By: Jeremiah Sackie Cooper
Monrovia, November 29, 2023 – The National Campaign Management of Team Lisa is alarming over the removal of legitimate members names of the Female Journalist Association of Liberia (FeJAL) from the preliminary voters’ roll.
The Female Journalist Association of Liberia is expected to go to an election in December this year to elect new leaders to steer the affairs of the association.
According to the spokesperson of the National Campaign Management of Team Lisa, Madam Massa Kanneh, I’m several legitimate members of FeJAL’s names were unlawfully removed from the voter’s roll.
If nothing is done to reinstate the allegedly removed legitimate members, they may not participate in the upcoming election in December.
Madam Kanneh on behalf of team Lisa termed the action by FeJAL’s membership committee headed by Grace Bryant as a violation of Article 5, Sections 1 and 2 of the association’s constitution.
Article 5, Section 1 of the FeJAL constitution states that “Membership of the Association shall be open to all media women in the following categories: Full member: Female Liberian journalists residing within and without the Republic of Liberia and shall have practiced for a minimum of three years.” Associate Member criteria include, “An associate member shall be a resident or non-resident female journalist, a non-practising female communication student in and outside Liberia, and female PROs. This also includes females working in media development organizations”.
Article 5 Section 2 added that on Voting Rights explicitly states, “Only full members who are regular due payers shall vote and be voted for. Each member shall be entitled to one vote on each matter submitted to a vote. However, PROs shall have the right to vote but not to be voted for. Members in the employ of media development can vote but shall not be voted for.”
Madam Kanneh noted that “The actions taken by FeJAL’s membership committee, headed by Grace Bryant and under the supervision of the leadership, have ignited apprehensions about equal participation and the democratic values cherished by the association. Reports from across the country reveal a surge in complaints from female journalists, including national county coordinators, who discovered their names inexplicably absent from the voter’s roll”.
Additionally, Team Lisa has described the committee’s action as an act to create chaos and undermine the free and fair democratic process of the association.
“In a statement released today, Team Lisa underscores the counterproductive nature of the committee’s actions, fueling widespread complaints and discontent among members. The team contends that a transparent and unbiased process for maintaining the voter’s roll is crucial to ensuring that FeJAL remains a representative and inclusive space for female journalists in Liberia”, the release noted.
The Spokesperson for the National Campaign Management of Team Lisa, expressed disappointment, stating, “We are disheartened to learn that many legitimate women journalists’ names were removed from the preliminary voter’s roll, many of whom have actively participated in FeJAL’s activities for the past years. Such action contradicts the very essence of our association’s commitment to democratic values and equal participation. We firmly believe that a diverse membership is essential for the strength and credibility of FeJAL. Removing legitimate women journalists’ names from the voter’s roll hampers this diversity and sends the wrong message to our members.”
Meanwhile, the Team called on the FeJAL membership committee to promptly intervene and amicably resolve the matter.
“Therefore, Team Lisa calls on the membership committee to promptly intervene and amicably resolve this issue by reinstating the names of legitimate members on the voters’ roll for a transparent and credible process in the upcoming FEJAL elections”, Madam Kannah said.
The group further called on all stakeholders, including the Press Union of Liberia and media development partners, to swiftly intervene, as actions taken by the membership committee, under the leadership’s supervision, have the potential to undermine the credibility of the elections.
Team Lisa emphasizes the importance of transparency and fairness in managing the association’s membership list to ensure that every member’s voice is heard and valued.
Team Lisa is a collective of passionate women journalists dedicated to advancing the rights and opportunities of female journalists in Liberia. The team members headed by Ms. Lisa Tenneh Diasay have been officially declared qualified to contest in the 2023 elections.
In December this year, over 400 female journalists will go to the polls to elect their leaders.