By Gambian Correspondent – The Board of Directors of Pro Poor Advocacy Group (Pro-PAG) has come under fire after it received a “directive” to replace its chairperson and director.
The agency Saturday convened what it said was an “emergency meeting” to discuss “directives” received from the ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in Banjul.
The directive, signed by Mod A.K Secka, Permanent Secretary No. 1 at the ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, stated among others that the “Government of the Gambia does not recognize Mrs Adelaide Sosseh as member and Chairperson of the Board of Pro-PAG as well as Mr John Njie, Director of the said agency.”
Consequently, the directive urged the Board of Pro-PAG to identify a new chairperson and that Mr John should be replaced by one Mr Omar Jobe, the erstwhile holder of the position as Director, “if Pro-PAG is to earn Government’s recognition as a partner in development.”
“The Office of the President houses the NGO Affairs Agency and has the right in the public interest to de-register Pro-PAG in the event that these issues are not taken on board,” the directive which was addressed to the Director of Pro-PAG by the ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and made available to this paper said.
At Saturday’s meeting held at the TANGO hall and attended by the Board of Pro-PAG and other partners, members agreed that it would this week replace Mrs Adelaide Sosseh and Mr John Njie as Board Chairperson and Director of the group respectively.
The meeting also selected a five-member interim board committee to steer the affairs of the group and other activities till the next Annual General Meeting.
The interim board comprises Ebrima Garba Cham from Labour Department, Aja Kadijatou Jallow from ActionAid International The Gambia, Ahmed Alota from the Gambia Press Union, TANGO and the NGO Affairs Agency.
Also at the emergency general meeting, the outgoing Pro-PAG Director John Niie presented a Summary of Annual Reports 2008-2010, highlighting some of the achievements, challenges and opportunities during the period under review.
He stated that the incident has marred the trust and confidence that had previously obtained between Pro-PAG and the government.
According to John Njie, Pro-PAG has the formidable task of rebuilding its image and dispelling the mis-conceptions that have been created which hang like clouds over the organization.
“Based on the lessons learnt from our successes and failures, it is important that Pro-PAG should be a learning institution not only for itself, but for other NGOs,” he said.
He added “it is important that Pro-PAG learned from its experience about what he described as “the messy realities of internal conflict”, and use this as a learning module for other NGOs so that they do not fall into the same situation as Pro-PAG, and translate the knowledge acquired into good systematic practices.”
He noted that the rancour that has ridden the organization in the recent past has not only affected the image of Pro-PAG, but questioned its own value system.
Meanwhile, Omar Badjie of Action Aid-The Gambia announced his resignation as Pro-PAG board member at the meeting, based on what he said was ‘personal’ reasons.