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GNOC explains election saga

Aug 6, 2013, 9:42 AM | Article By: Lamin Cham

The Gambia National Olympic Committee, GNOC, has responded to a statement condemning its weekend elections by the Ministry of Sports, which called the elections unacceptable and not binding, because the bureau allegedly did not adhere to the 30 days notice rule as stipulated in their constitution.

The Sports Ministry further expressed disappointment that despite adequate advise, the GNOC ignored its directive to observe their own rules and went ahead to conduct elections.

However, the GNOC statement from Olympic House yesterday described the Ministry’s statement as a gross misunderstanding of the GNOC Constitution.

It further argued that the election process has started since February 11, when the first notice was given scheduling the elections for March 23 only for the opposing party to lodge an injunction that stopped the process.

The GNOC said once the injunction was lifted on June 25 , it means that the election process should continue and, in fact,another 30 days notice was given foran Extra Ordinary AGM held onJuly 27 where delegates agreed on August 3 as the election date.

Below is the full statement from Olympic House signed by President Momodou Dibba:

‘‘The Gambia National Olympic Committee hereby refers to the article of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, as published in the Daily Newspapers of 5th August 2013.The GNOC hereby clarify as follows:

1.With all due respect to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, this article shows gross misunderstanding about the GNOC Constitution with regard to the electoral process.The allegations therein are inaccurate and do not reflect the events as they unfolded.

2.The GNOC was not obliged by any article in the Constitution to hold the Extra-Ordinary Session of 27th July 2013; it was only out of goodwill that it was held in order to bring on board the National Sports Associations and to make a final decision for the elections to be held.

3.The IOC letter of 14th June 2013 stipulated that “the GNOCcannot accept as voting members any federation/association which is not duly affiliated to its international federation”; and, “anyone who would refuse to attend the Extraordinary General Assembly would automatically disqualify him/her and would have no legitimacy to claim anything after’; and “everyone will have to accept the sovereign and final decisions (whatever they are) made by the Extraordinary General Assembly, of the GNOC in accordance with the GNOC Constitution and the Olympic Charter and the IOC instructions”.

In light of the above stipulations, the GNOC would like to state that the electoral process started on the 11th February 2013 to observe the 30 days notice, with the following acts undertaken:

i.Election date established for the 23rd March, as sanctioned by the GNOC Board

ii.11th February - Call for nominations.All National Sports Associations received a letter from the GNOC calling for nominations.

iii.11th March – All nominations received, and opened.

iv.21st March – A Court Injunction dated 21st March 2013, restraining the GNOC Officials with an Interim Injunction from conducting elections into the Executive Bureau of the GNOC on March 23rd 2013 or any other date pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

The above highlights show that the election process came to a halt on 21st March, and once the Injunction was lifted on 25th June 2013, the GNOC was allowed to conduct the elections. In fact, another 30 days Notice was given for the Extraordinary General Assembly, which took place on 27th July 2013.

The GNOC would like to inform the general public that it has not infringed the provisions of the Constitution, but acted in accordance with its stipulations, and established procedures.GNOC Officials operate and function under the directives of the General Assembly, which is the highest decision making body of the GNOC.

The Extraordinary General Assembly of 27th July decided on holding the elections on 3rd August, and the GNOC Officials had no mandate to take a contrary decision.Finally, out of 24 National Sports Associations eligible to vote, 17 Associations unanimously voted in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility’’.

OLYMPIC HOUSE, 5th August 2013.