UN official calls for int’l support for presidential poll in Guinea-Bissau

UNITED NATIONS- A UN official has called for urgent international financial support for November’s presidential election in Guinea-Bissau.

“I would, therefore, wish to … encourage international partners to extend their generosity to Guinea-Bissau to provide the necessary financial support for the election with urgency,” UN Assistant Secretary-General for Africa Bintou Keita told the Security Council on Tuesday.

“Time is of essence. Your contributions will be instrumental in ensuring the holding of the presidential election on Nov. 24,” she stressed.

Efforts to mobilize resources from the international community have yielded limited results so far. Several pledges and indications of interest have been made but with no actual contribution, said Keita.

With only 75 days left until the presidential election, it is important that funding is made available now to ensure that the electoral operations — the training, deployment and payment of polling and security personnel, as well as the movement of materials to the polling stations – are completed in a timely manner, she said.

2019 is a pivotal year for Guinea-Bissau to seize the opportunity to end the recurring cycle of instability that has hampered its socio-economic development for decades. The risk of further instability in the period leading to the presidential election is high, with political rivalries and poor economic prospects for the population, said Keita.

“All efforts must be made to ensure the timely holding of an inclusive, credible and peaceful presidential election. Both the government and the international community should abide by their commitments to provide resources for the election.”

She asked all national actors to be mindful of their duties toward the people of Guinea-Bissau and the need to transcend narrow individual and party interests.

Guinea-Bissau has suffered from constant political instability since August 2015, when President Jose Mario Vaz dismissed Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira.

Although legislative elections were finally held on March 10, 2019, after two postponements in 2018, renewed political tensions delayed the formation of a new government. The situation was further complicated by the conclusion of Mario Vaz’s five-year term in office on June 23, 2019.

International efforts led to the formation of a new government on July 3 and an agreement that Mario Vaz would remain in office until the Nov. 24 presidential poll, with limited powers, leaving the management of national affairs to the new government.

Source: Ghana News Agency