EAJA General Meeting closes with regional action pledge
Posted by African Press International on June 1, 2013
- By Dickens Wasonga.
The three yearly General Meeting and Strategy Conference of the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) closed on Monday, 27 May 2013, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the Regional Association committing itself to further escalate its campaigning activities in press freedom and trade union rights.
The General Meeting is the EAJA’s supreme decision-making body, and during the meeting the 21 delegates from 10 unions and associations from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda have mandated EAJA to carry out a strategic plan during the next five years. This commits EAJA to strategically promote and defend media freedom and trade union rights.
Delegates from affiliated unions and associations were able to vote to progressive constitutional amendments to enhance EAJA’s governance. The Meeting elected an Executive Committee and Internal Audit Committee.
Dr Muheldin Ahmed Idris from Sudan Journalists Union was elected as President; Alexandre Niyungeko from Union of Burundian Journalists (UBJ) was elected as First Vice President, Anteneh Abraham Babanto from Ethiopia National Journalists Union (ENJU) was elected as Vice President, Omar Faruk Osman from the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) was elected as Secretary-General, Jane Uwimana of Rwanda Journalists Association (RJA) was elected as new Treasurer while Maureen Mudi from Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) and Kenedid Ibrahim Hussein from Association of Djibouti Journalists (ADJ) were elected as Executive Committee members.
The General Meeting for the first time elected a five-member Regional Gender Committee (RGC) to foster gender equality in EAJA, affiliated organizations and the media in the region.
The delegates unanimously approved the organisation’s last three years’ activities report. The meeting set the agenda for the next three years and passed resolutions on state of press freedom and trade union rights in the region particularly in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Burundi, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. It also approved financial report presented by the outgoing Treasurer of EAJA Gaspard Safari.
In his closing address the re-elected EAJA Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman thanked the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) for its help in organizing the huge General Meeting and Strategy Conference, and said: “This has been the biggest, most effective and representative General Meeting in EAJA history. The ten organizations represented here want EAJA to be an even more action-oriented organization”.
“In this General Meeting we have taken decisions on championing media freedom, on building strong organisations and on fighting for trade union rights that will strengthen journalists and other media workers everywhere in the region”.
The president of EAJA Dr Mudeldin Ahmed Idris thanked delegates for the renewed confidence and support, and said, “we must now intensify our efforts to build strong organisations both at regional and national levels. At the end of this period, we must be able to report back to the next General Meeting about what we have done, not on why we didn’t do it. EAJA must invest a lot more into that struggle and members must play necessary role”.
Jane Uwimana, Secretary General of Rwanda Journalists Association (RJA), becomes first woman Treasurer. She vowed to build strong financial base and appealed to members to pay their dues and other financial contributions timely.
The General Meeting unanimously voted for the re-admission of Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) and approved admission of Uganda media Union (UMU) into membership, raising the number of member organizations of EAJA to eleven.
The Vice President of the IFJ Gustavo Grenaro and Africa Director of the IFJ Gabriel Baglo attended the General Meeting and extended solidarity to EAJA and its member organizations, while renewing IFJ’s support to EAJA and affiliated organizations.
Representatives from International Trade Union Confederation – Africa regional organisation (ITUC Africa), Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) and Union of Syndicates of Central Africa Press (USYPAC) attended the meeting to extend fraternal greetings and Solidarity to EAJA and member organisations.