By Sulayman Bah
Football House presidential candidate Malick Sillah and his team have lodged a letter with the National Sports Council protesting the recent rejection of their nomination letters by the Gambia Football Federation’s election committee.
Malick was one of few members from his team to get endorsed while six of his other camp mates failed to impress the election committee. Their appeals were rejected with the reviewing body upholding electoral entity’s ruling.
However, Team Malick have reported to the Sports Council hoping action to be taken. The Council and the GFF, it could be recalled, have tempestuous relationship.
Below is the full report of the complaint to the council.
“We hereby write to protest against the decision of the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) Electoral Appeal Committee dated 30th July 2018. We are dissatisfied with the decision of the GFF Election Appeal Committee and wish to seek redress and intervention from your humble office.
The GFF Electoral Appeal Committee upheld the decision of the GFF Electoral Committee to disqualify nomination of Mr. Abdoulie Njie, as the 1st Vice President, Mr. Kabba Ceesay as 2nd Vice President, Mr. Musa K Jawara as Referees Representative, Mariama Jobarteh as Female Representative and Essa Jallow as Executive Member for the forthcoming GFF Elective Congress.
The disqualifications of Mr. Abdoulie Njie, Mr.Kabba Ceesay and Musa Jawara were based on denial of authorization of signatures of certain individuals. The disqualification of Essa Jallow was based on the notion that Serekunda United FC is relegated and it is no longer member of the GFF. The disqualification of Mariama Jobarteh was based on the fact that she is not the Lower River Region Female Representative at Lower River Region (LRRFA).
Following submission of our notice of appeal dated 23rd July, 2018 to the GFF Electoral Appeal Committee for consideration, we were notified that the decision of the Electoral Committee is upheld. The reason for disqualification of our nomination is not premised on any provision of the GFF Constitution and Electoral Code. There is no provision in the GFF Constitution and Electoral Code that provide legal requirement for the capacity of signature for nomination of a candidate. The Electoral Committee is not mandated under the GFF Constitution or Electoral Code to decide who should sign the Nomination Form for any elective post. The signature of any member of the Club is sufficient. The provision for President and Secretary General signatures on the nomination form is not a mandatory legal requirement under the GFF Constitution or Electoral Code.
Under the GFF Constitution, it is the Clubs, Allied Association or Regional Associations that reserves the right of authorization of nomination of candidate not individual. The competent authority authorized the nomination of our candidature.
With regards to the rejection of the nomination of Essa Jallow who was nominated by Serrekunda United FC was wrong because Serrekunda United FC registered in the 2017/2018 Football Season which commenced in November 2017 and will end at the time when the 2018/2019 commence with the registration of promoted teams. Serrekunda United FC rights to participate in the GFF activities will abate when 2018/2019 seasons begins. The registration of teams for 2018/2019 Season is yet to commenced. Constitutionally, Serrekunda United is still a member of the GFF family. Its membership rights is not only limited to football competitions but also extend to all other rights enshrined in article 13.1 of the GFF Constitution which create and guarantee its obligation to the GFF General Assembly and enjoyment of such rights until beginning of 2018/2019 seasons when the membership rights shall ceased.
Rejection of the nomination of Mariama Jobarteh was based on the fact that she is not the Female Representative at the Lower River Region Football Association (LRRFA). Mrs. Jobarteh was duly elected as Executive Member of the Women’s Football Association during the last elective congress representing Women’s Football in LRRFA. She is the Female Football Representative of Women’s Football Association in LRR Football Association. The decision to reject her nomination was wrongly concluded.
Therefore, our nomination is in compliance with Article 34.3 of the GFF Constitution and eligibility checks provided under the Electoral Code. Our nomination is not in contravention of any provision of the GFF Constitution and Electoral Code. The GFF Appeal Committee failed to avert its mind to the eligibility check requirements for disqualification of candidate as prescribed by article 34.4 of the GFF Constitution, Article 9 and article 10 of the Electoral Code of GFF. Under the GFF Constitution and Electoral Code, disqualification of the nomination of a candidate should be based on the aforesaid provisions.
Therefore, the Electoral Committee erroneously arrived at its conclusion on this matter, as the decision is not premised on law.
The GFF Electoral Code erred in law when it proceeded to disqualify the nominees without giving us the opportunity to defend ourselves. The letters of the Electoral Committee, which convey decision to disqualify our nomination, showed that the Electoral Committed did not write to the Clubs that nominated us but rather chose to make phone individuals of their Choice. There were no official correspondents to the Clubs to ascertain the said allegation of non-authorization of signatures on our Nomination Form. Official communications of such nature are always addressed to the institutions concerned. Therefore, we regard the telephone conversation as unofficial and cannot be relied on. Also, Probative value cannot be ascribed to the letters that conveyed the decision to disqualify our nomination because they have not letterhead and official stamp.
Even though the Club wrote to the GFF Electoral Appeal Committee contending that our nomination is valid, the Committee proceeded to determine the appeal and disregarded the evidence provided by Clubs that our nomination is valid.
We also wrote a protest letter to the GFF Electoral Committee against the acceptance of nomination of Mr.Lamin Kabba Bajo as President, Mr. Bakary Jammeh, as the 1st Vice President, Mr. Ebou Faye as 2nd Vice President and Mr. Lang Tombong Tamba as 3rdVice president published on Standard Newspapers on Monday 23 July 2018; and the appeal is yet to be determined.
Steve Biko FC and Bombada FC nominated Mr. Lamin Kabba Bajo and his Camp members and both Presidents of the said Club did not sign the nomination forms and their nomination was considered valid. Our nomination was considered invalid with the same reasons.
Mr. Lang Tombong Tamba was convicted and sentenced for treasons and other felonious offence by the High Court of the Gambia which decision was affirmed by the Supreme Court on appeal. Article 34.4 paragraph c of the GFF Constitution provides that“the members of the Executive Committee shall not have been convicted of a felon.”The acceptance of his nomination for the position of 3rd Vice President is flagrant violation of the article 34.4 of the GFF Constitution.
Therefore, it is apparent that the Electoral Committee of GFF is bias and will not adhere to the dictate of the law in this electioneering process. Therefore, we wish to seek redress and your intervention to resolve the matter as enshrined in the National Sports Council Act 2000 Article 18. (d) . We have exhausted all the legal remedies within the GFF hierarchy and justice is yet to be served and we fear that if this deadlock is not broken, the situation may spill over into an unpleasant situation and this will not be in the interest of the Gambian Football. We believe your intervention will be the only way of defusing the ill-fated tension that has been imposed on us by GFF.
We hereby attached letters and documents detailing the correspondence to GFF regarding this matter. We look forward to hearing from you.”