Matthew Mac-Kwame, a leading member of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has sent a strongly-worded letter to the association’s Electoral Committee to rescind its decision to disqualify him from the impending election.
The committee chaired by Ben Assorow disqualified Mr. Mac-Kwame from contesting for the position of Vice President because it claimed the aspirant had not, among other things, paid his monthly dues for two years.
“I am saddened and disappointed in the Electoral Committee of the Ghana Journalists Association GJA). I only woke up on Friday, March 17, 2017 to learn of my disqualification in the media. As at the time of writing this appeal, the Electoral Committee has still not communicated my supposed disqualification to me,” he said in the letter.
“A purported release from the Committee says I, Matthew Mac-Kwame, have not paid my dues for two years and thus caught in the 90-day clause of Article 47 (b) (III) of the GJA’s Constitution.”
Setting the records straight, Mr. Mac-Kwame said “it is not true that I have not paid my dues for two years,” explaining that “My dues for 2016 was deducted at source from my salary by the Controller and Accountant General and the money is to be paid by GIJ directly to the GJA. A copy of the pay slip was given to Kwasi Kpodo, a member of the Electoral Committee.”
He said “my dues for 2017 was wrongly recorded as dues for 2016 by officials of the GJA which mistake the Vetting Committee was notified. I cannot therefore be held responsible for the errors of the officials of the GJA who recorded my 2017 dues as dues for 2016.”
Mr. Mac-Kwame said “it appears somebody on the Election Committee or the Committee itself, was determined to disqualify me at all cost, hence the supposed disqualification was never (and has still) communicated to me.”
He said it was also clear that Article 47(b) (III) of the GJA constitution was wrongly and loosely applied without taking into consideration the publication of the election time table, adding “the application of Article 47(b) (III) of the GJA constitution to disqualify me was therefore not only capricious, but also mischievous, contrary to Article 23 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.”
The aspirant said “in fact, originally, 2017 is not GJA election year. The elections should have been held in 2016 but for strange reasons the National Executive decided to do otherwise,” adding “the way the application of Article 47(b) (III) of the GJA constitution has been effected without considering the electoral time table amounts to abuse of incumbency by those executive officers seeking re-election or contesting for other positions, to give them an undue advantage over those contesting them. I am not surprised that not a single of them was caught by the same Article 47 (b) (III).”