July 31, 2017
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has, through a mediation process, amicably resolved the election impasse that recently engulfed the association.
The resolution, which was brokered by Mr. Austin Gamey, a renowned ADR expert, paves way for the suspended national executive elections to be held.
Counsel for the parties in the dispute, this morning informed the Accra High Court which referred the matter for mediation, of the settlement agreement reached.
“We have amicably resolved the matter,” Mr. Sam Wood, Counsel for the plaintiffs told the Judge, Justice Daniel Mensah, amidst excitement.
Mr. Egbert Fabile, Counsel for the defendants, on his part, urged the Court to adopt the decision from the mediation, as a “consent judgment.”
Adopting the decision, Justice Mensah commended the parties for heeding to advice and resolving the matter out of court.
He particularly commended Mr. Gamey for the speedy and effective resolution of the crisis.
After reaching an agreement on Friday, both parties were highly elated and expressed their delight on the expeditious and professional manner in which the process was conducted.
According to GJA President Affail Monney, “the mediation was so simple yet productive,”
“We are happy it came out well,” he told ADR Daily, adding that the roadmap was set and believes mediation was the way to go for all social disputes.
On his part, Mr Ben Assorow, Chairman of GJA Election Committee stated that “GJA is now moving forward” and that they hope to conduct the election in line with the modalities set out by both parties in the terms of condition of settlement.
The resolution, which was reached after less than a four-hour mediation process on Friday, consists of a roadmap towards the holding of the elections in a peaceful atmosphere.
As part of the roadmap, the resolution stipulates the establishment of an Inter-Candidate Election Committee (ICEC) made up of the candidates vetted and passed by the GJA Elections Committee as well as those approved by the Elections Dispute Adjudicating Committee, for the conduct of the election.
Nominations for the election remains closed, and a meeting of the ICEC, to be convened by Mr. Ben Assorow, Chairman of the Elections Committee, is expected to be held at the Press Centre tomorrow to work out the modalities for the elections.
By legal analysis of the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs, the court case could have taken about three years to be resolved.
The resolution agreement was signed by Mr. Affail Monney, GJA President on behalf of the defendants, and Mr. Lloyd Evans, on behalf of the plaintiffs, while the lawyers for the two sides witnessed.
On June 2, 2017, the court restrained the Election Committee of the GJA from re-opening nominations for the association’s national elections, after four aspirants (Lloyd Evans, aspiring President, Kofi Yeboah, a General Secretary aspirant, Francis Kokutse, a Vice-Presidential aspirant and Vance Azu, Organising Secretary aspirant), filed an ex-parte motion challenging the re-opening of nominations.
It was the second time the association’s election process had been engulfed in controversy. The GJA election, which was supposed to be held in March this year, was first halted after Mr Lloyd Evans, and Matthew Mac Kwame, a vice presidential candidate, who were disqualified from contesting, petitioned the GJA Election Dispute Adjudication Committee (EDAC) against the decision.
Justice Mensah, at the last hearing on July 13, recommended an out of court resolution of the matter, with the conviction that that option would be more appropriate for such a case, considering the nature of the association’s profession.
The parties last Wednesday informed the Court of their decision to opt for mediation. They parties also settled on Austin Gamey, Chief Executive of Gamey and Gamey ADR Institute, for the mediation exercise.
By Dodzi Kwagbedzi/adrdaily.com