By Frederick Tendeng
In what can be seen as a milestone development towards national cohesion, Guinea Bissau’s President Malam Bacai Sanha has announced the appointment of his defeated rival in the recent presidential election, PRS opposition leader, Kumba Yala, as member of the State Council, a presidential advisory body.
The presidential decree published last Thursday also brings on board Francisco Benante, a former speaker of Guinea Bissau National Assembly. The list of new appointees also include Bacai Sanha Inacia Teodora Gomes, a veteran of the PAIGC ruling party who, until recently, served as secretary general of the UDEMO, an organization of the party’s women’s wing. Califa Seide, an outstanding technician, and Aladji Abubacar Balde, who previously held several governmental positions including those of Minister of Interior, are also new members of the presidential council.
These five appointments are a constitutional prerogative of the president. The general body itself entails a minimal balance of public figures in the form of ex-officers, the speaker of the National Assembly, the prime minister and representatives of each political party in the parliament.