Minutes of the GUSS General Meeting held
Sunday April 27th, 2003 at Rinkeby Folketshus
Kofi Sapathy, Francis Boamah, Dechor Hien, Dianah Ablorh, Micah Kissi, Say Akolor, Nii Allotey, Salam Suberu Jnr, Kasim Abdul-Kadiri, Emmanuel Osei-Poku, Anthony Turkson, Jerry Tettey, Emmanuel Okwabi.
The meeting, scheduled to start at 2.00 pm, did not start until 2.55 p.m. Before the meeting started officially, the president passed round to members a letter from Salam Suberu indicating his decision to withdraw from the union and another letter from Ladi Suberu indicating her decision to resign her post as secretary of the union.
1. Financial Report: Copies of the year’s financial report were distributed to members and the president asked for comments. Say suggested that the accounts must reflect more details so that the union could, for instance, know at a party on which items profits were made and on which losses. Kofi Sapathy felt such details were not necessary. The treasurer explained that those details were available but she didn’t include them for simplicity. Dechor also supported the idea of a breakdown of the accounts. Say further explained his point by suggesting that the union could adopt a dagskassa approach to accounting. Kofi suggested that the union should make guidelines as to what kind of accounting system it should accept.
Nii Allotey wondered if a post box was really needed an account of the fact that it cost so much. The president explained that the post box was needed especially for getting letters from official sources like the embassy. Nii Allotey asked further if the box could be used by individual members of the union and the president said it could be. The treasurer pointed out that the fees for the box were due to be increased again.
The president suggested that the electoral commissioner should make provisions for the presentation of the union’s accounts on Election Day.
When the topic was exhausted, Salaam Jnr moved that the accounts be accepted by the meeting. This was seconded by Kofi. Say suggested that with the acceptance of the accounts a separate resolution be passed that absolved the previous executive of any financial responsibilities for the year concerned – the so-called ansvarsfrihet. This resolution was proposed by Kassim and seconded by Suberu jnr.
2. 20th Anniversary celebrations.
The president informed the meeting that the executive had suggested that the anniversary be combined with the women’s day celebrations and that September 27 be set aside for this celebration. He said the following committees were proposed to help organise the celebrations:
- Catering committee to be led by Dianah Ablorh and to include all the women who helped with the union’s cooking,
- Entertainment and Cultural Committee to be headed by Ablorh who will be assisted by Kassim. He took the opportunity to mention that a live band was being proposed to play on that day,
- A project group that will consist of the president, Turkson, Suberu and Konlaan,
- Gates proceeds committee to consist of a sole member - Say
- Publicity committee to be led by Adu-Boahene and to include Gabby and Kofi Sapathy.
The president then informed the meeting that a gate fee of 50kr per person was being proposed. This brought up a heated discussion with members suggesting different amounts. Say suggested a fee of 100 kr that would include a plate of food. Dechor thought this would be problematic. Kofi thought we could charge a fee that was redeemable against either food or drinks. This suggestion didn’t carry any weight with members. The president pointed out that our finances were bad. It was the general view that a high amount should be charged while we provide a more professional service of entertaining those who pay to attend the function. Osei cautioned against comparisons with the successful years of the union pointing out that gate fees only formed a minor part of the proceeds from those golden years. In the end, three suggestions were put to the vote with the following results:
- 50 kr - 5
- 100 - 2
- free – 3.
One person abstained from voting and the union duly agreed on charging a gate fee of 50 kr.
Micah, at this junction, pointed out that it was necessary to know how much a live band would cost before we fixed a gate fee. But Osei felt that it was more necessary to make our plans first before talking about how much to pay for a live band. The president informed the union that we had a fair idea of how much a live band would cost.
3. Meeting with Friendship Association.
The president informed the union of his meeting with the officials of the Friendship Association and a decision to jointly organise and pay 50-50 for a barbecue picnic on the 14th of June. This was a move to strengthen cooperation between the two associations. He said he told the Friendship Association that he would present the proposal to his union and seek its approval. Mr Osei was not in favour of a joint organisation pointing out that it would bring many problems. He suggested that for starters, the two unions should alternate in organising it with whoever was organising it inviting the other union. Say wondered if any funds received by the union for the organisation of a barbecue would go into the total cost of organising it jointly or form only GU’s part of the costs. Nii Allotey wondered why we should organise it and give them a special invitation when on previous occasions, they used to come whether invited or not. A general discussion ensued with members holding different views. Turkson warned about how Afris funds for such functions would be regarded – something for all Africans. Dechor felt we were being too formal about such things and this could bring about problems. Nii Allotey felt that even though the cooperative effort would bring problems, we should give it a try nonetheless. We could learn from our mistakes. Jerry also talked in favour of a joint organisation for the sake of eliminating tensions between the two unions. Say agreed with Osei’s suggestion but felt GU should organise it first. The president himself was in favour of a joint organisation. Kofi suggested that the matter be put to a vote but the president felt it was necessary to discuss it a bit more. Okuabi suggested that we should do it in turns since there was no ‘unity of objective’ between the two unions. While making his contribution, Okuabi got worked up and started accusing the president of running a one man show and exhibiting dictatorial tendencies. When Kofi tried to point out to him that it was not the occasion for such an accusation, he turned on Kofi and accused him of failing to attend the union’s meetings and not knowing what was happening. After some further implorations from members, Okuabi cooled down and took his seat. The matter of the joint organisation of the barbecue was then taken up again, discussed a bit more and the following suggestions put to the vote:
- joint organisation – 6 votes
- alternate organisation with GU going first – 3 votes
- alternate organisation no matter who goes first – 1 vote.
The union thereby decided to jointly organise this year’s barbecue with the Friendship Association on June 14 with each union paying half the costs.
4. Discussion of the draft constitution:
When the president raised this matter, Say quickly moved that it be postponed in view of the time we had expended on the other items. He was quickly seconded by Kofi Sapathy and the meeting went on to the next item.
5. Other matters.
Say announced that he had some calendars to be given away for free and that anybody who wanted could take as many as he or she wanted. In the end, not many people wanted calendars and Say had to carry the rest home.
Kofi then raised the issue of the controversy surrounding the Val 2002 project and implored the meeting to discuss and find a solution to it. He asked the President to give his side of the matter briefly. The president took his time to give a long exposé of the matter stressing how the GU was left out of the running of the project. Tracing how the funds were disbursed to his knowledge, he showed a photocopy of a handwritten letter requesting the GU to pay an amount into the project leader’s personal account. He said the GU refused this payment and requested the project to explain what the funds were to be used for and to present its report to the union. This, according to the president, the project didn’t do. Micah, the project leader, retorted by calling the president’s statements ‘cheap’. He added that people really didn’t know how projects were run. He observed that the present discussion gave him the opportunity to know the real reason why the GU was holding up on the rest of the funds: the fact that the rest of the funds were to be paid into his personal account. He pointed out that he had sent several letters to the GU executive to attend a meeting to appraise the project – a meeting at which all the participants in the project were invited. The GU failed to attend that meeting. He said he further sent several emails and reminders to the GU asking the executive to come and collect the receipts that they were asking for and offered to meet the executive to answer their questions regarding the expenditures. He said he got no replies to his requests until it was time for him to make a long journey out of the country. Kofi gave his side of the story as he knew it. Nii Allotey said it seemed something was being hidden from the members; Say said they wanted only the receipts; Osei wanted to know if a report had already been submitted to the authorities, and the debate went on and on and on. It became heated, tempers were raised and both the President and the Project leader variously described each other’s arguments as foolish or stupid. Kofi appealed to each side to desist from using such language. Osei also appealed for an amicable solution to the problem pointing out that the union had handled a project that cost 200,000 kr without any problems. A few more contributions were made but the discussion was reaching no where. By then, Turkson, Suberu jnr and Okuabi had already left the meeting. Members became tired and the meeting broke up unilaterally around 5:30 p.m. without its being formally brought to an end by the president.
Minutes taken down by Kofi Sapathy
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