The newly elected President of the Gambia Press Union (GPU) newly has called on the members of the country’s press body to remain upbeat and hold their heads high because “there are no losers” in the just concluded XI Triennial Congress.
Sheriff Bojang Jnr, exiled multimedia Gambian journalist who returned home after the fall of Yahya Jammeh, spoke shortly after he was voted into office. Flanked by seven other executive members, President Bojang who succeeded Bai Emily Touray, emphasised the importance of the mandate bestowed on his executive.
The election wrapped up the two-day Congress at the Baha’i Center in Fajara. The first post-Jammeh GPU Congress, held on September 7 and 8, brought together participants from various media organisations in the country. It has provided opportunity to delegates to adopt a new Constitution as well as elect a new executive for a three-year term.
Bojang said the GPU is there for everyone and assured delegates that the new executive will not turn a deaf ear to suggestions, criticisms and ideas that are geared towards moving the union to higher heights.
He expressed hope the new found unity will uplift the standard of journalism as well as improve the welfare of Gambian journalists.
“We have a huge task lying ahead,” Bojang admitted, praising the outgoing administration for making a lot of achievements. “There are so many things to celebrate. There is a lot work that remains to be done. Our job is to keep the hope of people alive.”
Asked about his plans to engage The Gambia government on some draconian laws that are yet to be repealed, GPU President said that his administration will not relent on these issues. “We are not going to be complacent. We are going to fight,” he shouted out.
Over the past three years, GPU in tandem with its various partners were able to run projects that were funded to tune of 18, 259,402 dalasis. But the welfare of Gambian journalists continue to be a matter of serious concern, leaving many journalists financially disadvantaged to the extent that some depend on per diems to make ends meet.
Sheriff Bojang Jnr said his administration would prioritise the welfare of journalists. In that would engage media chiefs on the issue.
Many voices warned the executive against turning GPU into an island of prosperity surrounded by an ocean of poverty. But Mr. Bojang allayed fears, promising the union to be transparent, especially on financial matters.
“The GPU I am going to preside over will communicate every penny that comes in. We will have to improve greatly on communication,” he remarked.
Other members of the union include Mustapha K. Darboe (Vice-president), Mariatou Ngum-Saidy (Treasurer), Pa Modou Faal, Mustapha Mbye, Fatou Sowe, Kebba Jephang and Sarjo Camara-Signateh.
Saikou Jammeh maintains the position of GPU Secretary General.