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General News of Wednesday, 26 July 2017


Austin Gamey to mediate GJA dispute

The election dispute of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and other related matters on the mandate of the current executive of the association have been referred for an out of court settlement.

Consequently, labour expert Mr Austin Gamey has been appointed to mediate the impasse. This was made known on Wednesday, when the case came up for hearing at the General Jurisdiction Division of the Accra High Court, presided over by Mr Justice Daniel Mensah.

Counsel for the defendants, Mr Egbert Fabille announced that it has been agreed that Mr Gamey should meet the parties at the Ghana International Press Centre (GIPC) on Friday for the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

Following that, the court agreed and adjourned the matter to Monday July 31, 2017.

The court earlier restrained the Election Committee of the GJA from re-opening nominations for the association’s upcoming national elections.

It followed the filing of a suit by four candidates in the upcoming elections against the re-opening of nominations, arguing that the Election Committee erred.

The plaintiffs are Edmund Kofi Yeboah, an aspiring General Secretary; Francis Kokutse, an aspiring Vice-President; Vance Azu, an aspiring Organising Secretary, and Lloyd Evans, an aspiring President.

Why the court action?

Following an earlier disqualification of some candidates, including Lloyd Evans and Mathew Mac Kwame, in the upcoming association election, they petitioned the Elections Dispute Adjudication Committee (EDAC) but because of the short period to hear their petitions, the election was postponed indefinitely from March 31, 2017 at the request of the EDAC.

After hearing the petitions, the EDAC said, "Candidates who were disqualified from contesting the election 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".

That meant that Mr Evans and Mr Mac Kwame were to be given the opportunity to contest.

Before the postponement, all aspirants had been vetted, however on Monday, May 15, 2017, the Election Committee issued a statement and announced that it was re-opening nominations for all prospective candidates.

The plaintiffs contended that the move was “unconstitutional” since the EDAC whose pronouncement, according to the GJA constitution was final, did not say the process should start afresh but said it should continue.

They argued that the manner the Election Committee was handling affairs was problematic and, therefore, decided to challenge the decision to re-open nominations after the EDAC had pronounced that the process should continue.

The plaintiffs explained they went to court after several letters sent to the Election Committee to rescind the decision to re-open nominations had been ignored.

They said they were yet to receive a response to any of their letters to the Election Committee and therefore sought a court order to assert their rights Under the GJA constitution.