|New GPU Executive|
Paid-up members of the Gambia Press Union (GPU) have elected a new executive to steer the affairs of the Union until 2014 during a three-day triennial congress held at the Gambia Telecommunication and Multimedia Institute (GTMI), Kanifing, June 24-26.
The congress, funded by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) was held under the theme “Strengthening the GPU: A detailed analysis of the past, current situation, actions to confront challenges”.
Ex-President Ms Ndey Tapha Sosseh became the first incumbent to loose out in a bid to secure a second term of office. She was defeated by the former Secretary General Mr Bai Emil Touray in the race for the presidency on Sunday.
Mr Touray, an editor with the pro-opposition newspaper, Foroyaa secured 37 votes, while Mr Nfamara Jawneh, also an editor with The Point newspaper get 19 votes and Ms Sosseh, who was conspicuously absent from the congress managed only 14 votes.
Though he failed in his bid to remain in the WAJA Executive last year, Mr Touray was considered the favourite for the GPU top seat. Mr Jawneh, the founder of the Young Journalist Association of The Gambia (YJAG), was regarded by a local newspaper, The Standard, as being too young to lead the affairs of the Union, and Ms Sosseh looses largely due to her absence.
She was appointed in March 2009 as a Print Press Expert by the West African Journalists Association (WAJA) in its Project in Bamako, Mali, where she has lived on a self-imposed exile after six members of the Union were charged with and convicted on "sedition" following the publication of a press statement in reaction to the President Jammeh’s comments on murdered journalist, Deyda Hydara.
“I think it’s unfair to leave Ndey in isolation, after all she is in exile because of our cause. Despite all the challenges, she has been able to coordinate the affairs of the Union from abroad. We cannot afford to loose Emil in the executive also,” an Editor said when Ndey’s proposal to stand for re-election became prominent.
Ndey’s cause for re-election was tabled before congress delegates, most of whom admitted her industrious role in the progress of the GPU in the last three years, regardless of the hard times. But the issue of a “resident-president” who would be on the ground to address the numerous concerns of the Union Members gave Emil a great opportunity to win the polls.
In other positions, Mr. Babucarr Ceesay, an editor for The Daily News grab the position of 1st Vice President with 45 votes, at the expense of Mr Hatab Fadera, State House Correspondent for the pro-government Daily Observer newspaper, who secured 19 votes.
Mrs. Amie Sanneh-Bojang of the Foroyaa newspaper defeated Mr Sanna Camara, a freelance journalist working with the Standard Newspaper, by 41-23 votes as 2nd Vice President.
The Secretary General went to Mr Jibairu Janneh, an editor with the Daily Observer. He stood unopposed. The same was for the positions of 1st and 2nd Assistant Secretary General, with Madi Njie, a freelance journalist and Lamin Njie, an editor and the news room coordinator of The Daily News elected respectively. Both Njies’ have served in the former executive of the GPU.
For the Treasure, Ms. Kaddija Jawara of Market Place Business Magazine also went unopposed. The last battle for positions of Two Other Members went to Mrs Sarjo Camara Singhateh, Foroyaa and Mr. Saikou Ceesay, The Daily News.
Both defeated Ms Yai Dibba of The Point and Mr Abdoulie John, correspondent of the Associated Press, with a vote of 29-25 and 30-25 respectively.
Out going President’s report
Prior to the polls, the outgoing President Ndey Tapha Sosseh delivered the activity report of the GPU through Skype. Ndey readout a series of progressive programmes and initiatives undertaken by the Union under her leadership since 2008, with specific mention to projects, capacity building, partnerships and the challenges they’ve been faced with over the years. (See full report on Voice Topic page 10).
Though her effort was welcomed, the Congress demands the report be made available in hard copy for thorough scrutiny.
Meanwhile, the Treasurer’s Report was rejected by the Congress. Mr. Pa Modou Faal gave a breakdown of expenditures and monies derived from fundings, but failed to tell what the state of finance of the GPU is.
His report also failed to cover monies generated from the old GPU Printing Machine that was contracted to Today newspaper. A well known critic, Mr Abdoulie John, correspondent AP called it a “Kankurang” (masquerade) Report and said it is “an insult to our intelligence”.
Nonetheless, Mr Faal is expected to rework on his report and table it before the general membership for adoption, probably at a General Body Meeting. The previous executive has been blamed for not working as a team, if not; the financial report would have been adopted.
- Source: The Voice