Affail Monney-led GJA has no mandate to organise elections – journalist

GJA president Affail Monney has been challenged by a journalist who claims he has no authority to hold himself out as president of the Association.

In a 1,216 worded letter to the chairman of the Election Dispute Adjudication Committee, Charles Benoni Okine argued that the current administration can’t arrogate to itself the right to organise elections for the association.

This is because they lost their mandate as far back as March 2016. In effect, every decision taken from this date is null and void.

The current Executives announced on 6th February 2017 that there are going to be elections of new Executives of the Association on 31, March 2017.

But plans to organise the elections has been rocked by disputes after the GJA disqualified the President’s challenger Mr Lloyd Evans.

According to the GJA, he was disqualified for failing to meet the 90-day ruling by paying his dues on time.

Mr. Okine who works with Graphic Business has pointed out a number of breaches of the GJA constitutions in the processes leading to the organisation of elections.

He argued the elections should have been held last year.

“The current Executives flouted Article 43 (a) (i) of the GJA Constitution by not holding elections in March 2016 “, the statement said.

He also pointed out that Article 44 (c ) (i) prescribes that an Election Dispute Adjudication Committee (EDAC) is to be appointed “three (3) months before the election and shall be dissolved within two months after the declaration of the election results”.

“Clearly if elections are to be held on 31st March 2017 then per the above-quoted provision of the GJA Constitution the EDAC should have been appointed and in place by 1st January 2017”.

“We make the point that no EDAC was appointed and was in place by 1st January 2017 so this is a material breach of the Constitution which stops the Executives from holding the elections on 31st March 2017 until the proper things are done”.

Read full statement

THE CHAIRMAN

ELECTION DISPUTE ADJUDICATION COMMITTEE

GHANA JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION

ACCRA

Dear Sir,

DISPUTE ABOUT THE MANDATE OF THE EXECUTIVES OF THE GHANA JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION AND THE LEGALITY OF THE GJA ELECTIONS OF 2017

We the undersigned write to place before you our grievances covering issues affecting the Ghana Journalist Association, and we hasten to add that our grievances are placed before you in furtherance of our constitutional duty under Article 11 (e) of the 2004 Constitution of the Ghana Journalists Association.

We, first of all, seek clarification on the mandate of the current executives of the Association to be in office and take decisions to affect the wellbeing and welfare of the Association. We write to remind all of us that the mandate of the current GJA Executives expired in March 2016. Upon the expiry of the said mandate, a notice was sent out for an Emergency General Meeting which was held on Friday, 26th August 2016. Even though the meeting was supposed to be an Emergency General Meeting no decision of importance was taken to reflect its nature as one called to discuss issues of emergency nature. 

One would have thought that the Executives of the GJA would have used the opportunity offered by the Emergency General Meeting to throw to members the critical issue of extension to the mandate of the Executives who had by the time of the said Emergency General Meeting hopelessly outlived their mandate.

Following from the fact that no attempt was made by the Executives of the Association to seek an extension of their mandate at the said Emergency General Meeting it is pertinent to question the legality of all decisions taken by the current Executives from the time their mandate expired in March 2016 to date, and by this letter we seek to challenge the decisions taken by the current executives since their mandate lapsed in March 2016 as being null and void.

The current Executives announced on 6th February 2017 that there are going to be elections of new Executives of the Association on 31st March 2017. To the extent that this is so the current Executives unilaterally decided on this said date even though it has no mandate to decide that 2017 is an election year for the Association because to all intents and purposes the election year of the Association was 2016. We are of the opinion that the current Executives had to call an Emergency General Meeting (a) seek an extension of their mandate to act in office and (b) seek a mandate from members at an Emergency General Meeting to declare 2017 an election year.

Since we are not aware who mandated for 2017 to be declared an election year we would request to be informed whether Article 43(a) (i) of the GJA Constitution has been complied with in respect of the National Council at its first meeting in an election year appointing the Chairman and the two (2) other members to constitute the Election Committee. 

We make the point that everything about the decision to declare 2017 an election year and specifically the decision to hold GJA elections on 31st March 2017 to be illegal and unconstitutional. The current Executives flouted Article 43 (a) (i) of the GJA Constitution by not holding elections in March 2016 and this illegality is continuing because the Executives have not sought any further mandate from anybody to be in office and crucially to declare 2017 an election year to end with elections on 31st March 2017.

We have serious issues about the legality of the elections called by the current Executives to be held on 31st March 2017, which we believe will not be in consonance and resonance with the GJA Constitution, equity and social justice.

Needless to say we do not endorse the illegal acts of the current Executives because they have no mandate to take decisions for the Association. But and it is a big BUT even if the current Executives are in office legally we opine that the decision to hold elections on 31st March 2017 is a flagrant breach of the 2004 GJA Constitution in respect of the establishment of the Election Dispute Adjudication Committee (EDAC). Article 44 (c ) (i) says as follows: “The Election Dispute Adjudication Committee shall be appointed three (3) months before the election and shall be dissolved within two months after the declaration of the election results.”

Per the press release dated January 30, 2017 and signed by Mr Dave Agbenu, General Secretary announcing the appointment of the Election Committee and the date for the elections, the current executives stated: “As required by the Constitution of the GJA, a three-member Elections Dispute Adjudication Committee will in due course be established by the Elections Committee.”

Clearly if elections are to be held on 31st March 2017 then per the above quoted provision of the GJA Constitution the EDAC should have been appointed and in place by 1st January 2017. We make the point that no EDAC was appointed and was in place by 1st January 2017 so this is a material breach of the Constitution which stops the Executives from holding the elections on 31st March 2017 until the proper things are done.

Again, per the press release dated, January 30, 2017 and signed by Mr Dave Agbenu, General Secretary announcing the appointment of the Election Committee and the date for the elections, the current executives stated: “Furthermore, candidates vying for any of the Executive positions shall be full members of the Association for at least five (5) years and must be in good standing by at least the close of Monday, 27th February, 2017. (Please find a copy of the said letter attached)

We have however read through a press release issued by the Elections Committee that Mr Lloyd Evans, one of the aspirants for the presidential race has been disqualified for failing to meet the 90-day ruling by paying his dues on time.

As concerned members of the Association who have a constitutional duty to protect and defend the reputation of the Association we believe it would be cruel and unjust for the 31st March 2017 elections to be held in the teeth of the evidence of serious breaches of the GJA Constitution. To hold the elections on 31st March 20017 will do violence to the GJA Constitution.

We hope that the issues we have raised in this letter of dispute would be treated with the urgency they deserve, and we would hopefully receive your response by the return of post.

Yours faithfully

………………….

(Charles Benoni Okine)

……………………

(Enoch Darfah Frimpong)

cc

The Chairman National Media Commission

The Executive Secretary National Media Commission

The Chairman, Ethics and Disciplinary Committee c/o GiPC

The Chairman, Election Committee c/o GiPC

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