Gambian Journalists elect new Press Union executive

Monday, September 10, 2018

Gambian journalists have elected a new executive into The Gambia Press Union (GPU) during the union’s triennial congress on Saturday at the Bahai Conference Centre around the Independence Stadium in Bakau. The positions contested and elected for were president, vice president and treasurer.

The election marked a milestone for the Union to enforce its mandates and credibility in the country.

Sheriffo Bojang Jnr was elected president, Mustapha K Darboe as vice president and Mariatou Ngum as treasurer. Other Members were Kebba Jeffang Jnr, Mustapha Mbye, Sarjo Camara, Fatou Sowe and Pa Modou Faal. The new GPU constitution which was adopted on the eve of the election now dictates that the position of Secretary General, which used to be equally elected would now be appointed by the executive.

Mr. Bojang expressed sincere gratitude to GPU members for their relentless efforts and the fair and peaceful manner in which the election was conducted. “This shows that the members have trust in my credibility to run the office.”

He said it was because of the trust and faith that the Union members have in him that was why they voted him into office, promising that he will ensure meeting all their plights as Gambian journalists.

According to Mr. Bojang, many things are lacking in the country’s media industry including strong capacity of young journalists and irregular employment. “My team and I are strictly going to look at those gaps that the outgoing administration did not cement to the highest expectations of the members,” he said.

He said welfare of journalists is a priority to him and his team and they are going to revisit all those mechanisms that are troubling journalists in the country; to come with training programs that can build the capacity of young journalists and prepare them for the job market.

Mr. Bojang emphasized on the pay rate of most of the Gambian journalists, saying to resolve that, they must engage on activism and unionism to negotiate with the media houses.

As part of his goals, he said press freedom is the number one priority from the time when some victims were killed, tortured and disappeared. “The outgoing administration should be commended for bringing Gambia Press Union to this stage. I have being a member of the Union for the past 20 years and I know what exists there and how it was up to today,” he said.

 He said among his goals is to preside over a Union that would be transparent to the entire journalists and the people, saying his short term goal is to bring back the credibility that the GPU lacked. “The union lacked the credibility because there was gap between the executive and the members.”

He said he also target to convince every member of the GPU that the Union is run by them and to give members what is convenient to them and their purpose of being there is for the best interest of the members of the Union.

Author: Fatou Dem