Kumba Ialá

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Kumba Ialá
Koumbayala.jpg
3rd President of Guinea-Bissau
In office
17 February 2000 14 September 2003
Prime Minister Caetano N'Tchama
Faustino Imbali
Alamara Nhassé
Mário Pires
Preceded by Malam Bacai Sanhá (Acting)
Succeeded by Veríssimo Correia Seabra (Chairman of the Military Committee for the Restoration of Constitutional and Democratic Order)
Personal details
Born(1953-03-15)15 March 1953
Bula, Portuguese Guinea
Died4 April 2014(2014-04-04) (aged 61)
Bissau, Guinea-Bissau
Political party African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (Before 1992)
Party for Social Renewal (1992–2014)
Alma mater Catholic University of Portugal, Lisbon

Kumba Ialá Embaló, also spelled Yalá (15 March 1953 – 4 April 2014), was a Bissau-Guinean politician who was president from 17 February 2000 until he was deposed in a bloodless military coup on 14 September 2003. He belonged to the Balanta ethnic group and was President of the Social Renewal Party (PRS). In 2008 he converted to Islam and took the name Mohamed Ialá Embaló. He was the founder of the Party for Social Renewal. In 2014, Ialá died from a cardiopulmonary arrest.

Guinea-Bissau country in Western Africa

Guinea-Bissau, officially the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, is a country in West Africa that covers 36,125 square kilometres (13,948 sq mi) with an estimated population of 1,815,698.

Balanta people ethnic group

The Balanta are an ethnic group found in Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and The Gambia. They are the largest ethnic group of Guinea-Bissau, representing more than one-quarter of the population. Despite their numbers, they have remained outside the colonial and postcolonial state because of their social organisation. The Balanta can be divided into four subgroups, three of which are Balanta Kentohe, Balanta Ganja and Balanta Brassa, the largest of which are the Balanta Brassa.

The Party for Social Renewal is a political party in Guinea-Bissau. It is one of the country's leading parties and is currently the main opposition party.

Contents

Early life

Born to a farming family in Bula, Cacheu Region on 15 March 1953, Ialá became a militant member of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) during his teenage years. The PAIGC sought independence from Portuguese colonial rule. [1]

Bula is a Sector in the Cacheu Region of Guinea-Bissau.

Cacheu Region Region in Guinea-Bissau

Cacheu is a region in western Guinea-Bissau, on the border with Senegal. It has an area of 5,175 km2 and a population estimated in 2004 at 164,676. Its capital is Cacheu. There has not been any local administration since the civil war of 1998-99 and all the social services are done by organs of civil society and other government agencies. It is a coastal region covered with Mangrove swamps, rain forest and tangled forest and receives an annual rainfall of more than 1,000 mm (39 in)

African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde political party

The African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde is a political party in Guinea-Bissau. Originally formed to peacefully campaign for independence from Portugal, the party turned to armed conflict in the 1960s and was one of the belligerents in the Guinea-Bissau War of Independence. Towards the end of the war, the party established a Marxist–Leninist one-party state, which remained intact until multi-party democracy was introduced in the early 1990s. Although the party won the first multi-party elections in 1994, it was removed from power in the 1999–2000 elections. However, it returned to office after winning parliamentary elections in 2004 and presidential elections in 2005, since which it has remained the largest party in the National People's Assembly.

He studied theology at the Catholic University in Lisbon, Portugal and later studied philosophy. In Bissau, Ialá studied law. He spoke Portuguese, Crioulo, Spanish, French and English and could read Latin, Greek and Hebrew. After completing his education, he worked as a philosophy teacher. [1]

Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also deals with religious epistemology, asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.

Portuguese language Romance language that originated in Portugal

Portuguese is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (Lusófono).

Portuguese creoles are creole languages which have Portuguese as their substantial lexifier. The most widely-spoken creole influenced by Portuguese is the Cape Verdean Creole.

Political career

Ialá was the head of a PAIGC delegation to Moscow in honor of the 70th anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, [1] but in 1989 he was expelled from the party for demanding greater democratic reform. [2]

In March 1991, alongside Rafael Barbosa, Ialá helped found the Democratic Social Front (FDS). On 14 January 1992, Ialá left the FDS and formed the Social Renewal Party (PRS). [1]

Rafael Paula Barbosa was a political activist in Portuguese Guinea, now known as Guinea-Bissau.

Democratic Social Front

The Democratic Social Front is a political party in Guinea-Bissau.

The first multiparty presidential election took place on 3 July 1994. Incumbent president and PAIGC candidate João Bernardo "Nino" Vieira won 46.20% of the vote. Ialá finished second, capturing 21.88% of the vote. Since no candidate won the required 50% of the vote for an outright victory, a run-off was conducted on 7 August. [3] The opposition parties united behind Ialá, [4] but Vieira nevertheless won by a 4% margin (52.02% to 47.98%). [3] Although the election was declared generally free and fair by election observers, Ialá contested the results, claiming intimidation of his supporters. The Supreme Court rejected his claims and the results were validated. On 20 August, he accepted the results, but announced that the PRS would not participate in the new government.

João Bernardo Vieira Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau

João Bernardo "Nino" Vieira was the President of Guinea-Bissau from 1980 to 1984, for the second time from 1984 to 1999, and for the third time from 2005 to 2009. After seizing power in 1980, Vieira ruled for 19 years, and he won a multiparty presidential election in 1994. He was ousted at the end of the 1998–1999 civil war and went into exile. He made a political comeback in 2005, winning that year's presidential election. Vieira was killed by soldiers on 2 March 2009, apparently in retaliation for a bomb blast that killed Guinea-Bissau's military chief General Batista Tagme Na Waie. The military officially denied these allegations after Army officials claimed responsibility for Vieira's death.

On 28 November 1999, after a devastating civil war and the ousting of Vieira, a new presidential election was held. In the first round, Kumba Ialá placed first with 38.81% of the vote, followed by interim president and PAIGC candidate, Malam Bacai Sanhá, who won 23.37%. [3] Ialá was briefly hospitalized on 29 December 1999 due to high blood pressure, shortly before campaigning for the second round was to begin. [5] He went to Lisbon for medical treatment on 30 December, and after returning to Guinea-Bissau in early January 2000, he launched his second round campaign on 9 January; he said that he was in good health and challenged Sanhá to a debate. [6] The second round, held on 16 January 2000, was easily won by Ialá, who received 72% of the vote. [3] He was sworn-in as President of Guinea-Bissau on 17 February. [7]

Ialá resigned as President of the PRS in May 2000, although he continued to play an influential role in the party. [4]

Presidency

Kumba Ialá's tenure as the country's head of state was characterized by sackings of ministers and other high officials. Concerns about the government's financial management prompted protests, strikes and the suspension of International Monetary Fund aid. [8] [9] Ialá's relationship with General Ansumane Mané, the leader of the rebellion that had toppled Vieira in the 1998–99 civil war, was difficult. Ialá attempted to promote a number of military officers in November 2000, but Mané said that Ialá's list of promotions was not the one Ialá had previously agreed to with Mané. Mané announced that he was taking control of the armed forces, revoking Ialá's promotions and replacing the chief of staff, Veríssimo Correia Seabra. An outbreak of fighting followed, [10] and Mané was killed in a clash with government forces a week later, on 30 November. [11]

Ialá did not veto or promulgate the draft constitution approved by the National Assembly in 2001, instead sending it back to parliament with recommendations for increased presidential powers. [12] Ialá's government claimed to have foiled a coup plot in early December 2001, although the opposition questioned its existence. [13] Various members of opposition parties were subsequently detained and held without charge. [14] In June 2002, he accused The Gambia of fomenting rebellion in Guinea-Bissau, a charge which the Gambian foreign ministry denied; Ialá even threatened an invasion of The Gambia. [15] Ialá dissolved parliament in November 2002, appointed Mário Pires as caretaker prime minister, and called early elections for February 2003. [16] [17] These elections were repeatedly postponed, however: first to April, then to July, then to October. [18] Some suspected that Ialá sought to manipulate the law to ensure that he would remain in power. [1]

2003 coup

On 12 September 2003, the electoral commission announced that it would not be able to finish voter registration in time to hold parliamentary elections as planned on 12 October. [18] This together with a stagnant economy, political instability, and military discontent over unpaid salaries triggered a bloodless coup on 14 September. Ialá was detained and placed under house arrest. General Veríssimo Correia Seabra, leader of the coup, referred to the "incapacity" of Ialá's government as justification for the takeover. [18] [19] Ialá publicly announced his resignation on 17 September, [19] and a political agreement signed that month prohibited him from participating in politics for five years. A civilian-led transitional government led by businessman Henrique Rosa and PRS secretary general Artur Sanhá was set up at the end of September. [20] [21]

On 8 March 2004, ahead of legislative elections, Ialá was released from house arrest. He announced that he would be participating in the PRS election campaign, despite the prohibition against his political activity. [22] In the election, held on 28 March, the PRS won 35 out of 100 seats, making it the second largest party in the National People's Assembly, after the PAIGC. [23]

2005 presidential election and afterwards

On 26 March 2005, he was chosen as the PRS candidate for 19 June presidential election by the party's national council, despite being officially banned from politics for five years. [24] Ialá submitted his candidate application to the Supreme Court on 11 April, arguing that since he had signed his agreement to respect his ban from politics at his home and not in his office, it was invalid. [25] The Supreme Court cleared him to stand in the election in its list of approved candidates published on 10 May, with five judges in favor of permitting his candidacy and one opposed. The decision was based on the fact that Ialá had resigned prior to the signing of the transitional charter which had barred him from politics, with the judges ruling that the charter should not be retroactively applied to Ialá in a way contrary to his interests. [26] Soon afterwards, on 15 May, Ialá said that he was withdrawing his resignation as President and would resume office to serve out the remainder of his term. [27] Although this increased the country's political tension, the declaration did not appear to lead to much immediate consequence; a rally of some of Ialá's supporters was held two days later and was dispersed by police with tear gas. [28]

In late May, ten days after declaring his resignation withdrawn, he occupied the presidential palace at night with a group of armed men for about four hours before leaving, according to an announcement by the army. [29] According to official results he came in third in 19 June election with 25% of the vote, behind Malam Bacai Sanhá and Nino Vieira, and thus could not participate in the second round run-off. Ialá said that he actually came in first, with about 38% of the vote, and that the result was a fraud. [30] At least four people were reported killed when Ialá's supporters clashed with police after the results were announced. [31] Ialá went to Senegal for talks with Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, along with Vieira and Sanhá, and on 27 June he said at a news conference that he accepted the result in the interest of peace and democracy, while still claiming to have actually won. [31] [32] Ialá said on this occasion that he "rejected violence on principle" and predicted that he would eventually regain the presidency, noting that his opponents were older than himself "and tomorrow they will disappear." [32]

Iala campaigning at 2009 presidential elections Koumba yala campaigning.jpg
Ialá campaigning at 2009 presidential elections

On 2 July, Ialá announced his support for Vieira's candidacy in the second round. He called Vieira "a symbol of the construction of the Guinean state and of national unity because he proclaimed our independence in the hills of Boe" and said that he could "be relied upon to defend our national independence, to oppose neo-colonialism, to build the republic and promote peace, stability and above all, national reconciliation". Given Ialá's sharp hostility to Vieira in previous years, this endorsement was viewed as surprising by many, and there was reportedly significant dissatisfaction with the decision among Ialá's supporters. [33] The second round, held on 24 July, resulted in Vieira's victory. [34]

On 27 October 2006, Ialá returned to Guinea-Bissau after a year of voluntary exile in Morocco. On 12 November he was elected as President of the PRS with about 70% of the vote at the party's third ordinary congress, defeating Alberto Nambeia, although his re-election was disputed by opponents within the PRS. [35] He denounced the government of prime minister Aristides Gomes as "illegitimate and illegal" and said that it should be dissolved and early parliamentary elections should be held. [36]

In May 2007, following an appeal for the annulment of the third ordinary congress by a faction of the PRS opposed to Ialá, the Regional Court of Bissau cancelled the congress' resolutions and removed Ialá from the party leadership. On 23 August 2007, however, the Supreme Court of Guinea-Bissau reversed that decision and restored Ialá to the party leadership. [37]

After spending more time in exile in Morocco, Ialá returned to Bissau on 7 July 2008 to register for the November 2008 parliamentary election. On that occasion, he predicted that the PRS would win the election with a majority of seats. [38] Soon after his return, he converted to Islam in the city of Gabú on 18 July 2008, taking the name Mohamed Ialá Embaló. He also learned to speak Arabic. [39] In the November 2008 election, PAIGC officially won a majority of seats, defeating the PRS. Ialá initially disputed the official results and alleged fraud, [40] although he later accepted PAIGC's victory and said that the PRS would be a constructive opposition. [41]

President Nino Vieira was killed by soldiers on 2 March 2009. In April, the PRS designated Ialá as its candidate for the June 2009 presidential election. Some in the party who opposed Ialá's "system of monopoly" instead proposed the candidacy of Baltazar Lopes Fernandes, but they were unsuccessful. [42]

Death

Ialá suffered a "sudden cardiopulmonary arrest" and died on the night of 3 April4 April 2014, aged 61. [43] His personal security chief, Alfredo Malu, said that he "had a malaise on Thursday night" and died in the early hours of the next morning. The government announced that Ialá had died of a heart attack, that it would have a "special session of cabinet" at 9:00 and that his body was taken to Bra military hospital. Malu added that the sudden illness late in the day had prevented him from meeting PRS candidates in preparation for the parliamentary election to be held on 13 April 2014. [44]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Guinea-Bissau's Kumba Yala: from crisis to crisis", Afrol.com, 17 May 2005.
  2. Kumba Ialá, biography from Rulers.org.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Elections in Guinea-Bissau, African Elections Database.
  4. 1 2 Political Parties of the World (6th edition, 2005), ed. Bogdan Szajkowski, page 271.
  5. "Bissau presidential candidate in hospital", RTP Internacional TV (nl.newsbank.com), 29 December 1999.
  6. "Guinea-Bissau: Presidential candidate challenges acting president to public debate", PANA (nl.newsbank.com), 11 January 2000.
  7. "GUINEA-BISSAU: Yala sworn in as president", IRIN , 17 February 2000.
  8. Ferreira, Patricia M (26 March 2004), Guinea-Bissau: Perspectives on the up-coming elections (PDF), Institute for Security Studies Situation Report, p. 4, archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2016, retrieved 6 April 2014Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. Roque, Silvia (May 2009), Peacebuilding In Guinea-Bissau: A Critical Approach (PDF), Norwegian Peacebuilding Centre, p. 2, retrieved 6 April 2014[ permanent dead link ]
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  11. "GUINEA-BISSAU: Former military strongman shot dead, reports say", IRIN , 1 December 2000.
  12. "GUINEA-BISSAU: Focus on continuing instability", IRIN , 16 November 2001.
  13. "GUINEA-BISSAU: Opposition want evidence of attempted coup", IRIN , 6 December 2001.
  14. Amnesty International report 2001 - Guinea-Bissau (PDF), p. 3, retrieved 6 April 2014
  15. "GAMBIA-GUINEA: Government shocked by Guinea-Bissau coup claims", IRIN , 18 June 2002.
  16. "GUINEA-BISSAU: New Prime Minister named", IRIN , 18 November 2002.
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  18. 1 2 3 "GUINEA-BISSAU: Army ousts president who kept delaying elections", IRIN , 14 September 2003.
  19. 1 2 Bissau junta set to step down, BBC News Online , 18 September 2003.
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  22. "GUINEA-BISSAU: Ousted president freed ahead of end-of-March polls", IRIN , 9 March 2004.
  23. "GUINEA-BISSAU: PAIGC wins election, but lacks absolute majority", IRIN , 4 April 2004.
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  25. "GUINEA-BISSAU: Kumba Yala applies to run for president despite ban", IRIN, 12 April 2005.
  26. "GUINEA-BISSAU: Vieira and Yala cleared to contest June presidential election", IRIN, 11 May 2005.
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  28. "GUINEA-BISSAU: Demonstrators for peace vastly outnumber supporters of Kumba Yala", IRIN , 17 May 2005.
  29. "Guinea-Bissau's army urges calm", BBC News Online , 25 May 2005.
  30. "GUINEA-BISSAU: Yala still refuses to accept defeat in presidential election", IRIN , 27 June 2005.
  31. 1 2 "Ex-Bissau leader accepts defeat", BBC News Online , 27 June 2005.
  32. 1 2 "GUINEA-BISSAU: Kumba Yala agrees to accept election defeat while insisting he won", IRIN, 28 June 2005.
  33. "GUINEA-BISSAU: Kumba Yala to back Nino Vieira in second round of presidential election", IRIN , 4 July 2005.
  34. "GUINEA-BISSAU: Vieira officially declared president", IRIN, 10 August 2005.
  35. "Des militants contestent le congrès du PRS en Guinée-Bissau", Panapress, 23 November 2006 (in French).
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  38. "Kumba Yalá garante vitória do seu partido nas eleições legislativas", Panapress, 8 July 2008 (in Portuguese).
  39. "Ex-Presidente bissau-guineense converte-se ao Islão", Panapress, 18 July 2008 (in Portuguese).
  40. "Outrage after president's home attacked in Guinea-Bissau 'mutiny'", AFP, 23 November 2008.
  41. "Kumba Yalá reconhece vitória do PAIGC", Panapress, 19 December 2008 (in Portuguese).
  42. "Bissau: Kumba Yala de nouveau candidat à la présidence", AFP, 14 April 2009.
  43. "Former Guinea-Bissau president Kumba Yala dies aged 61", Reuters, 4 April 2014.
  44. Source AAP UPDATED - 4 April 2014. "Ex-president of Guinea-Bissau dies | SBS News". Sbs.com.au. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
Political offices
Preceded by
Malam Bacai Sanhá
Acting
President of Guinea-Bissau
2000–2003
Succeeded by
Veríssimo Correia Seabra
as Chairman of the Military Committee for the Restoration of Constitutional and Democratic Order of Guinea-Bissau