By MUHAMMED S. BAH
Media practitioners on Saturday 8 September 2018, elected a new leadership for the Gambia Press Union (GPU), who will spearhead the organisation for the next three years.
The elections that were supposed to be done by 73 eligible members were done by 64 instead.
Sherrif Bojang Junior a veteran Freelance Journalist who was staying in Senegal for many years emerged as a winner of the Presidency with 46 votes against Modou Kanteh, who scored 16 votes; and there was two invalid votes.
Mustapha K Darboe a reporter from Kerr Fatou network elected Vice President against 3 opponents. Mr. Darboe earlier withdrew from the race of the Presidency few days before the congress and openly decided to throw weight on Sheriff Bojang Jnr and also vie for the Vice Presidency.
Mariatou Ngum former editor of the Daily Observer emerged as the treasurer after contesting against Musa Sanneh a freelance Journalist.
As the Constitutional requirement that at least one third of the Executive should be female, Sarjo Camara of Foroyaa Newspaper and former reporter of the Daily Observer Fatou Sowe emerged as the winners of the Female representatives as ordinary executive members. Kebba Jeffang Reporter from Foroyaa Newspaper, Mustapha Mbye GRTS TV reporter, PA Modou Faal former senior reporter of the Daily Observer all elected ordinary executive members against four opponents.
Emil Touray the outgoing President in his handing over statement expressed delight in media practitioners exercising their constitutional right. He further advised the newly executive to continue fighting for the welfare of media practitioners.
In his inaugural statement Mr Sheriff Bojang Junior thanked the outgoing executive for building a strong footing for the GPU.
“I will continue to fight for the welfare of Journalists from where the outgoing executive stops,” he promised.
He said among his priorities are, fighting for the welfare of Journalists such as increase of working standards and gains. Another thing he said is to strengthen the curriculum of the GPU School in ensuring that it meets the required standards, so that Journalists whose capacities are built through the school will be well equipped for the job.
This event started on Friday 7 September when media practitioners converged at the Baha’i Center in Bakau, to look into the activity reports presented by the then executive. The new GPU Constitution was also amended and adopted by the congress on the same day.
Some of the major amendments of the new constitution was that the Secretary General should be an appointed instead of an elective position; that voting by proxy is allowed; that people who cannot attend the congress can vote through identified means. In addition the payment of membership dues are increased to D50 monthly. The constitution has also emphasised that the GPU executive should support the affiliates in strengthening their capacities and in the implementation of their activities.
On Saturday 8 September prior to the election, the then Treasurer Lamin Jahateh presented the Financial report of the GPU from the year 2015 to June 2018. After the presentation concerns were raised by members which was later clarified and adopted.