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General News of Saturday, 4 August 2007

Source: Ghana Celebrities

ICU general secretary suspended

August 4, 2007, Accra: The general secretary of the Industrial and Commercial workers union, ICU, Mr Napoleon Kpoh has been asked by the national executive council, NEC, of the union to step aside until the end of his tenure expires on the 11th of this month.

The NEC took the vote of no confidence in Mr Kpoh at an emergency meeting in Accra, which was attended by representatives from all the eleven regions, including Tema.

However, speaking at the end of the meeting, a visibly shaken Mr Kpoh, shrugged off the decision of the NEC, and reiterated saying that he is still at post. According to him, the move was unconstitutional as the NEC did not follow the rules in trying to get him out of office.

Investigations reveal that the action to su spend Mr Kpoh stems from his inability to ensure that this year’s quadrennial conference of the union comes off from the 13 to 15 of August, due to lack of finance.

Union members contend that that is unheard of for the ICU not to have its congress due to cash constraints, therefore the general secretary was mandated to borrow cash from the bank for the congress, but he reported back on August 2 during the emergency meeting that his efforts were in vain as the banks refused the union any credit.

The absence of this year’s congress would mean that Mr Kpoh has continue to be in office for another four year, a development that many ICU members do not agree with. Hence the decision to oust him from office because they deem that he has failed in his task as GS.

Though Mr Kpoh described the vote of no confidence in him as unconstitutional, other officers of ICU say the decision is in the right direction. For instance, Mr Solomon Kotey who is the deputy general secretary for administration of ICU told this reporter that the constitutional point being raised by the GS is invalid, more so when the GS alludes that the ICU chairman should be in the known of such a pending matter before the decision was taken at the meeting.

Mr Kotey emphasized that decision to suspend GS stands strong and that the chairman was appointed by the NEC, so the NEC can take decisions without first alerting the chairman. He said Mr Kpoh can challenge the decision in court if he does not agree to it.

The ICU deputy general secretary for administration intimated that for now Mr Kpoh has been a grace period up to the 11 of this month to wind up his administration as GS.

The crisis looming at ICU has certainly courted the anger of various members of the union, as demonstrated by a group of members from the Tema branch of the union who were at the meeting grounds.

The agitated group were very much annoyed by GS’s refusal to abide by the NEC decision, and vehemently threatened mayhem if Mr Kpoh should continue to be at post after the his tenure office on the 11 of this month.

Mr Kpoh has been on the throne as General secretary (GS) of ICU for almost 19 years, a fact that is not going down with many members of the union who consider him more of a dictator than a GS.

For the now, the union is making efforts to resolve the impending crisis, otherwise it could lead toa further break away of the union, like it happened in 2003 when again Mr Kpoh refused to step aside for another person to take over the mantle as GS of ICU, and therefore resulted in the birth of the Union of Industry, Commerce and Finance workers union, UNICOF.

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