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13 July 2017

Judge urges out-of-court-settlement in GJA election crisis

An Accra High Court has adjourned the hearing of a motion on whether to strike out the reliefs sought against the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) following delayed elections.

The Accra High Court presided over by Justice Daniel Mensah adjourned the hearing to enable the defendants represented by Egbert Faibille to respond to new claims contained in supplementary affidavits.

The plaintiffs, in this case, are four aspirants in the GJA elections Lloyd Evans, an aspiring President, an aspiring Vice-President Francis Kokutse, General Secretary aspirant Edmund Kofi Yeboah and an aspiring Organising Secretary Vance Azu.

The GJA elections have been in limbo after an Accra High Court restrained the Association’s Election Committee from re-opening nominations.

Accra High Court on Friday restrained the Election Committee of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) from re-opening nominations for the association’s upcoming national elections.

Why the court action?

Following an earlier disqualification of some candidates, including Lloyd Evans and Mathew Mac Kwame, in the upcoming association election, they petitioned the Elections Dispute Adjudication Committee (EDAC) but because of the short period to hear their petitions, the election was postponed indefinitely from March 31, 2017 to date at the request of the EDAC.

After hearing the petitions the EDAC said, “Candidates who were disqualified from contesting the election on the basis other than (i) not being members or (ii) whose membership was below three years should be given the opportunity to contest the elections”.

That meant that Mr Evans and Mr Mac Kwame were to be given the opportunity to contest.

Before the postponement, all aspirants had been vetted, however, on Monday, May 15, 2017, the Election Committee issued a statement and announced that it was re-opening nominations for all prospective candidates.

The plaintiffs contended that the move was “unconstitutional” since the EDAC whose pronouncement, according to the GJA constitution was final, did not say the process should start afresh but said it should continue.

They argued that the manner the Election Committee was handling affairs was problematic and, therefore, decided to challenge the decision to re-open nominations after the EDAC had pronounced that the process should continue.

The plaintiffs explained they went to court after several letters sent to the Election Committee to rescind the decision to re-open nominations had been ignored.

Judge urges amicable settlement

Justice Daniel Mensah appealed to the two counsels Mr Faibille for the GJA and Mr Samuel Seth Wood for the aspirants to consider settling the political dispute out of court.

The Judge stated that after reading all the documents, he believes an amicable resolution is in the interest of both parties.

When the case was called counsel for the Defendants told the court that he only had a copy of the supplementary affidavit through the Registry Thursday and he needed a little time to read and fully respond to it.

The case was therefore adjourned till Wednesday, July 26, 2017.

A group of former GJA presidents including Ambassador Kabral Blay Amihere  Ransford Tetteh Adjoa Yeboah Afari had made efforts to settle this matter long before it went to court.

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