Guinea Bissau's former PM Manuel Costa dies, aged 78

Thursday March 11 2021
Manuel Saturnino da Costa.

Manuel Saturnino da Costa, Guinea Bissau's former prime minister, has died at 78 years. PHOTO | COURTESY


Guinea Bissau’s former prime minister Manuel Saturnino da Costa has died following weeks of hospitalisation, his family announced on Wednesday.

His family did not disclose the nature of his illness or the burial date.

Mr Costa, 78, was known as Commander Saturnino da Costa because of his role during the liberation war, and he was key figure in the ruling African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC).

In independent Guinea Bissau, fraught with coups and coup attempts, da Costa was a diplomat and a civil servant, and was also an elected politician.

He served as Ambassador to Cuba in the 1970s and was later elevated to General Secretary of the PAIGC after President João Bernardo Vieira took over power through a coup in 1980.

Mr Costa served as prime minister between October 26, 1994 and June 6, 1997 under President Nino Vieira.


Under President Kumba Ialá in 2000, the former prime minister was jailed along with another former PM Carlos Correira and four former ministers over corruption allegations. They were acquitted in June 2003, the same year that Mr Ialá was deposed in a bloodless coup.

In 2008, Mr Costa was elected MP and named as the head of the Council of Ministers.

But he was fired in 2009 and he then distanced himself from the PAIGC.

In his final days, Mr Costa had been a vocal supporter of the opposition party Madem G-15 founded by dissidents of the PAIGC.