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21.07.2005 General News

Guinea Bissau has good prospects to develop - JAK


Accra, July 21, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday said Guinea Bissau had good prospects to develop "but what is left is good leadership".

"Guinea Bissau has good prospects to develop but what is left is good leadership. The successful candidate in the second round of the Presidential elections on Sunday must be ready to work towards normalcy in the country," he said.

President Kufuor made the observation when President Henrique Pereira Rosa of the National Transitional Government of Guinea Bissau, paid a courtesy call on him at the Castle, Osu.

He said for the past two years both Heads of State and Governments had worked together and enjoyed each other's company. He said President Rosa done a great job for his country by following the counsel of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU).

President Kufuor said: "You are going gracefully and your exit will be an example for other African leaders to copy. And when the time comes for you to go, I hope you will go with grace and commitment for the well being of your country and the people."

President Kufuor expressed appreciation for the gratitude shown by Guinea Bissau for her support during the crisis in that country. President Rosa said the visit was to express appreciation to President Kufuor for the role he played when Guinea Bissau was in turmoil and his tenure of office was about to end. "We express our appreciation for the support and solidarity of Ghana during the difficult times in Guinea Bissau and hope next Sunday's Presidential election will be peaceful to return the country to normalcy," he said.

President Rosa appealed to President Kufuor to continue with his support to Guinea Bissau under the next elected government of that country.

He was elected to head the National Transitional Government after the former President Kumba Yala was ousted in a coup d'etat on September 14, 2003.

President Rosa visited Ghana for the first time on December 19, the same year when he attended the 27th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in Accra.

Certified first-round results from the June 19 Presidential polls held in Guinea-Bissau set up a showdown between two former presidents on Sunday July 24.

Official results gave Malam Bacai Sanha of the one-time ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) 35 per cent of the nearly 472,000 votes cast, enough for a seven-point lead over his nearest rival, former President Joao Bernardo 'Nino' Vieira, but not enough to skipo the second round.

"The second round will be held between July 17 and 24 barring any appeals by the candidates;" National Electoral Commission President, El Hadj Malam Mane said at the Commission's headquarters, lauding the 87.3 per cent turnout for the vote.

"Such participation is an extraordinary accomplishment, both for Guinea-Bissau and across the West Africa Sub-Region," he said. Another ex-president, Kumba Yala, was third among the 13 candidates, putting him officially out of contention to retake office. Bacai Sanha served as president for six months from 1999 to 2000, just after Vieira, known as "Nino" to his 1.4 million countrymen, was ousted in a military coup after 19 years of iron-fisted rule.

Representing the former single ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) Bacai Sanha, took 158,276 votes or 35.45 per cent of ballots cast.

Independent candidate Vieira, who ruled from 1980 to 1999 before he was also ousted in a military coup, claimed 128,918 votes for 28.87 per cent of the total.

Votes for Yala, whose ouster in a September 14, 2003 coup ushered in the 22-month transition period that would ostensibly be brought to an end following the second round, reached 111,606 for 25 per cent of the total result, the CNE said.

Yala's Social Renewal Party (PRS) had alleged that the vote count was falsified and sent hundreds of supporters into the streets on Friday for a rally that turned deadly when the Police first fired tear gas, then real bullets, into the crowd.

Two people were killed immediately and a third succumbed to injuries in hospital overnight, according to medical sources. Such a cycle of coups and civil war had been endemic in that country since it gained independence in 1974 from Portugal. Of the 538,466 registered voters 471,843 cast their ballots on June 19. 21 July 05