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New GNOC election date set

Jan 6, 2011, 1:33 PM | Article By: Lamin Drammeh

The National Assembly Select Committee on Youth and Sports has concluded its investigations into the leadership crisis that has succeeded in tearing the Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) apart.

After the intensive three-week investigation, a new date of February 12 has been set for the the pending GNOC presidential election.

The GNOC election, readers would recall, was cancelled by a representative of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Sutay Jawo, in controversial circumstances on 20 October owing to constitutional crisis that blotted the GNOC voting rights.

Since then several efforts have been made to resolve the impasse leading to the involvement of the apex lawmaking body in the country, the National Assembly, and a meeting was convened by the Assembly’s Select Committee on Youth and Sports in that regard.

The ‘family’ meeting, meant to resolve the persistent GNOC impasse, accorded the parliamentarians, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the National Sports Council and the GNOC executive bureau the opportunity to discuss their individual and institutional differences with a view to reaching common grounds in resolving the impasse.

The wide range of issues discussed at the last Assembly meeting centred on the rights and eligibility of both voters including individuals, associations, the GNOC, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Sports Council.

The meeting discussed the confusion surrounding the inconsistencies of some clauses and the provisions in the GNOC constitution, the sports council act, and the international Olympic Charter.

After hearing from all those in attendance and exhausting the day’s agenda, the Assembly’s investigative panel adjourned the meeting till Tuesday, 14 December 2010, to enable members to digest the issues on the table and to compare and contrast the three laws that were mentioned so as to come up with a comprehensive conclusion on the whole impasse.

The meeting, held at the Assembly chambers in Banjul yesterday, accorded the committee’s chairman Hon. Alhajie Sillah a unique opportunity to inform the gathering that the National Assembly Select Committee on Youth and Sports acting under the provisions of section 109 subsection 2b and (3) of The 1997 constitution of The Republic of The Gambia, has resolved to oversee the GNOC presidential stalemate with a view to supervising the organisation and conducting a free, fair and transparent election that will meet and conform to international standard and obligation.

During the deliberations, both the Ag Executive Secretary of the National Sports Council and the GNOC officials stated that it was those associations that were affiliated to respective international federations relevant to their areas that were eligible to vote as well as individuals who held appointments in a recognised sporting federation.

The Committee presented the list of voters that was provided to them by the sports council and the GNOC executive bureau officials.

However, there were objections raised on the eligibility of the voting rights of three associations and individuals. This provoked a heated debate between the GNOC bureau (who are in two factions) and the Ag Executive Secretary of the National Sports Council, Abdul Aziz Titao Mendy.

After thoroughly investigating the confusion surrounding the whole GNOC state of affairs, including the associations and individual voters in question, the National Assembly Select Committee on Youth and Sports confirmed that some of those associations and individuals “are not qualified to vote”.

It was confirmed that Judo holds an international affiliation to the International Judo Federation after fully completing its process.  This was the basis of the argument which therefore says Judo has met the requirements to vote.

It was also confirmed by the deputies that Fencing had not affiliated or completed their affiliation process to their international federation, thus they were not qualified to vote.

The issue of Deaf Sports that caused a huge debate at last month’s Assembly seating was cleared when the Committee confirmed that Deaf Sports’ process of international affiliation to their international federation had been completed, which was also the basis of argument that says Deaf Sports has met the requirements to vote.

The right for Dodou Capi Joof, treasurer of the African Athletic Association, to vote was also tensely debated but it was confirmed at the Assembly that Capi Joof as a treasurer of African Athletic Association, which is a single sporting game, is affiliated to its relevant international. His appointment was tendered and certified, which qualifies him to vote.

Seedy Kinteh, president of the Gambia Football Association, is also qualified to vote as he holds an appointment as a member of CAF, which is a single Olympics Sporting game, but it was a different case with that of Abdoulie Touray, the incumbent GNOC presidential candidate, and Ousman Wadda.

The Assembly’s committee confirmed that Ousman Wadda of the Islamic Solidarity Games, which is a multi-sports Games, and the Independent from the IOC, is not qualified to vote as an individual while Abdoulie Touray, vice-president of Africa Commonwealth Games Federation, which is recognised by the IOC as a partner and not an Olympic Sports, does not have the right to vote.

With this latest and positive development, one could be optimistic of a free, fair and transparent GNOC presidential election come 12 February.

The following are the eligible associations and individuals qualified to vote: Athletics, Volleyball, Basketball, Weightlifting, Cycling, Taekwondo, Lawn Tennis, Football, Golf, Rugby, Boxing, Wrestling, Handball, Table tennis, Paralympics, Cricket, Draught, Karate, Chess, Softball, Special Olympics, Judo, Primary School Sports, Secondary School Sports, Combined Services Sports Association.

The individual voters are Beatrice Allen, Seedy Kinteh, Abdou Shyllon, Adama Njie, Dodou Capi Joof and Suwaebou Sanneh.