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Contestants challenge reopening of GJA election nominations

BY: Daily Graphic
Lloyd Evans — A presidential aspirant,  Mr Edmund Kofi — A general secretary aspirant
Lloyd Evans — A presidential aspirant, Mr Edmund Kofi — A general secretary aspirant

Two aspirants for the upcoming national executive election of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) have raised further issues with the manner the Election Committee was handling affairs.

Mr Edmund Kofi Yeboah, a general secretary aspirant, and Mr Lloyd Evans, a presidential aspirant, in separate letters to the Election Committee challenged the decision to reopen nominations after the Elections Dispute Adjudication Committee (EDAC) pronounced that the process should continue.

Following the disqualification of some candidates, including Mr Evans and Mr Mathew Mac Kwame, a vicepresidential aspirant, they petitioned the EDAC and because of the short period to hear the petitions, the election was postponed indefinitely from the March 31, 2017 date at the request of the EDAC.

After hearing the petitions, the EDAC recommended that candidates who were disqualified from contesting the election on the basis other than not being members or whose membership was below three years, should be given the opportunity to contest the election.

Mr Evans and Mr Mac Kwame were consequently given the opportunity to contest.

Reopening of nominations

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The Election Committee on Monday, May 15, 2017 issued a statement announcing that it was reopening nominations for prospective candidates, although all aspirants had been vetted. It said the nominations would be opened for two weeks from Monday, May 22 and close on Monday, June 5, 2017 as part of a new road map.

Unconstitutional

Messrs Yeboah and Evans said the new measures were “unconstitutional” since the EDAC, whose pronouncement was final according to the GJA Constitution, did not say the process should start afresh but should continue.

Mr Yeboah, in his letter, argued that: “The decision by the EC to reopen

nominations, requiring me to go through the processes of nomination and vetting, which processes I have already submitted myself to and been duly cleared, is a travesty of justice and unfair to me. Indeed, it will cause me colossal losses in monetary and committal terms as indicated earlier.”

“The decision by the EC to reopen nominations will also allow new aspirants, who were given ample opportunity to contest when nominations were opened in February but did not avail themselves of such opportunity, to now file nominations to contest with others who have already made enormous commitments to the process. Such tendency, in my humble view, renders the electoral process unfair and also rewards indolence and

apathy, while punishing vigilance and commitment,” he added.

“To the best of my understanding, postponement means to put something on hold until a later time or date; postponement does not mean annulment whereby everything is scrapped. So calling for fresh nominations, after postponing the elections to allow for the outcome of an electoral process laid down in the GJA Constitution, seems quite outlandish,” he wrote.

Way forward

Mr Evans, for his part wrote: “I wish to state that this is unconstitutional and has no legal basis whatsoever. With due respect, the Elections Committee must not sit in their comfort zone and misinterpret both the GJA Constitution and the Report of the EDAC. That report dated May 15, 2017 from the Elections Committee must be withdrawn without further delay.”

He added, “The way forward is for the Elections Committee to write to all the disqualified aspirants and inform them of the outcome of the EDAC report and meet with them in order to come up with a timetable for the election and clear other outstanding issues in the EDAC Report.”