The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) elections have been bogged down with contentious issues and may end up in court, following the disqualification of Mr Llyod Evans, one of the contenders in the presidential race.
The campaign team of Mr Evans says it is working to resolve all issues and will exhaust all avenues of redress within the association to enable Mr Evans to contest the position. It has, therefore given an assurance that it will get him on the ballot paper for the election slated for March 31, this year.
Mr Evans and Mr Matthew Mac-Kwame who had filed their nominations to contest the positions of President and Vice-President respectively were disqualified for various reasons.
Mr Evans has, however, urged his supporters to remain calm and indicated his intention to follow all due processes to have his name reinstated on the list of members in good standing to make him eligible to contest the upcoming elections.
Subsequently, he has requested for redress in a letter to the Election Committee. The letter reads: “I have heard from the media that I have been disqualified from the upcoming 2017 GJA elections.
“I believe I have been treated unfairly and upon request by me to the Election Committee chair on how to address this issue, I have been asked to refer the matter to you for redress,” he said.
“With the supposed election timeline indicating March 31, 2017, I will be grateful if this matter can be addressed expeditiously to enable me to participate fully in the elections.”
The GJA Election Committee yesterday disqualified Mr Evans, the former President of the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ), on the grounds that although he had paid his dues, he did not “pass the test as a member of the GJA in good standing.”
“Mr Lloyd Evans, who was vying for the position of President, failed to meet the requirement under Article 47 (b) (iii) which states that “All members aspiring for Executive positions at the National and Regional levels must be members in good standing, at least ninety (90) days before the elections.
“Records available to the committee indicate that Mr Evans paid his membership dues covering 2015 on December, 5 2016 and that for 2016 on February 14, 2017. In view of these, Mr Evans is also caught by the 90-day rule and therefore, disqualified” a statement issued by the Chairman of the GJA Elections Committee, Mr Ben Assorow said.
The current leadership of the GJA was elected on March 27, 2013.
Per the GJA Constitution, the GJA should have held the elections last year but failed to do so because of the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The failure of the association to hold the election, in the view of a former President of the association, Mr Ransford Tetteh, had been the convention because the association was neck-deep in activities leading up to the elections.
“The GJA is involved in almost everything about the national elections, from the training of journalists, accreditation and coverage, so the convention is not to hold elections in national election years,” Mr Tetteh, who served two terms as President of the association, explained.
He, however, said when that decision was taken, it was always communicated to the rank and file of members.
According to him, the communication gap might have created the current situation.
He, therefore, urged the national leadership of the association to do everything possible to avoid the controversy.
Many journalists are also questioning why the GJA Election Committee would insist on disqualifying Mr Evans when he has paid his dues and when it only announced the election date on February 6, this year, which is 53 days before the Election Day.
Meanwhile, some members of the association are also wondering why the GJA is insisting that only valid GJA identification cards would be accepted for the elections, when it had failed to provide the said card to all its members.