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3 July 2006

Communiqué from the NUSOJ Executive Committee

Mogadishu, 3 July 2006

The NUSOJ Executive Committee, meeting on 3rd July for an emergency gathering in Mogadishu to discuss recent developments that emerged to the work of the union, agreed to issue this communiqué after the end of the meeting to describe the union’s current situation.

The members of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), one of the few democratic organisations in Somalia, have elected bodies that make their decisions independently and transparently. The elected bodies are executive committee and supreme council, and are both guided by the union’s constitution as adopted on 30 August 2005 in Mogadishu by NUSOJ General Assembly.

The Executive Committee has learned that the chairperson of the supreme council has been distributing electronic messages, which seemed to the committee a personal defamation and constitutional violation according to the contents of the messages. The executive committee, therefore, sees them unfortunate and avoidable messages. Because the role of the chairperson is not to deal with the daily management of the union affairs, and cannot speak alone if the supreme council members do not come together and agree collectively a decision for him to announce.

The NUSOJ constitution says “The Executive Committee shall be in charge for the administration of the Union”. Under this mandate the executive committee has been running the union towards the achievement of its objectives, which are:

“to defend and broaden the freedom of the Press, which is the freedom to gather information, the freedom to impart information and the freedom of opinion without meddling; to preserve and support trade union principles; to represent journalists in all places where topics relating to the profession are in discussions; to normalize and develop relationships involving the employees and employers; to negotiate and support the agreements of disagreements arising between employees and employers by pacification, mediation or otherwise safeguard the interest of the members; to strive and seek out services for members to obtain skills training; the protection and development of freedom of expression and democracy to enable the citizens to express their feelings liberally at any time; to move up the importance of journalism in the society by implementing a professional code of ethics; to promote a courage of cooperation and unity among Somali journalists; the protection and backing of public justice, civil liberty and peace; the elimination of favouritism on the basis of clan, gender or disability; to protect and promote the rights of freelance journalists; to defend the common interest of the nation and the coexistence of the Somali people; to promote the rights of women journalists and not to discriminate them in the media, and to guarantee their appearance in all structures of the union”

The Executive Committee receives consultations and directions from the supreme council when ever it holds its meetings and the committee presents to them current issues. “The Supreme Council (SC) shall be the central body of the Union. It shall be responsible for the directions of the Executive Committee who shall be committed the daily management of the Union” says the NUSOJ constitution.

The roles of the Secretary-General of NUSOJ, as stipulated in the constitution, are: the Secretary General shall ensure that all decisions taken by the executive committee and supreme council are implemented; the Secretary General shall issue notices of all conferences and meetings of the union; the Secretary General shall have the power to sign documents on behalf of the union; the Secretary General shall take all necessary decisions for the running of the union; the Secretary General shall speak on behalf of the union; the Secretary General shall work as the Chief Executive Officer of the Union. Under this mandate, the Secretary-General of NUSOJ Omar Faruk Osman has the right to speak on behalf of the union, and all union activities and correspondences should be dealt with him and the constitution enables him to take necessary decisions for the running of the union.

The role of the chairperson of the supreme council, as stipulated in the constitution, is: the chairperson shall convene and chair the meetings of the supreme council. The supreme council consists of the members of the executive committee and heads of the union branches, and meets twice a year as a legislative body.

The members of the executive committee are entirely aware of the work the secretary-general is doing, and he makes all-encompassing consultations. His contacts with other members of the supreme council and the member journalists to achieve the work waited from the executive committee have been strong enough.

We confirm that the agenda of the last supreme council meeting held on Friday 21 April 2006 in Mogadishu consisted of a report from the secretary general, eight projected activities from the executive committee, bylaws of the supreme council, reports from union branches and discussions on rights of media workers.

This meeting did not bring to mind any financial misconduct and corruption encountered by any member of the union leadership. The executive committee endorsed the union’s account in UK which was opened as unregistered charity organisation following compulsory certificate of registration from registrar of NGOs in Kenya if to open an account in Nairobi, and worries from the union donors to send money to an account in Djibouti.

Neither supreme council’s resolution nor executive committee’s decision is to suspend the funds of the union. The executive committee will present all activity and financial reports to the general assembly as normal, and any point expressed inside the messages from the chairperson of the supreme council DOES NOT stand for a decision from the supreme council.

Members of the executive committee discovered in the evening of Friday 30 June that the union’s office was broken and entered, and union’s files, seal and financial documents were taken. The executive committee strongly denounces this act of break-in, and investigations are taking place. The committee‘s findings will be informed soon.

The executive committee is condemning the act of interruption from the chairperson of the supreme council to the executive committee meeting and the sending of aggravation creating messages.

The executive committee warned the outsiders who are politically motivating the chairperson to try to interrupt the union’s business to refrain their unproductive involvements.

On behalf of the union, the executive committee is sending messages of apology to the important partners, friends and colleagues of the union about the worries that the messages of the chairperson of the supreme council caused.

We declare that the work of the union is normally running, and the secretary general with the other members of the executive committee will be implementing their responsibilities as usual and as the constitution instructs. Further, the secretary general is organizing the annual constitutional general assembly of the union since article nine (3) of the constitution says “The Secretary General shall call together the General Assembly after making consultations with the supreme council by giving 4 weeks notice to each branch”.

End of the communiqué.

Members Present

Ali Moallim Isak
Organising Secretary

Abdirahman Omar Dalmar
Information and Human Rights Officer

Hamdi Mohammed Kadie
Secretary for Public Relations

Abdirashid Abdullahi Heydar
Secretary for Labour Issues

Wiilo Ali Bulhan
Secretary for Ethics

Udbi Suleiman Mahdi
Secretary for Gender Issues

Omar Faruk Osman
Secretary General Participated the meeting via telephone conference and accepted

Members Not Present

Abdirashid Abdulle Abikar
Secretary of Trainings (Travelled to Nairobi)

Abdullahi Hassan Ghedi
Treasurer (Personal Justification)

NOTE: The quorum of executive committee meeting is 5 members according to article 11 (12) of the NUSOJ constitution, which says “The quorum for the Executive Committee shall be five”

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