General News of Sat, 20 May 20172
Kofi Yeboah, Lloyd Evans challenge re-opening of GJA Election nominations
Two aspirants in the upcoming national executive election of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) have raised further issues with the manner the Election Committee was handling affairs.
Edmund Kofi Yeboah, a General Secretary aspirant and Lloyd Evans, presidential aspirant in separate letters to the Election Committee have challenged the decision to re-open nominations after the Elections Dispute Adjudication Committee (EDAC) pronounced that the process should continue.
Following the disqualification of some candidates including Lloyd Evans and Mathew Mac Kwame, a vice presidential aspirant, they petitioned the EDAC and because of the short period to hear the petitions, the election was postponed indefinitely from the March 31, 2017 date at the request of the EDAC.
After hearing the petitions, the EDAC said "candidates who were disqualified from contesting the elections on the basis other than (i) not being members or (ii) whose membership was below three years should be given the opportunity to contest the elections."
APPEAL AGAINST DECISION BY GJA ELECTIONS COMMITTEE TO RE-OPEN NOMINATIONS FOR THE 2017 GJA ELECTIONS
I write in my personal capacity as a member of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) in good standing and aspirant for the position of General Secretary in the 2017 GJA elections. I wish to appeal against the decision by the GJA Elections Committee (EC) to re-open nominations for the 2017 GJA Elections in the following respects:
1. The EC, in a press release dated February 15, 2017, announced the opening of nominations for the 2017 GJA Elections from Thursday, February 16, 2017 and closing of same on Monday, February 27, 2017. The National Executive positions advertised for contest were: President, Vice President, General Secretary, Organising Secretary, Treasurer and Public Affairs Officer. In response to that call, I filed my nomination to contest for the General Secretary position and paid the requisite nomination fee thereto.
10. To the best of my understanding, postponement means to put something on hold until a later time or date; postponement does not mean annulment whereby everything is scrapped. So calling for fresh nominations, after postponing the elections to allow for the outcome of an electoral process laid down in the GJA Constitution, seems quite outlandish.
11. In any event, the EDAC, in its determination of the petitions brought before it, did not make any recommendation for re-opening of nominations. So in my humble view, anything done contrary to, or inconsistent with, the recommendations of the EDAC undermines the integrity of the very institution established for the good of the GJA.
12. Article 53(a)(vi) of the GJA Constitution 2004 provides: “The decision of the Election Dispute Adjudication Committee shall be final”. The decision by the EC to re-open nominations, regardless of the recommendations made by the EDAC in respect of election petitions, is a complete violation of the GJA Constitution. The EC’s decision suggests that whenever an aggrieved candidate or member files a petition to the EDAC and the EDAC makes a determination on same, the whole electoral process may be re-started. Such precedent is detrimental to the collective good of the GJA and same must not be allowed to fester.
13. To buttress my submission in the foregoing paragraph, I wish to make reference to the Republic v Charlotte Osei and The Electoral Commission (ex-parte Papa Kwesi Nduom) (2016). In that case, after the High Court in Accra had reversed the decision of the Electoral Commission to disqualify Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom from contesting in the 2016 presidential election, and ordering the Electoral Commission to afford Dr Nduom an opportunity to amend his nomination forms and for the electoral process to proceed, the Electoral Commission did not re-open nominations. Rather, it continued with the electoral processes until they were halted by the court action. This is the legal and rightful precedent, I respectfully submit, the GJA Elections Committee must follow.
Below is Mr Evans' letter
GJA Elections Committee
Ghana Int. Press Centre Ring way Estates
There is equally nowhere in the GJA Constitution which calls for re-opening of nominations when election issues have been settled by an adjudication committee.
I wish to state that, this is unconstitutional and has no legal basis whatsoever. With due respect, the Elections Committee must not sit in their comfort zone and misinterpret both the GJA Constitution and the Report of the EDAC. That report dated May 15, 2017 from the Elections Committee must be withdrawn without further delay.
The way forward is for the Elections Committee to write to all the disqualified aspirants and inform them of the outcome of the EADC report and meet with them in order to come up with a time table for the elections and clear other outstanding issues In the EDAC Report.
All aspirants have keen interest in this year’s elections as such the Elections Committee must be very transparent in dealing with all of them without creating any room for suspicion.
More importantly, now that we have misses the constitutional date for the elections, the Elections Committee cannot on its own determine when the elections should be held. All aspirants are stakeholders. The processes be done in consultation and collaboration with all aspirants.
It will therefore be in the interest of all journalists if the right things are done and done well.