Profile of Special Guest: President Umaro Embaló of Guinea Bissau
Heads of state and diplomats from different countries have graced Ghana’s Independence Day celebrations as special guests since the advent of the annual event. It shows the cordial relationship that exists between Ghana and other countries.
In the past, Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari; the President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou and the Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley have joined the national celebration to deliver solidarity messages.
Last year, Prime Minister Mottley gave a powerful speech at the celebration in Cape Coast, attracting thunderous applauds at the Cape Coast Stadium and compliments on social media.
For the 66th Independence Day Celebrations, to be hosted by Ho, the President of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embaló who is also the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) would be the special guest.
Elected as the ECOWAS Chair at the 61st ECOWAS summit in Ghana’s capital Accra to succeed Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, who served two terms, President Embaló, would be reuniting with his predecessor in the city where he was elected.
It is interesting to note that beyond the bilateral relations shared by the two countries, they share same national colours; red, yellow, green and even a black star. But for the arrangement, of the patterns they two national flags could be somewhat difficult to distinguish.
President Embaló was born on September 23, 1972, in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.
He holds a degree in international relations from the Technical University of Lisbon’s Higher Institute of Social and Political Sciences.
Additionally, he has a doctorate in international relations from the Complutense University of Madrid and a master’s degree in political science from the same institution. He is multilingual. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish with ease and has a working knowledge of English, French, Arabic, and Swahili.
Embaló completed his military service while studying national defence at the Spanish National Defence Centre. He then pursued additional national security coursework in Brussels, Tel Aviv, Johannesburg, Japan, and Paris.
He progressed to brigadier-general status. Before entering politics, Embaló was a scholarly expert in defence, international cooperation, and development issues as well as African and Middle Eastern affairs.
He is a member of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC).
President Embaló began his political career in 1994 when he joined the National People’s Assembly. He served as the Minister of Public Administration, Labour, and Social Security from 2000 to 2001. He also served as the Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Artisanal from 2001 to 2003. In 2014, he was appointed as the Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau, but he only held the position for a few months before being replaced.
In the 2019 presidential election, Embaló was declared the winner, but his victory was contested by his opponent, Domingos Simões Pereira. The electoral commission declared Embaló the winner, but the Supreme Court of Guinea-Bissau later ruled that the results were invalid due to irregularities. Embaló was eventually declared the winner in February 2020, and he was sworn in as President on February 27, 2020.
Embaló is known for his nationalist and populist political views. He has called for a “new era” in Guinea-Bissau, with a focus on economic development and reducing corruption. He has also been critical of foreign interference in Guinea-Bissau’s affairs and has called for closer ties with other African countries.
BY JESSEL THERSONCOFIE