid en zijn neiging tot intimidatie en gebruik van geweld. Zijn eigenbelang was nauw verstrengeld met dat van hoge militairen en hun achterban.   Het is nogal onwaarschijnlijk dat hij niet betrokken was bij de drugshandel en de laatste tijd bovendien bij de illegale - zeer lucratieve - houtkap (export naar China), waarbij de door hem gesteunde presidentskandidaat ook een belang heeft.
   

__________________________________________                                       
2 april 2014

- aan grensposten tussen Guiné en Guiné-Bissau zijn sanitaire posten ingericht om uitbraak van het zeer besmettelijke en dodelijke Ebola virus naar het land te voorkomen; het virus heeft in Guiné al tot tientallen doden geleid; ook Senegal heeft maatregelen genomen aan de grenzen met Guiné, daar zijn ook grote regionale activiteiten, zoals jaarmarkten, geannuleerd; 
                 

- inmiddels zijn in Bissau 350 internationale verkiezingswaarnemers gearriveerd (voor 2983 over het land verspreide zogenaamde stemtafels);

_______________________________________________

29 maart 2014

- het staatsbedrijf voor electriciteit en water EAGB kondigde gisteren een 15-daagse staking af vanaf 31 maart; als zij voet bij stuk houdt, wordt daarmee de de benodigde infrastructuur voor de aanloop tot de verkiezingen van 13 april en van de verkiezingsdag zelf ernstig gecompliceerd; de werknemers eisen de uitbetaling van 37 maanden loonachterstand en de implementatie van een programma ten behoeve van de werknemers van 70 tot 82 jaar oud;

- ook de sectoren van onderwijs en gezondheidszorg dreigen de regering met een staking als zij niet binnen 48 uur de achterstallige salarissen in deze sectoren uitbetaalt;

_______________________________________________              

23 maart 2014

- de speciale vertegenwoordiger van Ban Ki-Moon voor Guiné-Bissau, José Ramos Horta, verklaarde eergisteren dat de Verenigde Naties geen gewelddadigheid en intimidatie rond de aanstaande verkiezingen zullen accepteren; in het geval van dergelijke ongeregeldheden zal hij niet aarzelen de Veiligheidsraad om maatregelen te vragen, want "niemand is boven de grondwet, de wet en internationale afspraken gesteld"; Ramos-Horta deed zijn uitspraak n.a.v. de kidnapping en mishandeling van een kandidaat-gedeputeerde van de partij PRS door militairen; de man werd mishandeld in de kazerne van de marine en is daarna met zijn verwondingen opgenomen in het ziekenhuis; achtergrond van de mishandeling is waarschijnlijk een onenigheid tussen twee facties binnen de PRS, een van die facties kan rekenen op de steun van de militairen, de andere niet; gisteren is de verkiezingscampagne begonnen voor de presidents- en parlementsverkiezingen van 13 april a.s.;

 

_______________________________________________                              
16 maart 2014

- vrijdag j.l. heeft het Hooggerechtshof een aantal personen en partijen van deelname aan de algemene verkiezingen van 13 april a.s. uitgesloten, waardoor er nu - opnieuw voorlopig - sprake is van 13 presidentskandidaten en 15 partijen:

  presidentskandidaten:

1.      Abel Incada (Partido da Renovacao Social, PRS)

2.      Afonso Té (Partido Republicano da Independência para o Desenvolvimento, PRID)

3.      Arregado Mantenque Té (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT)

4.      Cirilo Augusto Rodrigues de Oliveira (Partido Socialista, PS)

5.      Domingos Quadé (Independente)

6.      Hélder Vaz Lopes (Resistência da Guiné-Bissau, RGB)

7.      Iaia Djaló (Partido da Nova Democracia, PND)

8.      Ibraima Sori Djaló (Partido da Reconciliação Nacional, PRN)

9.      Jorge Malú (Independente)

10.  José Mário Vaz (Partido Africano da Independencia da Guine e Cabo Verde, PAIGC)

11.  Luís Nancassa (Independente)

12.  Nuno Gomes Na Biam (Independente)

13.  Paulo Gomes (Independente) 

partijen :

  1. Centro Democrático, CD
  2. Frente Democrática Social, FDC
  3. Manifesto do Povo, MP
  4. Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde, PAIGC
  5. Partido da Convergência Democrática, PCD
  6. Partido da Nova Democracia, PND
  7. Partido Republicano da Independência para o Desenvolvimento, PRID
  8. Partido da Reconciliação Nacional, PRN
  9. Partido da Renovação Social, PRS
  10. Partido Social Democrático, PSD
  11. Partido Socialista da Guiné-Bissau, PSGB
  12. Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT
  13. Partido Unido Social Democracia. PUSD
  14. União para a Mudança, UM
  15. União Patriótica Guineense, UPG

_________________________________________________________

12 maart 2014

- aan de aanstaande presidentsverkiezingen doen "voorlopig" de volgende 21 kandidaten mee; tien van hen zijn door een partij gekozen of gesteunde kandidaten:
  

  1. Abel Incada (Partido da Renovacao Social, PRS)
  2. Afonso Té (Partido Republicano da Independência para o      Desenvolvimento, PRID)
  3. Aladje Djino (Independente)
  4. Antonieta Rosa Gomes (Fórum Cívico Guineense Social Democracia,      FCG-SD
  5. Arregado Mantenque Té (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT)
  6. Cirilo Augusto Rodrigues de Oliveira (Partido Socialista, PS)
  7. Domingos Quadé (Independente)
  8. Empossa Ié (Centro Democrático, CD)
  9. Faustino Fudut Imbali (Manifesto do Povo, MP)
  10. Fernando Jorge D’Almada (Independente)
  11. Hélder Vaz Lopes (Resistência da Guiné-Bissau, RGB)
  12. Iaia Djaló (Partido da Nova Democracia, PND)
  13. Ibraima Djaló (Congresso Nacional Africano, CNA)
  14. Ibraima Sori Djaló (Partido da Reconciliação Nacional, PRN)
  15. Jorge Malú (Independente)
  16. José Mário Vaz (Partido Africano da Independencia da Guine e Cabo      Verde, PAIGC)
  17. Lassana Na Brama (Independente)
  18. Luís Nancassa (Independente)
  19. Nuno Gomes Na Biam (Independente)
  20. Paulo Gomes (Independente)
  21. Tcherno Djaló (Independente)

 

- en wat de parlementsverkiezingen betreft gaat het eveneens voorlopig om de volgende 22 partijen:    

  1. Centro Democrático, CD
  2. Congresso Nacional Africano, CNA
  3. Fórum Cívico Guineense Social Democracia, FCG-SD
  4. Frente Democrática Social, FDC
  5. Liga Guineense de Protecção Ecológica, LIPE
  6. Manifesto do Povo, MP
  7. Movimento Democrático Guineense, MDG
  8. Movimento Patriótico, MP
  9. Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde, PAIGC
  10. Partido da Convergência Democrática, PCD
  11. Partido Democrático para o Desenvolvimento, PDD
  12. Partido Democrático para o Desenvolvimento e Cidadania, PADEC
  13. Partido da Nova Democracia, PND
  14. Partido Republicano da Independência para o Desenvolvimento, PRID
  15. Partido da Reconciliação Nacional, PRN
  16. Partido da Renovação Social, PRS
  17. Partido Social Democrático, PSD
  18. Partido Socialista da Guiné-Bissau, PSGB
  19. Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT
  20. Partido Unido Social Democracia. PUSD
  21. União para a Mudança, UM
  22. União Patriótica Guineense, UPG

 _________________________________________________________

5 maart 2014

- onder druk van de maatschappelijke organisaties en - naar we mogen aannemen - van elementen uit de internationale gemeenschap heeft overgangspresident Serifo Nhamadjo eergisteren in tegenstelling tot eerdere uitspraken (zie bij 28 februari) aangekondigd dat hij zich niet zal kandideren voor de aanstaande presidentsverkiezingen; hij verklaarde dat hij volgens het "overgangspact" niet gerechtigd is dat te doen;

__________________________________________

3 maart 2014

- in het weekend heeft de meerderheidspartij PAIGC haar presidentskandidaat gekozen: José Mário Vaz. Vaz was minister van Financiën in de bij de staatsgreep van 12 april 2012 afgezette regering van Carlos Gomes Júnior; tijdens het ministerschap van Vaz verdween er om tot nu toe nog niet opgehelderde redenen 12.500.000 Amerikaanse dollar uit de staatskas; Vaz zei na zijn verkiezing tot kandidaat niet bang te zijn voor een mogelijke afwijzing van zijn kandidatuur door het Hoger Gerechtshof;

 

 - het platform van maatschappelijke organisaties heeft fel geprotesteerd tegen de presidentskandidatuur van interimpresident Serifo Nhamadjo; hij wordt opgeroepen zich aan het door hem ondertekende overgangsaccoord te houden, waarin o.a. werd besloten dat hij en de overgangspremier Rui de Barros zich na de overgangsperiode niet mochten kandideren voor het presidentschap; in de sociale media wordt Serifo Nhamadjo nu nog heftiger dan voorheen aangeduid als verrader, leugenaar en putschist

__________________________________________

28 februari 2014

- de afgelopen week stond Guiné-Bissau weer op de agenda van de vergadering van de Veiligheidsraad van de Verenigde Naties. Op de site www.un.org wordt er verslag van gedaan:
 

U.N. Security Council urged to consider Guinea Bissau sanctions

UNITED NATIONS Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:56pm EST

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. special representative to Guinea-Bissau on Wednesday urged the Security Council to consider imposing sanctions against anyone who attempts to undermine the country's forthcoming general election.

According to a decree signed this week by the West African nation's interim president, Guinea-Bissau's long-delayed legislative and presidential election, intended to draw a line under a 2012 military coup, has been postponed again to April 13 from March 16.

"I recommend that the Security council consider a robust and prompt response, including targeted sanctions, to any attempts to undermine the electoral process and post-electoral stability," U.N. envoy Jose Ramos-Horta told the 15-nation council via video link.

"The newly elected government will face enormous challenges and it is paramount that international partners stand ready to resume engagement with the country from day one following the installation of the new democratically elected authorities," he said.

The coup-prone former Portuguese colony was plunged into its latest crisis after soldiers seized power in April 2012, days before the second round of a presidential election.

Soldiers under the command of General Antonio Injai, head of Guinea-Bissau's armed forces, toppled President Raimundo Pereira and Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior, who was expected to win the runoff.

In a statement, Security Council president for the month of February said that the return to stability in Guinea-Bissau depends in part on credible elections.

"The members of the Security Council express their concern at the continuing delays in the electoral process and underline that such delays could have a negative impact on the country's social and economic well-being," the statement said.

"They urge the transitional authorities to create a conducive environment for the safe, full and equal participation of all actors, including women, in the electoral process."

Elections intended to set Guinea-Bissau back on a democratic path have been postponed twice since November last year despite pressure from the U.N. Security Council and regional powers to hold the vote.

Guinea-Bissau, one of the world's poorest countries, has gained notoriety as a transit point in the smuggling of South American cocaine into Europe. U.N. officials say, however, that smuggling has tailed off since 2012.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols; Editing by

Mohammad Zargham)

 

- vorige week stelde overgangspresident Serifo Nhamadjo zich kandidaat voor de presidentsverkiezingen van 13 april a.s.; deze stap is strijdig met het zogenaamde "overgangspact" dat ook Serifo Nhamadjo ondertekende en waarin o.a. werd besloten dat geen enkel lid van de overgangsregering zich na de overgangsperiode verkiesbaar mag stellen voor een plaats in de nieuwe regering; de stap van Serifo Nhamadjo heeft - o.a. in de sociale media - al tot grote verontwaardiging geleid; de man is overigens vrijwel kansloos;
_______________________________________________                                           

22 februari 2014

- overgangspresident Serifo Nhamadjo heeft gisteren per presidentiëel decreet definitief -naar we nu aannemen - de verkiezingsdatum voor de presidents- en parlementsverkiezingen vastgesteld op 13 april a.s.; daarmee wordt dan eindelijk het begin van het einde van de "overgangsperiode" - een overgang sinds de staatsgreep van 12 april 2012 - ingeluid;


                                                  
_______________________________________________         

20 februari 2014

- de vorige week gekozen leider van de meerderheidspartij PAIGC, Domingos Simões Pereira - zie o.a 10 februari dit jaar - heeft tot genoegen en ongenoegen van velen binnen en buiten die partij, het verzoek van Carlos Gomes Junior om namens de PAIGC deel te nemen aan de aanstaande presidentsverkiezingen afgewezen; Carlos Gomes Junior is ex-leider van de partij, ex-premier van de laatste legale regering en de winnaar van de eerste ronde van de presidentsverkiezingen in april 2012, die spoedig na die uitslag werden gevolgd door de staatsgreep waarbij zowel Carlos Gomes Junior als de toenmalige interim-president Raimundo Pereira verdreven werden; Carlos Gomes Junior zit nog steeds in het buitenland en wil terugkeren als de vanzelfsprekende en kansrijke presidentskandidaat voor de PAIGC; dat gaat nu dus niet door;

 



             
                                                       
- de speciale vertegenwoordiger voor Guiné-Bissau van de Gemeenschap van Portugeestalige Landen CPLP, Carlos Moura, verklaarde deze week dat de directe luchtverbinding tussen Lissabon en Bissau van vliegmaatschappij TAP hervat kan worden na afsluiting van het onderzoek over de afgedwongen boarding van 74 illegale passagiers op 10 december 2013, die internationaal, m.n. binnen Europa, als een grove schending van de geldende veiligheidseisen is ervaren; Carlos Moura zei dat eerst de verantwoordelijken voor dit ernstige probleem geïdentificeerd en gestraft moeten worden en dat noch de autoriteiten in Guine-Bissau noch die in Portugal de bevolking van beide landen onder de huidige vliegbeperkingen willen laten lijden;

 

 

                          
- de Economische Gemeenschap van Westafrikaanse Landen CEDEAO (ECOWAS) buigt zich deze week over het vraagstuk van de veiligheid en de op dat gebied noodzakelijke hervormingen van Guine-Bissau; 

 

 

- op de site www.voanews.com staat onderstaand artikel betreffende bovenstaande CEDEAO-bijeenkomst:

West African Defense Chiefs to Meet Over Guinea Bissau Security 

  

Peter Clottey

February 17, 2014

West African defense chiefs will meet in Guinea Bissau on Tuesday to discuss bolstering security in the region in general, and in Guinea Bissau in particular, according to a high ranking official.  The group already has 700 security officials in the country.

Abdel-Fatau Musah, external relations director of the Economic Community of West African States, says during the three-day summit the defense chiefs will also discuss security cooperation between ECOWAS and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).  Heads of state from the two regions recently agreed to combat transnational maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.


“They will be discussing broadly the situation in the region, and also certain specific measures related to initiatives like maritime security. [They will also] review progress of the ECOWAS military and security assistance to Guinea Bissau,” said Musah. “One of the central themes of the meeting is what the region is doing to stem piracy and other sea-borne transnational organized crime.”


Musah says members states including Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Niger have agreed to set up a pilot center to monitor and coordinate maritime surveillance in the Gulf of Guinea.


He says the defense chiefs will also discuss the security situation in Mali.


Observers say South American cartels are using some West African countries to ship their drugs to western countries.
ECOWAS and other international groups have expressed concern about the challenges the drug problem poses to the region.
Musah says the defense chiefs will look at ways to combating the illegal trade.

“Drug trafficking is a major security threat in the region, and we all know Guinea Bissau as the weak link in the efforts to control drug trafficking region from Latin America in transit to Europe and the USA,” said Musah.

Guinea Bissau was originally scheduled to hold elections next month, but had to postpone the vote until April following logistical challenges.

Musah says ECOWAS has $ 20 million earmarked improving security in Guinea Bissau as part of the process of returning the country to constitutional rule.

“It is important to review the ECOWAS presence in the country. The region has close to 700 military and formed police units [there] trying to secure the transition, and there are plans to increase the number on the eve of the election,” said Musah. “ECOWAS is also conducting wide ranging security sector reform including the rehabilitation of the run down barracks in the country.”

Musah says ECOWAS is committed to helping Guinea Bissau in its transition to constitutional rule.

_________________________________________________________14 februari 2014

- de missie van de speciale vertegenwoordiger van Ban Ki-Moon voor Guiné-Bissau, Nobelprijswinnaar en ex-president van Oost-Timor José Ramos-Horta, loopt ten einde; hoe kijkt hij na ruim een jaar aan tegen deze "failed state", hoe ziet hij o.a. de kansen voor democratie, de drugshandel, de corruptie, de etnische aspecten van het steeds weer terugkerend militair geweld, de relatie tussen politici en militairen, vis-en bosbeheer, de verkiezingsdatum, de rol van de VN, de EU en de CEDEAO; Alan Philps van The World Today interviewde hem voor het februari-nummer, Volume 70, nummer 1:


                                                  

José Manuel Ramos-Horta on restoring democracy to Guinea-Bissau

 

Alan Philps, February 2014

The World Today, Volume 70, Number 1

 

After the 2012 military coup in Guinea-Bissau, the Nobel peace laureate and former President of East Timor was appointed UN Special Representative to help restore democracy. He tells Alan Philps how corrupt politicians and generals brought the country to its knees

Republic of Guinea-Bissau

Population: 1,600,000 (2013 estimate), GDP per Capita: $546, Official language: Portuguese, Capital and largest city: Bissau, Area: 36,125 km2, Independence: From Portugal, September 10, 1974

In 2012, Guinea-Bissau was practically a failed state. What is the situation today?

Guinea-Bissau is a failed state by any definition: a state with a bloated, unaccountable, corrupt, wasteful civil service, and which does not even pay salaries to its civil servants; a state which cannot control its security forces; a state which is unable to bring to justice anyone high-up involved in audacious and scandalous robbery of the Treasury; a state which cannot or is not willing to bring to justice perpetrators of serious crimes. These are the qualities of a failed state.

Progress in restoring constitutional order has been slow. What are the key issues?

The army is usually blamed for every ill of the country, but I hold a slightly different view. The political elites are the main culprits for the tragic state of affairs, mismanagement, waste and corruption, the impoverishment of the people. The military come second in my assignment of responsibility. The political elites, from the period of one-party rule until now, are all the same people who have misgoverned the country, not the military, who simply joined in the grand robbery. There are many highly-educated leaders, a generation or two below the early ones, who are now competing for high office. They offer real hope for change. If they are elected the international community must seriously support them. Otherwise they will be doomed. There are too many entrenched interests that will resist radical change.

How confident are you that the delayed elections can be held in March?

There might be a further delay of a week or two. This wouldn’t be a problem as far as I am concerned as it has to do with technical and legal adjustments and not as a result of political machinations. Voter registration has been extended and may reach a record number of close to 95 per cent of potential voters.

In unstable African countries the media usually highlight ethnic or religious diff erences, but in Guinea-Bissau the problem seems to be military. Why is that?

The politicians are the ones manipulating the military, enticing them to support one faction or another. Politicians are not able to engage the military in honest dialogue, working to gain their respect and trust and then, with them, to carry out the necessary reforms to modernize and professionalize the army. There are many good people in the army, highly educated, who want change. So there is hope.

Some African countries such as Burundi have imposed ethnic quotas in the army. Would this help Guinea-Bissau, whose military is dominated by the Balanta people?

I do not agree with imposing ethnic quotas anywhere, in any sector. The Balantas are natural warriors and they are perfectly suited to form a highly combative army that could be deployed by the African Union anywhere in the continent. They should be part of an African elite force as good as the best American or British special forces. There are ethnic groups in Guinea-Bissau more inclined to commerce and the civil service while others are drawn to academia or the judiciary. As long as each ethnic group feels they are part of the country, that each has a special role to play for the common good of the nation, there is no problem at all with a particular ethnic group being over-represented in a particular institution.

West Africa is a transit point for drugs from South America to Europe, with a trade valued at between $500 million and $2 billion a year. How serious is this problem for the region?

If powerful countries like the US, Britain, France, Russia and China are not able to stamp out drug trafficking, don’t expect West African countries to do any better. The problem is a very serious one. It is corroding countries that are already quite fragile. Africans are once again victims of problems brought to their shores by outsiders.

Guinea-Bissau is regularly called a ‘narco state’. Is the country in the grip of the Colombian drug cartels?

The label narco state is too easily used and might be good as a sound bite but doesn’t accurately tell the story of Guinea-Bissau. I would name a few countries in Latin America and Asia that fit this label better.

If tonnes of cocaine are passing through Guinea-Bissau each year, where do the drug profits go?

In the one year I have been in Guinea-Bissau, I have not seen much sign of a major drug trafficking problem. Of course there is drug trafficking, but not on the scale that has been reported. Money that is made here from drug trafficking is posted elsewhere in the region and laundered through housing complexes, regional banks and hotels. The US sting operation that led to the capture of a former navy officer last April had a very salutary effect in scaring away South American drug merchants. They moved elsewhere, but not very far.

How serious a problem is the corrupt issuing of fishing and logging licences? And how can it be stopped?

Illegal fishing and logging, with bogus licences issued by corrupt military officers and government officials is a bigger problem than drug trafficking. They are destroying Guinea-Bissau’s fish stock and precious forest. Those in Guinea-Bissau involved in drug trafficking found out they could make much more money, and quite safely, by issuing fishing or logging licences than by getting involved in the risky drugtrafficking business.

The American navy is not going to blast anyone off the water for fishing illegally and robbing the people of Guinea-Bissau. But they might send a drone slamming into your house if you export drugs to the US. Illegal fishing and logging are a real plague around the world and no one is doing anything serious about it.

What should the European Union be doing to promote prosperity in Guinea-Bissau?

For all their nerve-racking bureaucracy and public utterances on human rights and democracy which many in Africa and Asia find a bit too much to digest, the European Union is a genuine, honest partner. In the long run, the common people will show real appreciation for what the EU has stood for over many decades. They have very strict rules; they don’t improvise and move the goal posts. One knows exactly where they stand. And they have been very generous with Africa as a whole and with Guinea-Bissau.

Following the elections here, the EU, in partnership with the UN, African Union and ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States), World Bank and IMF, should launch a five to ten-year programme of rebuilding the state and all its institutions, cleaning up corruption, waste and mismanagement and modernizing the administration. And this can be done with relatively modest effort by placing international experts in key ministries. But these experts must be given real power to introduce meaningful changes.

Without a comprehensive strategy to rebuild the state from scratch, the country will lapse again into political and security crisis.

You have said that Guinea-Bissau is the ‘stepdaughter of the UN system’. How does the global effort exerted here compare with the experience of your own country, East Timor, which became independent under UN tutelage?

The United Nations Integrated Peace-Building Office in Guinea-Bissau is a very small, almost forgotten UN outpost, under-funded when one compares it with UN peacekeeping missions around the globe.

The international community, the UN, World Bank, the EU, etc were too generous with us in Timor-Leste. I do not recall a single occasion when we were denied help when we needed it and asked for it. Guinea-Bissau is largely forgotten, partly because traditional donors are tired with 40 years of coups and instability, corruption and incompetence.

Does being a member of the community of Portuguese-speaking countries bring you extra leverage, and how can it be used?

Some in Guinea-Bissau enjoy criticizing Portugal and even fantasize about conspiracy theories on how Portugal seeks to undermine Guinea-Bissau. I would say Portugal is among the very few countries that really care about Guinea-Bissau and is its best ally in the EU. But many Bissau- Guinean politicians do not seem to know how to cultivate friends.

Angola offered real financial support and has the financial means to invest seriously in Guinea-Bissau. Yet the military and politicians managed to antagonize and alienate the Angolans. France is deferential to Portugal when it comes to Guinea-Bissau. The US and UK are beginning to take an interest. China is very present; Russia has a very experienced ambassador, fluent in Portuguese, and he is very busy promoting Russian interests here.

Coups have become rare in Africa, except in West Africa where the army has recently intervened in politics in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. Is there a common factor here?

I believe that the harsh, principled stance taken by the African Union against coups, which has been enhanced by EU sanctions, is an effective deterrent. Those in the army tempted to intervene in politics by way of coups will think twice. I do not think coups are a trend or a common factor in West Africa. It is a passing problem.

Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana are good examples of how armies no longer intervene to influence the democratic order. Senegal actually has never had a coup. This latest coup has cost the country, and the army, much more than they were hoping. I think they have learnt.

Alan Philps;


 - er is nog steeds geen definitieve beslissing genomen over de datum van de verkiezingen; het lijkt inmiddels uitgesloten dat ze zullen plaatsvinden op de eerder overeengekomen datum van 16 maart, maar ook de recent geopperde datum van 13 april staat geenszins vast; overgangspresident Serifo Nhamadjo is momenteel in overleg met de politieke partijen over een definitieve datum (de zoveelste !); de nieuwe leider van de grootste partij van het land PAIGC,
Domingos Simðes Pereira, stelde zich gisteren in het overleg met de president op het standpunt dat de verkiezingen op 4 mei moeten plaatsvinden en dat zodoende aan de wettelijke voorwaarden voor de verkiezingen recht gedaan zou worden;

 

              
- op www.jeuneafrique.com troffen we dit artikel aan over de met elkaar ruzie makende ministers van Justitie en Binnenlandse Zaken n.a.v. de TAP-affaire, waardoor er vanaf 10 december j.l. geen directe vluchten tussen Lissabon en Bissau meer worden onderhouden:

 

"Quand deux ministres bissau-guinéens s'affrontent, sur fond de scandale migratoire...

C'est une de ces situations exceptionnelles dont la Guinée-Bissau a le secret : Mamadou Baldé, le ministre de la Justice, avait ordonné le 24 décembre 2013 l'arrestation de son collègue de l'Intérieur, Antonio Suca Intchama, mis en cause par une commission d'enquête dans l'affaire dite des 74 réfugiés syriens. Et pourtant, un mois plus tard, ce dernier est toujours à son poste. Il a même trouvé le moyen de contre-attaquer en portant plainte, le 7 janvier, contre le procureur Abdu Mane. Il l'accuse d'avoir violé le secret de l'instruction afin de provoquer son implication dans cette affaire.

Le 10 décembre, 74 Syriens ne possédant pas les visas nécessaires avaient été embarqués de Bissau vers Lisbonne à bord d'un vol de la compagnie aérienne portuguaise TAP. "Le ministre de l'Intérieur est un colonel de l'armée de l'air, explique un expert des questions bissau-guinéennes. Comme vous le savez, ici c'est l'armée qui détient réellement le pouvoir. Elle ne laissera jamais tomber un des siens."

En attendant l'issue incertaine de ce bras de fer entre le ministre de l'Intérieur et celui de la Justice, l'enquête a au moins permis de retracer l'itinéraire des migrants. Fuyant la guerre dans leur pays, ils étaient arrivés au Maroc en passant par la Turquie, où ils se sont procuré de faux passeports. Puis ils sont arrivés par petits groupes à Bissau par des vols réguliers de la compagnie aérienne marocaine (RAM), munis de visas de transit. "Ils ont attendu de se regrouper avant de décider de poursuivre jusqu'au Portugal, soutient une source guinéenne. Cette affaire révèle l'existence d'un réseau de passeurs qui compte dans ses rangs des diplomates, des businessmen et des policiers.""

______________________________________________

10 februari 2014

- gisteren is Domingos Simões Pereira met een meerderheid van stemmen - meer dan 60% - gekozen tot voorzitter van de meerderheidspartij PAIGC; Domingos Simões Pereira is ex- uitvoerend secretaris van de Gemeenschap van Portugeestalige Landen CPLP; zowel binnen de gemeenschap als in Guine-Bissau geniet hij veel aanzien;



                                                

- op de site van irinnews.org vonden wij het hieronder volgende achtergrondartikel:

 

DAKAR, 16 January 2014 (IRIN) - Guinea-Bissau will hold elections on 16 March to end yet another post-coup regime, with many hoping the polls will help calm an internecine and drawn-out instability. Observers believe that a political coalition and deeper commitment by the international community after the polls can shore up the country's recovery.

 
Multiple coups and assassinations have marred the West African country's political history since the first free polls in 1994. Corruption and misrule have bogged down governance and public services, and over the last decade
drug trafficking  has worsened power struggles between the military and the political class.


Political power in Guinea-Bissau is largely centralized - a legacy of its colonial past. Until the introduction of multi-party democracy in 1991, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) was the only party, ruling from independence in 1974.


With limited checks, the presidency has become a powerful office that draws intense political competition due to a winner-take-all culture. The country has both a president and a prime minister, but the prime minister is named by the president, who also makes key military and government appointments, dismisses officials and can dissolve the government. As a result, the president's allies have access to opportunities at the expense of opponents.
 


Polls and coups


Joao Bernardo Vieira came to power in 1980 through a coup; he later won the 1994 elections. Five years later, he was overthrown following his dismissal of army commander Asumane Mané over arms-smuggling allegations. Vieira then fled and parliament speaker Malam Bacai Sanha was installed as interim president.


The country then held elections in 1999. Kumba Yala of the Social Renewal Party (PRS) was elected. In 2000, army chief Mané was killed.

Yala was deposed three years later, following a stint characterized by misrule and antagonism with the military. He was ousted by Mané's successor, Verissimo Correia Seabra, who was himself killed in a 2004 army revolt.


New elections were organized in 2005 and were won narrowly in a run-off by Vieira, who had returned from exile. But in 2009, he was slain by renegade soldiers following the killing of army chief Batista Tagme Na Wai, who had replaced Seabra, in a bomb attack.


Another round of polls was held in 2009, bringing Sanha back to power. He died in office in January 2012. Three months later, the army staged a coup. Just days before the 29 April 2012 presidential run-off, the army arrested and detained Prime Minister and poll front-runner Carlos Gomes Junior and the interim president. Coup leaders accused Gomes of undermining the military.

 
“If Bissau-Guineans want the country to be pulled back from the abyss, they must have the vision and the courage to work together so that in the upcoming elections there will be no winners or losers,” UN Special Representative José Ramos-Horta said.


“The winners should accommodate the losers within a reform agenda for the entire public administration, security forces, public sector,” Ramos-Horta, the former Timor-Leste president, told IRIN. “The UN, in partnership with [other international actors], should develop a five-year plan to rebuild Guinea-Bissau from scratch.”
 


Fewer friends


Guinea-Bissau’s protracted political crisis has put off many of its donors. The European Union (EU) and Portugal currently remain as the country’s main partners, Ramos-Horta said, pointing out that regional powers Nigeria and Senegal have grown weary of the Bissau’s turmoil.


The 2012 coup was met with strong international condemnation. However, differing approaches towards the coup regime seemed to put
international actors at odds.


The African Union (AU) suspended Guinea-Bissau. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) denounced the military coup but backed a transitional process. The Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) and the EU called for the second-round elections to continue. The UN initially urged an immediate return to constitutional order.


Key lenders, such as the African Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other bilateral donors, have suspended development aid, severely affecting government operations.


“It’s crucial to hold the elections for two main reasons. Since the coup d’état, some of the international players such as the CPLP, the AU and the UN have been reluctant to engage with the government. Without elections, these institutions will not have engagements with this government,” said Elisabete Azevedo-Harman, research associate at Chatham House’s Africa programme.


“Internally, the current transitional government never really involved the PAIGC (the ruling party before the coup d’état). As a result, one of the main political parties is not officially engaged in this government. That is why you see such a chaotic situation, with some ministers arrested or facing accusations by the attorney general or by their colleagues. The government is very fragile… ministers representing different and small political parties have their own personal and private agendas. It has not been very easy,” she explained.
However, she disagreed with calls by some international actors for a post-poll coalition government. “I am not sure that a coalition is healthy for democracy, and I don’t see that as a relevant condition for stability,” she said. 

Stumping for polls


ECOWAS, West African countries, Timor-Leste and the EU have pledged some US$30 million for the elections. Half of the money has been received, said the UN Office in Guinea-Bissau.


Around half of the targeted 800,000 voters have been registered, with hopes the remaining number will be registered by the end of January. The AU has stressed that there should be no further delay in holding elections, which were earlier set for 24 November 2013.


Observers agree that that the polls are just one small step towards reversing Guinea-Bissau’s turmoil. Extensive reforms to the public sector, including the security service, and the political sphere are needed to help restore normalcy.


Guinea-Bissau’s crisis has become increasingly complex due to domestic factors and external influences, such as the use of the country as a transhipment point for drugs.


“International partners must therefore commit to a more strategic and unified stabilization effort in the country as part of this transnational response,” said a
report by the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies.


For Ramos-Horta, the IMF, the World Bank, and sub-regional financial and banking institutions should second experienced international advisors to Guinea-Bissau’s public sector to help uproot corruption and rebuild the administration.

“There has to be serious reform and modernization of state institutions. Without such a strategy, Guinea-Bissau is doomed,” said the UN representative.

ob/rz


- mogelijk wordt de datum voor de parlements- en presidentsverkiezingen, gepland voor 16 maart a.s., opnieuw uitgesteld, er wordt nu gesproken over 13 april a.s.;

_______________________________________________18 januari 2014

- de afgelopen week toonde de minister van Buitenlandse Zaken van Portugal, Rui Machete, zich bereid zich "enige inspanningen" te getroosten om de TAP-verbinding Bissau-Lissabon te herstellen, er moeten echer eerst "enkele juridische kwesties" worden afgerond; hij onderschreef het belang van de luchtverbinding zowel voor Guineeërs als voor Portugezen; sinds de annulering van de vluchten op 10 december j.l. ligt ook het luchtpostverkeer tussen Guine-Bissau en Portugal plat;


                                                     
 
- de speciale afgezant van de secretaris-generaal van de Verenigde Naties voor Guiné-Bissau, José Ramos Horta, waarschuwde deze week dat de internationale gemeenschap een uitstel van de presidentsverkiezingen, gepland voor 16 maart a.s., niet zal accepteren; hij legde de verantwoordelijkheid voor een opnieuw niet vasthouden aan de verkiezingsdatum geheel bij de overgangsregering, die sinds de staatsgreep van 12 april aan de macht is; als de verkiezingen uitgesteld worden - er zijn o.a. in technische zin vele problemen - zou het de derde keer zijn dat de overgangsregering langer haar mandaat behoudt dan zij in mei 2012 bij haar (illegale) installatie beloofde;

 

_______________________________________________9 januari 2014

- van www.jeuneafrique.com nemen we onderstaand artikel over m.b.t. het terugtreden van Kumba Yala uit de actieve politiek:

  


Kumba Yala, ex président de la Guinée Bissau, se retire de la politique. Il comptait pourtant participer aux élections présidentielles qui se tiendront en mars.

Voilà une résolution insolite : en 2014, Kumba Yala, 60 ans, arrête la politique. Il l'a lui-même annoncé, le premier jour de l'année. Cette décision "personnelle" et "irrévocable" a eu l'effet d'un coup de tonnerre sur les bords du rio Geba. Outre qu'il a dirigé (sans grand succès) la Guinée-Bissau entre 2000 et 2003 et qu'il fut longtemps le patron de la deuxième force politique nationale, le Parti de la rénovation sociale (PRS), Yala est considéré comme la figure tutélaire des Balantes, le plus important groupe ethnique du pays, et comme une personnalité très influente dans les rangs de l'armée.

Cette annonce "est une surprise, même si la question de son avenir politique était en suspens depuis quelque temps", remarque un observateur. Début décembre, celui qui ne sort jamais sans son bonnet de laine rouge avait annoncé qu'il serait candidat à l'élection présidentielle prévue pour le 16 mars.

Si son avenir suscitait des interrogations ces derniers mois, c'est parce que Yala était en perte de vitesse depuis le putsch d'avril 2012, dans lequel il a été soupçonné d'avoir trempé. Il y a un an, il avait dû se résoudre à ne plus briguer la présidence de son parti pour éviter une défaite annoncée. Après trois échecs successifs aux élections de 2005, 2009 et 2012, beaucoup, dans sa propre formation, estiment qu'il a trop joué la carte des Balantes, qui ne représentent pas plus de 30 % de l'électorat.

_________________________________________

8 januari 2014

- de Braziliaan Carlos Alves Moura is door de Gemeenschap van Portugeestalige Landen CPLP benoemd tot speciale vertegenwoordiger voor Guiné-Bissau; hij bekleedde die functie eerder in tijdelijkheid tussen 2004 en 2006;

 

                                                    
- de procureur-generaal van de republiek,
Abdu Mané, verklaarde deze week dat hij in de nasleep van de TAP-affaire (zie december 2013) bedreigd is; eind vorig jaar werd er een aanklacht tegen hem ingediend door de advocaat van de minister van Binnenlandse Zaken, António Suca Ntchama, vanwege smaad t.o.v. de minister; 

  

                                        
- ex-president en PRS-partijleider Kumba Yala heeft op 1 januari gemeld dat hij de actieve politiek vaarwel zegt, "alles heeft zijn tijd in het leven" zo zei hij; daarmee ziet hij af van zijn kandidatuur voor het presidentschap bij de verkiezingen van maart aanstaande; Kumba Yala was een van de presidentskandidaten die de resultaten van de eerste ronde in april 2012 aanvochten waarbij hij als tweede uit de bus was gekomen, een houding die naderhand de inleiding tot de staatsgreep van 12 april 2012 bleek te zijn;
                                                     

 

 




                                   




                                           

 

                                     Guiné-Bissau

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