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Jan. 2011, Mustapha Sesay on the Podium: SLAJ, a Compromised IMC, Kelvin Lewis & Umaru Fofana
By Mustapha Sesay (January 2011) - 20 months ago!
Oct 22, 2012, 12:15
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Mustapha Sesay had Exposed Awoko Newspaper's Big Idiot Kelvin Lewis:
The More Things Change, the more they remain the Same:
SLAJ, a Compromised IMC, Kelvin Lewis & Umaru Fofana

Revealing Extracts culled from the January 2011 Article by Mustapha Sesay, erstwhile National Secretary General speak for themselves...

We have highlighted many points which eerily re-echo the current morass. READ ON...

 

Mustapha Sesay: had predicted current mess!
Mustapha Sesay (January 28th 2011): Though like me, Mr. Umaru Fofana received an overwhelming majority in that election, many of our colleagues and concerned members of the public, especially those who were already aware of his obsession with power and his inability to work amicably with other team members, were worried about the future of the association. Ladies and gentlemen, I dont intend to denigrate the character of our President; I only want to present a brief background for you to know where we are coming from.


Our president, Mr Fofana, if you can recall, that is, those of you who were aware, had long distanced himself from SLAJ and its activities for about eight years following his impeachment as National Secretary General during the 2001 Annual General Meeting in Bo during the leadership of Ibrahim El-Tayib Bah, for negligence and gross insubordination.


So in effect, from that period unto 2008 when he was elected President, Fofana never attended any SLAJ meeting nor did he participate in any SLAJ activity, or programme. In fact, he spent most of that time outside the country including Dakar, Senegal.

 

As such, the man who is today our president and who wants to continue misdirecting the affairs of SLAJ was completely dark in terms of manning the affairs of SLAJ and initiating development programmes within the Association.

 

The main source of solace for SLAJ members and other concerned members of the public was my presence within the executive ranks of the association which I had consistently and steadfastly served for over a decade as active member and two years as Assistant Secretary General.

 

On June 10, 2010 I was compelled to shut down the doors to the Secretariat in protest against injustice, dictatorship, mismanagement and other administrative vices as perpetrated by him within the executive rank of the association.  That was the severest action that I have ever taken against repression in SLAJ, in an effort to prevent it from returning to its awful legacy of being a portfolio association for almost three decades.

 

Thus, a motion proposed to have me suspended for the same act after the setting up of a three-man Committee led by Kelvin Lewis, Managing Editor of Awoko Newspaper, to deal with the matter and proffer recommendations, was defeated by 54 votes to 4.

 

Kelvin Lewis: Has gone Mad with arrogance!

 

But sadly, the Kelvin Lewis Committee has proven to be incompetent; hence it has failed woefully. What the Kelvin Lewis Committee succeeded in doing instead was to keep everyone in limbo after seven months of investigation of a matter which outcome would have once and for all resolved the deadlock in the executive.

 

A case in point to justify this assertion was my illegal suspension by the President in connivance with a handful of our colleagues and members of the public through a dead and resurrected motion. That was three months into the investigation - August 3, 2010 - under AOB of what they considered to be an Extraordinary General Meeting.

 my illegal suspension by the President in connivance with a handful of our colleagues through a dead and resurrected motion under AOB of what they considered to be an Extraordinary General Meeting.

 

I therefore wish to personally register a vote of no confidence in the Kelvin Lewis committee, especially when they have blatantly failed to admit their inadequacy and apologise, thereby contributing to the deepening of the crisis further. In the midst of this crisis, let me use this opportunity to launch an appeal that this failed Kelvin Lewis Committee be disbanded instant because I believe, like anyone of you here, that any report that emerges from them now would lack credibility; be it in my favour or not.

 

Personally, I will recommend that Kelvin Lewis and his colleagues face some disciplinary actions from SLAJ for not only betraying the cause of the association but also creating more breathing space for other ill-motivated members who have been using all their resources and might to divide SLAJ into hostile factions, to acquire new positions of strength in their diabolic plans.

 

And considering the threat the stalemate poses to the very survival of our association and the common force that unite us coupled by the eagerness among colleagues and the public to know what really went wrong, I have been compelled to go public with the reasons behind the current crisis.

 

But before that, let me reaffirm that I am going about this not with any deliberate intent to expose SLAJ to scorn or ridicule, but I am doing so in a bid to clear misconceptions and help combat what is now clearly a sustained campaign of calumny against some of us who have been part of the process of institutionalising SLAJ.

 

This campaign has been masterminded by the outgoing dictator-President Umaru Fofana backed by certain ill-motivated and power-thirsty individuals who could best be described as bootlickers among a few elders of our association who are supposed to be helping us preserve the good legacies of the past and guide us on the right path.

 

The involvement of other actors who are also key players in the association including those currently lobbying to be nominated Commissioners at the Independent Media Commission (IMC) will soon be made public if they fail to give a second thought to their stance against the interest of SLAJ.

 

"Campaign has been masterminded by Umaru Fofana backed by involvement of other actors including those currently lobbying to be nominated Commissioners at the Independent Media Commission (IMC)"

First and foremost, the President, Mr. Umaru Fofana who professes to be a liberal democrat, has been running a repressive regime, breaching the SLAJ Constitution and Conventions with impunity; the reason why we are holding our 2010 Biennial Conference and Elections in 2011 despite the fact that these events were fixed at the last AGM for November and December 2010 respectively.


And even as I address you, no one is sure about the specific date(s) and venue while scores of new members are being illegally registered, a process which should have legally ended in August (three months to the Biennial Conference in November 2010) as prescribed in Article 12.8 of our Constitution, which states: Registration of new members to SLAJ shall cease at least 90 days to the start of the Biennial Conference. 

 

Other illegal actions such as breaching the procedure for convening and conducting Extraordinary General Meetings, nominating and recalling members from public institutions, allowing non-journalists or media personnel to attend SLAJ General Meetings and vote, and my illegal suspension in August, are all testimonies to this fact.

 

" I therefore wish to personally register a vote of no confidence in the Kelvin Lewis committee, especially when they have blatantly failed to admit their inadequacy "

 

Also, the President has been demonstrating absolute disregard for and undermining my authority as Administrative head of the Secretariat since February last year, thereby degrading my image situation which is clearly against the SLAJ Constitution, Conventions and Tradition.


By what could best be described as the Umaru Fofana SLAJ Organogram, the National Secretary General is equal in status to all other executive members below the rank of Vice President. Therefore the Secretary has no right to delegate responsibilities to other executive members, a right which is reserved exclusively for the President.

 

Under the Fofana philosophy, any SLAJ executive member can convene a General Meeting or issue out a press release without the knowledge of the elected Secretary General and in one or two instance(s) bearing the name of the Secretary General.

 

Under Fofana regime, the Secretary General has limited access to all other official communications to SLAJ not personally addressed to him or his office besides email, a right which is also reserved exclusively for the  President whether he is within the shores of Sierra Leone or not.

 

Under the Fofana maladministration, the Secretary General, though head of the Secretariat, is completely in the dark and therefore has no say in official procurement for the SLAJ Headquarters.  Inventories are prepared by the Financial Secretary (who triples as caterer and procurement officer) and approved and funded by the President without any consensus from or by the executive.

 

Under the Fofana regime, the National Financial Secretary and Assistant Secretary General, with the backing of the President are free to perform administrative functions for SLAJ including external communications without any regard for the Secretary General.

Under "the Fofana philosophy", any SLAJ executive member can convene a General Meeting or issue out a press release without the knowledge of the elected Secretary General and in one or two instance(s) bearing the name of the Secretary General


Under the Fofana regime, the Secretary General, though one of the B signatories to the only SLAJ account at Standard Chartered Bank, never signs a cheque for withdrawals of funds, nor is he informed when monies are deposited and the purpose as constitutionally required. 

 

Under the Umaru Fofana regime, there had been absolute lack of transparency and accountability in financial management, which is clearly against my pre-election campaign promise in 2008 and the principles and spirit of SLAJ. Financial reports are prepared at will with no regard for standards and the constitution.

 

That is why the Financial Report for December 2008-November 2009 was rejected at the 2009 AGM in Makeni. And even as I deliver this statement a review of this overdue report is yet to be presented to the executive for approval, not to talk about the internal auditors.

 

Also, the income and expenditure report of the 2009 Annual General Meeting (AGM) was only prepared in November 2010, that was precisely one year after the event and ten months after the completion of the narrative report by me.

 

The December 2009 to November 2010 financial report is yet to be prepared.

 

Under the Fofana regime, the Secretary General even as one of the three signatories to the only SLAJ account has no access to financial records of SLAJ including those relating to membership dues/subscriptions. That is why I seriously challenged an executive order to open a second bank account for SLAJ early last year.

" it is also disheartening to note that the egocentric, dictatorial and vindictive nature of Umaru Fofana and his absolute disregard for public management and administrative protocols were also among the irritating forces that fuelled the crisis "

 

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, it is also disheartening to note that the egocentric, dictatorial and vindictive nature of Umaru Fofana and his absolute disregard for public management and administrative protocols were also among the irritating forces that fuelled the crisis. The President unilaterally and unlawfully authorizing abolition of the Unique Membership Identification Number System in the SLAJ national register and on membership IDs without Executive or General Assembly consultation and approval.

 

Finally, the indifference and sometimes double standard of some of my colleague executive members and the failure of a number of other SLAJ members including elders to act on persistent complaints relating to the issues contained herein since late 2009, are also notable factors.

 

Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, unfortunate as these vices are among others not stated here for the expediency of time, what they have actually succeeded in doing is to send out a very strong and clear message that SLAJ is under siege and on the brink of disintegration into hostile factions, a situation which warrants urgent action; brave and swift. Otherwise, the worse should be expected.

 

"the Kelvin Lewis Committee has proven to be incompetent; hence it has failed woefully. What the Kelvin Lewis Committee succeeded in doing instead was to keep everyone in limbo. I will recommend Kelvin Lewis face disciplinary actions from SLAJ"

 

Six of One; Half a Dozen of another. Both are constantly bringing SLAJ to disrepute Kelvin Lewis & Umaru Fofana have both gone crazy with their egoistic state of arrogance

And I am not sure anyone among us is prepared to be part of any repressive system in which distrust, maladministration, dictatorship and blatant abuse and violation of the constitution and rights of members are the order of the day.


It is high time we stood up to stop this madness in order to save our association from the brink of collapse, even if not for us today, but for the sake of history and for the sake of posterity.


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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