Bissau political leaders vow to reinforce peace

Monday, November 10, 2008
Leaders of 18 political parties of Guinea Bissau have finally appended their signatures on a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which seeks to restore and reinforce lasting peace and stability in their country. The Guinea Bissau political heads made this significant move, last Friday, at the end of a two-day political consultative meeting, initiated by President Yhay Jammeh, at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.

On behalf of President Jammeh, the vice-president and secretary of state for Women’s Affairs, Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Sidy, who presided over the signing ceremony, also appended her signature to the landmark MOU.  Malle Sallah, the vice-chairman of The Gambia’s Independent Electoral Commission and a representative of the Guinea Bissau electoral body, Jao Quintino Teixeira, both put their signatures as witnesses.

Bearing in mind recent setback in peace as a result of political instability in the former Portuguese colony, the political heads, the signatories of the MOU, have agreed to put the past behind them.

As enshrined in the MOU, for the greater interest of Guinea Bissau, they have agreed to work constructively towards national reconciliation and the consolidation of democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law and good governance in their country.

The leaders of the 18 political parties further agreed to work positively and cooperatively towards the organization of transparent and credible elections which will reflect the will of the people and be accepted by all the contesting political parties and the general people of Guinea Bissau.

Speaking on behalf of President Jammeh, the Gambian vice-president acknowledged the president’s continuous efforts to ensure that lasting peace and stability prevails in Guinea Bissau and in the West Africa sub-region at large. In recent years, she recalled, the Gambian leader had played a crucial role in Guinea-Bissau.

VP Njie - Saidy seized the opportunity to call on the political party leaders to resolutely adhere to the MOU and to learn from the past in order to forge ahead as a nation.

"Let the Bissau Guineans also look on wards and see what they can do for themselves. At least you can ensure that peace and stability, which is within your reach, prevails.  The president hope that you will adhered to the MOU," she said, while emphasising that The Gambia would monitor the implementation process of the MOU in Bissau.

She urged them to campaign peacefully in the November 16th legislative elections. The vice-president hailed the political party leaders for the trust and confidence bestowed in President Jammeh, in his quest to ensure peace and stability in their country.

For his part, the secretary of state for Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, Yankuba Touray, who also doubles as the APRC National Mobiliser, described the signing of the MOU as a clear commitment of the Guinea Bissau political leaders to restore peace and stability in their country.

In  a similar vein, Dr Omar Touray, the secretary of state for Foreign Affairs, said the signing of the MOU committed each political party to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the  interest of the country.

He therefore noted that the Gambia’s interest is to promote stable peace and democracy in the sub-region, and Guinea Bissau in particular. The secretary of state for Local Governments, Lands and Religious Affairs, Ismaila Sambou, echoed similar sentiments.

Guinea-Bissau’s ambassador to The Gambia, Monica Jawed Rivera, hailed President Jammeh for his understandable stance in restoring peace in her country. She described the meeting as a rare opportunity worthy of emulation

Other speakers at the ceremony included Mallei Sallah, the vice-chairman of the country’s electoral body, Jao Quintino Teixeira, representative of the Guinea Bissau electoral commission.

Author: by Hatab Fadera