GJA: Lloyd Evans raises constitutional breaches by national executive
Mr Lloyd Evans, following his disqualification from contesting the presidential race of the upcoming Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) elections has sent a petition to the Adjudication Committee raising a number of constitutional breaches surrounding the elections.
He has subsequently prayed the committee to resolve the issues to enable him contest the elections slated for March 31, 2017.
Among the issues he raised in his petition were breaches to the processes leading to the holding of elections, saying, the announcement of the election was a surprise on all members without due regard to the rules and regulations as spelled out in the GJA Constitution.
The GJA constitution states that the National Executive should announce the elections, select an Election Committee and an Adjudication Committee at least 90-days before holding the elections but this was only done on February 6, 2017 with the elections slated for March 31, 2017, he said.
This, Mr Evans argued was a clear breach of the constitution.
For instance, he said the postponement of the election from March 31, 2016 was not communicated to members and that a proper interpretation of the rules and regulations will mean that the current mandate of the National Executives have run out, hence have no legal right to continue to hold office much more set up a committee to oversee the elections.
Touching on the explanation that he was caught and disqualified by the 90-day rule of Article 47 (b) (iii) of the GJA Constitution, for not paying his dues three months to the elections, Mr Evans argued that per the GJA constitution, dues for the year should be paid by February ending, which he duly complied.
He insisted members of the association were not aware of the elections until the executive surprised them on February 6, 2017.
He argued that he has written a number of letters to the national executives on some of these breaches and has not received a response.
My attention has been drawn to news in the sections of the media that I have been disqualified from the up-coming 2017 GJA Elections in a press release issued by the Election Committee and in the social media as well.
The reason is that I have been caught and disqualified by the 90-day rule of Article 47 (b) (iii) of the GJA Constitution.
I believe I have been treated unfairly and upon my request, the chair of the Election Committee has asked me to address my complaint to the Adjudication Committee for redress.
In the first place, this year is not an election year. Elections should have taken place last year in March. This did not happen and no better explanation has been given to members of our noble association
It was therefore surprising that the current executive whose mandate had expired since last year March, and still holding themselves in office pulled a surprise to all on February 6, that there will be an election.
Per the constitution, an election committee should have been put in place by the National Executive Council which should be made up National Executive members and representatives of the regional branches at its first meeting in an election year and this should be made known to the entire membership. (Ref Article 43).
Again, per the constitution, the election committee should under Article 43 (d) (i) made regulations and other arrangements for the conduct of transparent and credible elections. We never saw the regulations of the Election Committee.
Under Article 43 (ii), the committee is required to also publish a register of eligible voters in good standing 30 days before the elections.
Two weeks to the elections we do not have a credible voter’s list as the first one published had double registration, names of dead members and people who are not members of the association among others. This has since been pulled down.
Sir, the question is which credible voter’s register is the Election Committee going to use?
Per the constitution (Article 44 ) again the National Executive Council which is made up of national executives and the representatives of the regional branches shall set up an Election Dispute Adjudication Committee to sit on appeals from the decisions of the Election Committee and adjudicate on post-election disputes.
Sect (c) of the same Article states “The Election Dispute Adjudication Committee shall be appointed three (3) months before the election and shall be dissolved within two (2) months after the declaration of the election results”
As I write now I am not aware of any adjudication committee neither do I know their names. Based on my disqualification from the elections and after talking to the chairman of the Election Committee on phone from Takoradi, he advised that I should write to the Chairman of the Adjudication Committee, care of the Press Centre and it will be delivered.
Earlier before, on March 7, 2017 (See Attached) in a letter to the chair of the Elections Committee I have asked for the existence of this Adjudication Committee from the Election Committee and to my shock and dismay no tangible answer was given but rather I Lloyd Evans should check from the current executive members of the Association who for reasons best known to them are not willing to share any information to members on any issue. These are the same executives who are running for various positions again.
In the same letter of March 7, 2017 I called for a proper investigation as to how some GJA membership forms found their way into GBC (See Attached) on or before February 7 when the executive unconstitutionally announced the holding of elections on February 06, 2017. In fact this is NOT the standard practice of selling membership forms and again this undue privilege was not extended to any media house.
Sir, the best answer from the chair was that the sales had been stopped. This for me is very unfortunate and ridiculous. The question is, who sent the forms to GBC and for what reasons? This investigation must be done.
Information reaching me says that one of the contestants who paid his or her dues on January 14 was able to pass through the 90-day bench mark. This I think needs further investigations.
Sir, with these concerns raised I therefore look forward to appearing before the Adjudicating Committee for redress.
With the supposed election time line indicating March 31, 2017, I will be grateful if this matter can be addressed expeditiously to enable me participate fully in the elections.
Thank you very much
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
Meanwhile the campaign team of Mr Lloyd Evans has also issued a statement announcing that a number of moves have been initiated aimed at resolving all issues to enable Mr Evans to contest the position of President.
According to Team Lloyd Evans, the law stipulates that whoever seeks equity must come with clean hands and that the GJA executives cannot breach portions of the constitution in organising the elections and seek to disqualify some candidates as a ploy to ensure they continued to stay in office.
Below is a copy of the statement issued and signed by Boahene Asamoah, the Campaign Manager
RE: CONSTITUTIONAL BREACHES FOR GJA ELECTIONS 2017
LLOYD EVANS CAMPAIGN OFFICE
For immediate Release
RE: CONSTITUTIONAL BREACHES FOR GJA ELECTIONS 2017
Accra-March 20, 2017- The Campaign office of our Candidate Lloyd Evans wishes to point out to the general public some misinformation purportedly put out since the story about the disqualification of our Candidate Lloyd Evans was first put out last Friday, March 17, 2017.
First, the rule of natural justice was not adhered to. Team Lloyd Campaign was of the opinion that a written copy of the disqualification of our candidate would have first be made available to us before the rush to the public to announce their decision.
Team Lloyd however, on hearing of this have made the effort to get a copy of the statement from the Press Centre. We are yet to get a written copy from the Elections Committee.
Secondly, the Chairman of the Election Committee has noted on some radio interviews that our candidate can appeal his disqualification through the Adjudicating Committee for redress.
We wish to point out to the Chairman of the Election Committee that the very same rules and regulations of the GJA, which mandates the National Executives to put institute the Election Dispute Adjudication Committee 90 clear days before the elections has been flouted.
We challenge the National Executive Committee to publish the date for which this committee was set up and the names of the members of the Committee. Therefore, there is no Adjudicating Committee as of now.
Per the constitution (Article 44 ) the National Executive Council which is made up of national executives and the representatives of the regional branches shall set up an Election Dispute Adjudication Committee to sit on appeals from the decisions of the Election Committee and adjudicate on post-election disputes.
Sec (c) of the same Article states “The Election Dispute Adjudication Committee shall be appointed three (3) months before the election and shall be dissolved within two (2) months after the declaration of the election results”.
The announcement of the elections however, was done on February 6, 2017 with the elections stated for March 31, 2017. This is clearly a breach of the rules and regulations of the Association.
The GJA rules and regulations is specific, that the Elections Committee shall publish a register of eligible voters (members in good standing) for each election. The register shall be published in at least one national daily and simultaneously circulated to all Regional Branches and media houses at least 30 calender days before the election.
The said list of members in good standing was however published in March, another clear breach of the GJA constitution by the Elections Committee. What was published was not even the accurate data as per what is stated in the GJA constitution.
The same regulations says the National Executive shall publish the names of members of the Association in good standing by the end of the first-quarter, after giving due notice of 30 calender days.
This pre-supposses that the GJA should have given due notice of their intention to publish its members in good standing by December of 2016.
It is clear from the forgoing that the National Executives of GJA has at every turn of the processes leading to this election, flouted their own rules and regulations with impunity and clearly done to favor themselves.
The GJA rules once again states clearly that yearly payments of dues should be paid by end of February for the year. Our Candidate paid his dues on 14th February, 2017, hence has not fallen short of the rules.
Be that this year is not an election year, therefore, anybody who has paid his dues before the end of the February cannot be said to be caught by the 90-day rule.
We urge the Elections Committee to publish dates of payment of all candidates to dispel rumors of some of the qualified candidates purported to have paid their dues in the middle of January.
We wish to reiterate that the processes leading to holding of elections was surprised on all members without due regards to the rules and regulations as spelled out in the GJA Constitution.
Point must also be made here that it took our candidate to point out to the National Executives some obvious breaches of the rules of the association in various letters to the National Executives, who have refused to date to acknowledge receipt of his letters much more to reply same.
The postponement of this election for instance from March 31, 2016 was not communicated to members. A proper interpretation of the rules and regulations will mean that the current mandate of the National Executives have run out, hence have no legal right to continue to hold office much more set up a committee to oversee the elections.
Our candidate therefore, did not and cannot be said to have failed to pay his dues as per the incidence narrated above.
“Keep Lloyd Evans Vision Alive” CHANGE WILL COME.