Sir, David Pilling’s Big Read article on politics in west Africa (“A shrinking space for autocrats”, January 24) is very interesting, but it would appear that scarce attention is given to non-English-speaking west African countries. Portuguese-speaking Guinea-Bissau, for example, has been in political turmoil and crisis for almost two years now, causing a permanent deadlock and preventing the president, José Mário Vaz, and the political parties from appointing and legitimising a new prime minister and government. There has been quite a lot of political pressure from neighbouring countries and regional organisations such as the Economic Community of West African States; however, to no effect. Autocracy rules.

Manuel Santos Vitor

Lisbon, Portugal

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