, GUINEA BISSAU, Aug 13 – Guinea-Bissau’s President Jose Mario Vaz has dismissed the government following a row with his prime minister in the troubled west African country.
The move comes after the president acknowledged a “crisis” in relations with the premier that were undermining the functioning of the government.
“The government headed by Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira has been dissolved,” a presidential decree said Thursday.
The 16-member government took office only in July 2014, two months after Vaz became Guinea-Bissau’s first elected civilian leader since the army mutinied in 2012.
Vaz and Pereira are both members of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which fought for independence from Portugal, won in 1974.
“It is public knowledge that there is a crisis undermining the proper working of institutions,” Vaz said in a broadcast to the nation late Wednesday.
“The (reconciliation) efforts did not succeed in resolving difficult relations between the president and the prime minister,” he said.
“Even if all members of the government were dismissed from their posts, a cabinet reshuffle would not solve the crisis of confidence in the state leadership,” he added.
– Irreconcilable differences –
The president said his dispute with Pereira centred on a number of issues including the appointment of a new armed forces chief.
He also raised the closure of the border with Guinea over the Ebola crisis and cited problems of corruption and nepotism, a lack of transparency in public procurement and obstruction of the judiciary.
Last week, Pereira had said his government would likely be dissolved due to differences of opinion with Vaz.
“The president told me he no longer had faith in me,” he said in an address to the nation.
“Many attempts have been made to resolve our differences but the president has maintained his position on dismissing the government,” he said.
Vaz’s election last year ushered in a new era of stability which saw the European Union pledging 160 million euros ($175 million) in aid in March to bolster democracy and accelerate economic recovery.
And in May, the International Monetary Fund also hailed the country’s progress on economic reform, saying it had become eligible for a $23.9-million loan.
The 2012 military coup brought chaos to a country already in the grip of powerful cocaine cartels and beset by political violence.
US drug enforcement officials see the country as a “narco-state” and several senior military officials have been charged by the United States with drug trafficking.
Guinea-Bissau has been plagued by coups since independence from Portugal following a liberation war led by the PAIGC.