Guinea-Bissau: The Bafata political party and its youth faction, called Juba
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||30 December 2004|
|Citation / Document Symbol||GNB43243.FE|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Guinea-Bissau: The Bafata political party and its youth faction, called Juba, 30 December 2004, GNB43243.FE, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/42df60f22.html [accessed 29 August 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Origins and description of the party
The Guinea-Bissau Resistance-Bafata Movement (Movimento Bafatá-Resistencia da Guiné-Bissau, MB-RGB) was founded in 1986 under the name Bafata Movement (Movimento Bafatá) (Africa South of the Sahara 2004). The party became the Guinea-Bissau Resistance-Bafata Movement in 1991 (ibid.). Salvador Tchongo is the current party leader (ibid.).
Following the election of President Yala in February 2000, the MB-RGB participated in a coalition government (Panafrican News Agency 15 July 2003). It was the leading opposition party (ibid.) until an internal crisis opposing certain leaders pushed it back into eighth place in the 28 March 2004 legislative elections (African Elections Database 1 Dec. 2004).
No mention of the party's youth faction or Juba could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
Situation of the leaders and members
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002 indicated that an MB-RGB deputy was severely beaten by President Yala's bodyguards at an event that took place on 24 September 2002 (31 Mar. 2003). Deputy Rui Ferreira, who had to be hospitalized, had arrived late for the President's speech (Country Reports 2002 31 Mar. 2003). By the end of 2002, the incident still had not been investigated (ibid.).
Amnesty International (AI) indicated that opposition leaders had been harassed and arrested, including MB-RGB deputy Francisca (Zinha) Vaz, who was detained for two days in February 2003 [translation] "for responding to President Yala's comments about her father" (2004; see also RDP Africa 18 Feb. 2003). She was released without charge but was prohibited from travelling until July 2003 (AI 2004).
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003 indicated that the former MB-RGB president, Domingos Fernandes, was detained on 8 September 2003 for 48 hours (25 Feb. 2004). Domingos Fernandes had criticized a Guinea-Bissau Supreme Court ruling that supported the RGB leadership (Country Reports 2003 25 Feb. 2004).
A 29 January 2003 article from the RDP Africa Internet site indicated that a travel ban was imposed on MB-RGB leaders. A government representative pointed out that this ban against Helder Vaz, Francisca Vaz, Alexandre Bucancil and Domingos Fernandes was justified because they had led the MB-RGB congress even though the public ministry had prohibited them from doing so (RDP Africa 29 Jan. 2003). The article indicated that Helder Vaz and Francisca Vaz were facing a two-year prison sentence (ibid.).
The MB-RGB's recent political history and position
A 23 January 2001 BBC News article indicated that the ministers representing the MB-RGB in the coalition government had resigned following a department reshuffle, which the party in power had failed to consult them about. Shortly before the 14 September 2003 coup against President Yala's government, the MB-RGB president strongly criticized Yala's policies (Panafrican News Agency 15 July 2003).
As reported by the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), the MB-RGB spoke out against the September 2003 coup in Guinea-Bissau against the Yala government, and hoped that elections would be organized as quickly as possible (IRIN 15 Sept. 2003).
On 3 July 2002, RTP International Television indicated that the MB-RGB party was "going through a deep internal crisis." The party leadership was in great dispute because one group supported Salvador Tchongo (current party president) and the other supported Domingos Fernandes (RTP International Television 12 Oct. 2002).
The crisis began with the suspension of Domingos Fernandes as party president and his rejection of that decision (ibid. 3 July 2002). In addition, the third congress of the MB-RGB was held on 12 October 2002, "despite an order issued by the Public Ministry" (ibid. 12 Oct. 2002).
An 11 February 2003 article from RDP Africa indicated that Domingos Fernandes, the MB-RGB's first president, intended to run in the 2004 presidential elections. According to this article, he did not agree with the Guinea-Bissau Supreme Court's ruling in favour of Salvador Tchongo as MB-RGB leader (RDP Africa 11 Feb. 2003). Domingos Fernandes claimed that his 8 February 2003 two-day detention was linked to the statements that he had made about the Supreme Court ruling (ibid.).
Another source indicated that Salvador Tchongo and Helder Vaz were involved in a four-year long dispute over party leadership until Tchongo was declared the "formal" MB-RGB leader in 2003 (FBIS Report 25 Mar. 2004).
The party won less than two percent of the votes and no seats in the 28 March 2004 legislative elections, although it had won 28 seats in 1999 and its candidate in the November 2000 presidential elections had won more than eight percent of the votes (African Elections Database 1 Dec. 2004).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
African Elections Database. 1 December 2004. "Elections in Guinea-Bissau."
Africa South of the Sahara, Stanford University. 2004. "Guinea-Bissau."
Amnesty International (AI). 2004. "Guinée-Bissau." Rapport d'Amnesty International 2004.
BBC News. 23 January 2001. "Party Resigns from Guinea-Bissau Coalition."
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003. 25 February 2004. "Guinea-Bissau." United States Department of State. Washington, DC.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002. 31 March 2003. "Guinea-Bissau." United States Department of State. Washington, DC.
FBIS Report. 25 March 2004. "FYI-Sources Profile: Guinea-Bissau." (Dialog)
Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN). 15 September 2003. "Guinea-Bissau: Coup Applauded by Politicians and Ordinary People."
Panafrican News Agency. 15 July 2003. "Opposition Party Condemns Yala's Policies." (Dialog)
RDP Africa [Lisbon, in Portuguese]. 29 January 2003. "Guinea-Bissau: Deputy Attorney-General Upholds Travel Ban on Opposition." (BBC International Reports/Dialog)
_____. 18 February 2003. "Guinea-Bissau: Opposition, Workers' Union to Hold Joint Protest." (BBC International Reports/Dialog)
_____. 11 February 2003. "Former Guinea-Bissau Resistance-Bafata Movement Leader to Run for Presidency." (BBC International Reports/Dialog)
RTP International Television [Lisbon, in Portuguese]. 3 July 2002. "Guinea-Bissau: Internal Crisis in Resistance Party Following Suspension of President." (FBIS-AFR-2002-0704/WNC)
_____. 12 October 2002. "Guinea-Bissau: Third RGB Congress Held Despite Prohibition Order by Ministry." (FBIS- AFR-2002-1012/WNC)
Additional Sources Consulted
Internet sites, including: AllAfrica.com, Human Rights Watch, ReliefWeb, World News Connection.