An association of young journalists in The Gambia had unanimously elected, Lamin Jahateh, editor and publisher of Gambia News Online, an online blog, as their secretary general.
It was the second biennial congress of the Young Journalists of The Gambia (YJAG) which also marks the 4th year anniversary of the association and held at the Kanifing Municipal Council Multi-purpose Centre along Jimpex Road in Kanifing, on Saturday. During the congress, members of the association elected new executive members to steer the affairs of the association for the next two years.
The theme for this year’s anniversary was ‘the role of journalists in elections’, because the presidential election of The Gambia, slated for November 24th this year, is fast approaching.
The publisher of the online blog, which is dedicated to providing up-to-date happenings with particular emphasis on business news, features and analysis, was elected unopposed for the position of secretary general as members of the association are aware of his dedication and commitment to the development of the association.
Mr Jahateh, also the deputy news editor of MarketPlace Magazine, was elected alongside seven other members to replace the Assan Sallah led executive who were at the helm of affairs of the association for the past two years.
The congress, which brought together members of the association, was graced by media chiefs in the country, president of the Gambia Press Union as well the Hon Minister of Interior, Ousman Sonko.
The election, presided over by the president of Gambia Press Union, Emil Touray and Pa Modou Faal of Daily Observer, goes as follows.
Modou S. Joof was nominated by the Mamadou Edrissa Njie as the new president and seconded by Lamin Jahateh. Mr Joof was unopposed, therefore the election officials declared him president. Bekai Njie was nominated as candidate for the position of 1st vice president by Fatou Jallow and seconded by Nfamara Jawneh former president of the association. Bekai was also unopposed. Mariam Saine was proposed by Haddija Jawara for the position of 2nd Vice president and seconded by Fatoumata Tambedou. Ms Saine was also unopposed. Lamin Jahateh was unopposed as the secretary general after his nomination was proposed by Assan Sallah and seconded by Sulayman Ceesay.
The congress was heated as the election officials opened nomination for the position of assistant secretary general. Momodou S. Jallow and Bekai Njie proposed and seconded respectively the nomination of Yaya Baldeh for the position. Amadou Wuyeh Manga was also nominated and seconded by Aminata Sanneh and Lamin Jahateh respectively.
When nomination for the position was closed, the election officials, after consultation with the outgoing treasurer, announced that Yaya Baldeh is not qualified to stand for any executive position as he has not been paying his monthly contribution for the past two years. The constitution of YJAG states that any member who owes a single dalasi (Gambian currency) to the association shall not vote or be voted for.
However, Baldeh made an earnest plea that the congress should give him chance to contest. He said he is very capable for the position of assistant secretary general since he has vast knowledge of youth association matters. He explained that he is in many youth organizations most of which he holds an executive position. He said members of the association should not look into his size rather they should consider his capabilities saying he have the capability of linking the association to some international organizations. At this stage, many members of the association were heard murmuring how can Mr Baldeh do all these he said when he is not a committed member because he has not been paying his monthly dues which is one of the ways the association derives fund for its activities.
However, after his plea, Nfamara Jawneh, founding president of the association told the election officials to give him and the immediate past president, Assan Sallah, five minutes to have side discussions with the two potential candidates. His request was granted and they have a five minute discussions outside the congress hall. After the discussion, Yaya announced that he is willing to step down voluntarily “in the interest of peace”. The election officials, therefore, declared Amadou Manga , assistant secretary general of YJAG.
Omar Wally was unopposed for the position of Auditor after he was nominated by Sulayman Ceesay and seconded by Momodou S Jallow.
Sulayman Ceesay was declared Treasurer of the association after two of his contestant all declined the position. Haddija Jawara, nominated by Aminata Sanneh and seconded by Lamin Jahateh, and Nyima Jadama, nominated by Mariam Saine and seconded by Fatou Jallow, all declined.
The position of Public Relations Officer was contested by Fatou Jallow and Amat Jeng. Fatou Jallow was nominated by Assan Sallah and seconded by Nyima Jadama; Amat Jeng was nominated by Momodou S Jallow and Seconded by Aminata Sanneh. After the election, Fatou Jallow has 12 votes and Amat Jeng 8 votes. Four of the 24 qualified voters didn’t vote. Fatou Jallow won.
|Group picture at the congress|
Members of the new executive are: president, Modou S Joof, news editor of The Voice Newspaper; Bekai Njie, senior reporter of the pro-government newspaper, Daily Observer; Mariam Saine, senior reporter of Today Newspaper; secretary general, Lamin Jahateh; assistant secretary general, Amadou Wuyeh Manga, head of news desk as well as sports producer at Unique FM; public relations officer, Fatou Jallow also of the Daily Observer; treasurer, Sulayman Ceesay, senior report of The Voice Newspaper; auditor, Omar Wally also of the pro government newspaper.
Members of the former executive were: president, Assan Sallah news editor of Daily Observer; 1st vice president, Aminata Sanneh; 2nd vice president, Mamadou Edrissa Njie, newsroom coordinator at News & Report Magazine; public relations officer, Demba Kandeh of Today Newspaper; secretary general, Abdurahman Sallah of The Point Newspaper; assistant secretary, Modou S. Joof who is now elected as president; treasurer, Haddija Jawara of the MaketPlace Magazine; auditor, Mama Faal; co-opted member, Lamin Jahateh who is now elected as secretary general; another co-opted member, Musa Ndow of the Daily Observer.