By Lamin Fadera
The Gambia National Olympic Committee’s Annual General Meeting collapsed after the delegates said their proposal was not included in the program guide. They also insisted that Hockey should not be part of the AGM agenda.
Following the complaint of the delegates, their concern was put to a vote, and 18 delegates supported the agenda presented by the GNOC, while 24 delegates rejected the agenda.
It took over five hours of debate before the AGM collapsed on Saturday, 23rd December 2023.
GNOC President Beatrice Allen said the AGM had an agenda taken from the GNOC constitution.
She highlighted that two things were added to the agenda, one of which was Hockey.
“We were supposed to look at the president’s report, the SG report, and the budget for 2024. Now, you look at policy requirements and bring them on board. One was the strategic plan to be endorsed by the AGM, and the other was Hockey, a follow-up inclusion following the last AGM, where it was rejected. They were asked to fulfill Olympic chatter requirements; they must have an activity in the country before being accepted”, Ms. Allen said.
She alleged that the Secretary-General, Yorro Njie, was not happy with the decision of the board, and he manipulated the stakeholders. He wanted the delegates to discuss his issues at the AGM because he was not given administrative rights.
“The Secretary-General wanted to run the office alone, and we told him that he cannot run the office because we have an Executive Director. He needs to work with the executive director just like the way the treasurer works with the executive director, but he says no”.
Ms. Allen emphasized during the AGM that if delegates failed to approve the AGM, the Gambia’s budget for 2024 would not be approved by the IOC.
Beatrice Allen also said she would write her report and send it to the International Olympic Committee to explain the details that led to the failure of the AGM.
The failure of the AGM might cause The Gambia National Olympic Committee to shut down if there is no budget for 2024.
When asked when they would organize another AGM, she said she didn’t know.
Meanwhile, the Secretary-General, Yorro Njie, argued that the Constitution guides him in handling the day-to-day running of the GNOC.
He said President Beatrice Allen insisted that Yorro should only have access to the documents at GNOC when she is in town.
“As I speak with you, I cannot access the official email, violating my constitutional rights. The Constitution says the SG should run the day-to-day operations of the NOC, which means all the secretariats should be under my responsibility because that is constitutional.
Once the president directed the executive director to have access to all running files of the office, which is another violation of my constitutional rights, “Njie said
Delegates’ Reactions to the failed AGM
After hours of debate, the AGM failed to materialize.
The president of the Gambia Volleyball Federation, Bai Dodou Jallow, said he is disappointed that the AGM has been called off.
“It is a setback and disappointing that the AGM has not proceeded because many activities need to be cleared by this AGM.
He said that before the AGM, some national associations made some proposals and should have been given the attention they deserved.
Jallow emphasizes that this should change because it should be respected when they raise concerns.
The president of the Gambia Handball Association, Lamin King Colley, highlighted that it is essential to respect the majority’s voice. Because 18 delegates voted in favor of the agenda and the inclusion of Hockey, while 24 delegates rejected the agenda where Hockey was included.
The majority also believes their proposal before the AGM should be considered well.
The Gambia Athletic Association representative Musa Manneh said the delegates that rejected the AGM agenda were unfair to the Athletes. And their argument was baseless.
“personal issues were the problem that affected the entire AGM. Some people brought personal issues to the AGM, and they can’t be dealt with at an AGM,” Manneh said.
These were the proposals made by members of the GNOC 14 days before the AGM under section 8(4) of the GNOC Constitution p. 9.
1. Hear the Secretary General’s complaints about the administrative challenges he faces in carrying out his constitutional duties at the GNOC.
2. Presentation of the 2024 calendar.
3. Election of members for the election commission for GNOC elective Congress 2024.
4. Elimination or removal of the Gambia Hockey Association from the agenda item.
5. Adoption of the last AGM/Elective Congress of 2021 and Extraordinary Congress 2021 should be included in the agenda.
GNOC Treasurer reaction
The Gambia National Olympics Committee Treasurer Muhammed Jagana said the primary purpose of the AGM is for the athletes, and the delegates should prioritize the needs of the Athletes.
After delegates failed to proceed with the AGM, his office couldn’t approve any budget for the 2024 calendar year.
“The delegates should consider the needs of the Athletes and the support staff. Today, we have athletes preparing for the Olympics in Paris 2024; their stipends and expenses cannot be spent because we don’t have an approved budget from the AGM,” Jagana told the TAT sports.
He said the government should help them fund the athletes and the game in Ghana before the budget is approved.
The Deputy Executive Director of the National Sports Committee said what he saw at the last failed AGM: the delegates need to change and understand that they are representing the Athletes.
He said they could have adopted the AGM agenda and later found solutions to their proposal differently.