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GPU Congress

Mar 25, 2008, 5:14 AM

The eclipse is over and the sun shines again: this is how we see the 5th triennial congress of the Gambia Press Union (GPU) that took place at the President's Award Scheme Hall last Saturday. Mr Madi Ceesay did the right thing by standing down as president of the GPU. His decision not to seek re-election shows that he may not have anything to hide after all.

We therefore welcome with open arms the election of Ms Ndey Tapha Sosseh as president of the GPU. Her election is in line with the current direction in world politics - female presidents. She is the first lady ever to steer the affairs of the GPU, just as she is on record as the first female editor-in-chief of a Gambian newspaper - the Daily Observer. We hope that she will guide the GPU with even greater zest.

Ms Sosseh's immediate challenge is to heal the wounds caused by the acrimony that marked the last days of Mr Ceesay's presidency. She has to come across as the rallying point of unity, cohesion and solidarity in the struggle for greater press freedom and freedom of expression in the Gambia. She knows as well as anyone else that journalists operate in many and varied difficult circumstances in the Gambia. She will have to bear in mind that in the struggle for a better media environment, dialogue and consultation will have to take precedence over confrontation and irrationality.

Specifically, we would like to see more advocacy work done on the disappearance of Chief Ebrima Manneh and the stalled investigation into the murder of Deyda Hydara.

Because we believe that lack of effective communication was the undoing of the Madi Ceesay presidency, the present executive council would be wise to set up a quarterly newsletter to explain its actions to the GPU, in addition to the statutory monthly meetings.

We wish Ms Sosseh and her council the best of luck.


"Common sense is the best distributed thing in the world, for we all think we possess a good share of it".

Rene Descartes