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Concerned SWAL Members Petition PUL …Want Nine-Month Elections Crisis Mitigated

Some members of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) have petitioned the leadership of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) to immediately look into the ongoing rigmarole in the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL).
According to a communication dated September 16, addressed to Mr. Charles Coffey, President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), the, group under the banner ‘Concerned Members of SWAL pleaded with the PUL to attach some degree of urgency to the SWAL’s situation.
In the letter under the signature of Mr. D. Webster Cassell, former Secretary General of SWAL, the group highlighted that for almost nine months now members of the association have been caught up in an un-ended litigation rigmarole which originated from the last general elections organized by the Roland Mulbah led Administration in 2018.
The SWAL’s boss was accused by members from the opposing side headed by Varmah Kamara (a presidential candidate), of bloating the voter roll with ineligible voters, something that resulted to an injunction being placed on the electoral process by Varmah until issues raised by the opposing party can be fully addressed by Mulbah and his leadership.
“It is regrettable however, that within the space of nine months both the complainant and the accused have failed to come to a logical conclusion so as to allow the association move on with its electoral process,” the letter stated.
“Unfortunately, we have been reliably informed that the Mulbah’s leadership has been adamant in acquiring a legal practitioner to counter the claims raised by the complainants. The SWAL boss has reportedly insisted that the association does not have funding to underwrite any legal liability or service charged. This action, we think, has amounted to a complete standstill in the progress of the association as the Mulbah’s leadership has outlived its statutory tenure in office,” the letter further said.
Additionally, the concerned group flagged the issue of a possible interim government, a body they claimed will promote transparency and neutrality in conducting the electoral process of SWAL.
“As Concerned Members of SWAL, we are equally disappointed in the snail-pace of both parties in taking concrete steps aimed at resolving this matter, which undoubtedly, has brought unthinkable embarrassment to this integrity institution,” the group averred.
The group is further quoted in its communication as saying: “We, the Concerned Members of SWAL are seriously frustrated in how the association has been governed since the litigation ensued, and therefore, we pray the indulgence of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) to timely intervene as the association could face another lawsuit over constitutional violation.”
“As we await a timely response, we want to also remind the PUL to take seriously into consideration that it will be extremely unfair, unappreciable and unacceptable for the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) to go to elections whilst one of its auxiliaries remains in a state of confusion,” the group concluded.
Receiving the communication on behalf of the union, Mr. Charles Coffey, President-Press Union of Liberia (PUL), lauded Mr. D. Webster Cassell and other concerned members of SWAL for the step taken aimed at resolving the crisis within the association.
Mr. Coffey welcomed the move and promised the Union’s fullest commitment in ensuring that the case is taken from court and amicably settled amongst members of the association. Mr. Coffey admitted that the PUL cannot go to elections whilst one of its auxiliaries is still in crisis.
“We will do our best in making sure that the case is handled amongst us. The PUL will get involve and play its part you can be assured,” President Coffey further committed.
On December 15, 2018, the Civil Law City at the Temple of Justice ordered a writ of injunction on the elections of the Sports Writers Associations of Liberia (SWAL).
According to the Elections Committee, polls were 57minutes from closing when an opposing party called Integrity Team of SWAL, filed the Writ of injunction with the Ciovil Law Court in Monrovia.
The committee lamented that the content of the petition filed by the Integrity Team headed by candidate Varmah Kamara, was mainly based on the conduct of the elections. The committee members further said that they had sorted out a number of issues on Friday, December 14, before the elections day on Saturday.
It can be recalled that on Thursday, December 13, 2018, the Integrity Team hosted a press conference highlighting several issues with the Elections Committee regarding the electioneering processing. They claimed that those issues may have been sorted out, only for the same concerns to surface in the writ of injunction.
Amongst qualms raised included the alleged infusion of some 11 names who they claimed should not have been eligible to vote in the SWAL elections. During the press conference, the Integrity Team further accused SWAL’s President, Roland Mulbah, of being the mastermind of bloating the voter roll with ineligible voters. According to them, the act violates Article 2, Section 2I of SWAL’s constitution.
They also accused the current SWAL leadership of intruding in the work of the Membership Committee, something they claimed had resulted to the illegal act of qualifying voters who did not meet the criteria.
“It is the duty of the membership committee to come up with the membership listing but we were shocked when we saw the list in Mulbah’s hands turning it over to the elections commissioners,” the group noted.
“In that process, we noticed that there was a foul played. It was during that time that the swapping of the eleven names took place,” the group stated.
The integrity Team sole desire is for the Roland Mulbah leadership to recuse itself so as to allow an established interim body to take SWAL to the elections. They have repeatedly argued that the Mulbah’s leadership can no longer be trusted to conduct the SWAL’s elections.
A total of ten persons were qualified by the SWAL’s Elections Committee headed by veteran Sports journalist Ernest McCay to contest the the SWAL elections. The contestants included current Secretary General Kolubah Zayzay, and Truth FM former sports reporter, Varmah Kamara, both for the Presidency.
Micheal Weah of Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) was contesting the Vice Presidency post against Fabric Radio Trojan Molley Kiazolu, while Julius Konton, current financial secretary of SWAL and Edwin B. Dolo of the Insight Newspaper were the contestants for the Secretary General position.
For the Assistant Secretary position, Success Minor of SKY FM was challenged by Joy FM & Focus Newspaper’s Augustus Audekina Doe, while the long female candidate Naomi Tappia of Truth FM and Mulbah Reeves of Liberia National Television are vying for financial secretary and chaplain positions respectively.

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