GPUBy Journalist Bakary Ceesay

Gambia Press Union (GPU) is sinking and needs urgent attention to remedy the mess to avoid such recurrence in the coming executive.

The current executive came to office in June 2011 and their term of office expired in June 2014 but still they did not call for any congress.

During their three-year tenure of office, the executive could not even hold more than two successful general meetings. The Union holds very few executive meetings. Imagine a Union that could not hold executive meeting or general meetings.

The treasurer, Khadija Jawara and Madi Njie assistant Secretary General, have all resigned from their positions since 2011 and the executive failed to call for a mini congress or replace these vacant positions, in accordance with the GPU constitution. They decided to leave the positions vacant for reasons best known to them.

Since there is no treasurer to handle the financial matters of the union, the union is not then sending the right democratic signal that it has been accountable and transparent to the general membership. The general membership does not know the situation of the GPU accounts as the Constitution provides for holding of an Annual General Meeting (AGM) and present quarterly reports on financial and other activities to the general members, which they utterly violated.

The Secretary General of the Union, Gibairu Janneh, is also appointed as the Executive Director of the Union and Manager of the GPU printing press project without any explanations to the general membership as to the constitutionality of holding many positions at a time.

I am reminding the current executive that a person in an elective position as Secretary General cannot be an Executive Director of the Union because it will provoke conflict of interest.

The position of an Executive Director should have been advertised for competent people to apply, but not just handpick a secretary general to occupy.

Where is the GPU newsprint?

We have to be transparently told how it has been managed because the GPU executive member in charge of the newsprint project is said to have no records of the said project which is bad for our financial reputation. This shows the lack of accountability within the Union we place all our trust and hope on to safeguard the welfare of journalists.

The printing press, funded by a donor, is also being managed haphazardly and now under the control of the publisher of The Standard, despite the fact that several meetings have been held for its proper management.

The decision of handing over the machine to The Standard boss was a unilateral decision. The Voice newspaper has been denied to print at the GPU printing press because of arrears of D1,000 while other papers like The Standard which is in control would not disclose how much they owe. How can the Union hand over the machine to a paper only to take advantage of that to bar others from printing on trivial grounds. No information is provided to the members about the revenue generated from the machine.

The President of the Union is seen distributing laptop computers to journalists randomly as he wanted instead of doing it through a presentation for transparency. Can’t this be regarded as inducement for the coming congress amid all these problems mentioned above or is it his personal benevolence when the gifts belong to the GPU-GAMES project? I don’t know where we are heading to! I deem it fit to write about our own problems now so as to put our house in order.

As a journalist I believe we have to go beyond criticizing others and ignore our own problems.

Would that make us different from the status quo we criticize to make better? It won’t. We should no longer be looking at who does the wrong but to understand that a wrong is a wrong and it should be corrected if we are to progress. The age of fooling people continually is past.

We are in the digital era. I am calling on the executive to be brave now and call a general meeting where CONGRESS is going to be the main agenda so that we do our final accountability and elect those we want give the power to run our affairs.

It is indeed a shame that media that should be the watchdog of the nation is practicing bad governance at their executive level which amounts to dirty politics.

The media has conscious people who would not allow any person or group of persons to treat them with fools for three years and continue to do so.

Ends

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