Guinea-Bissau has faced cyclical instability and insecurity for the last two decades.
These episodes of political breakdown have ranged in scale, from armed attempts to overthrow the president, to assassination plots, to countless extra-judicial imprisonments and beatings.
The country has become infamous for the fact that successive elected governments and heads of state have not been able to complete their mandates. To compound this bleak timeline, since 2003, it has been known as a “narco-state” due to the heavy involvement of state and military officials in the drug trade. But what is unique is that in Guinea-Bissau’s case, despite all the intra-elite fighting and violent struggles for power as well as the ineffective state is that “there are no outbreaks of large-scale violence across broader society”.
Furthermore, citizens are rarely directly targeted during those power struggles, as they are not co-opted in the violence, nor are they casualties. In fact, with the ongoing cyclical violence within its political elite, and very few prospects of economic growth and development, Guinean society had become politically disenfranchised and removed from conversations about politics. Yet, increased civic activism really began to take place in the more recent years following a long period of relative apathy by its population.