Congress Elects Mohamed Garba as New FAJ President



The President of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ),Mohamed Garba,  has been elected today Sunday  31 March, 2013 in Casablanca (Morocco) as the new president of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) following the third congress of that continental body representing the interests of over 50,000 journalists in Africa. Mohamed Garba replaces Omar Faruk Osman Nur, who served as FAJ President for the past six years.


The Congress in accordance with Article 9.4 and 9.5 of the FAJ Constitution, elected a 9 members steering committee, which later elected Mohamed Garba as the new President. In the same vein, Maria Louisa Carvalho of the Angolan Journalists Union was elected as the Vice President of the Federation, while Stanis Nkundiye of the National Syndicate of Media Professionals in the Democratic Republic of Congo retains his position as the Treasurer of FAJ. Other members of the Steering Committee include Ibrahima Khalilloulah Ndiaye (Senegal), Alexandre Niyungeko (Burundi) Muheldin Ahmed Titawi (Sudan) Credo Tetteh (Togo) and the former Vice President of the Federation, Foster Dongozi,   from the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) and Mouhamed Bchir Chakakou (Tunisia).


Three reserve members to the Steering Committee were also elected namely, Edouard Adzotsa (Congo Brazzaville), Collin Haba (Rwanda) and Rolland Affail Monney (Ghana).

In his inaugural speech to the participants at the Congress, FAJ new President Mohamed Garba, said that the primary concern of the new Steering Committee will be to unite the affiliates in the continent and moreover to ensure that unions in the continent are strengthened in order for them to defend the rights and welfare of their members. The Steering Committee, he emphasised, cannot do their work effectively without the existence of strong unions. “We will endeavour to confront the major challenges before us and will always do the best we can to promote respect of the rights of journalists and to promote quality journalism in Africa”.


Mohamed Garba paid tribute to the outgoing FAJ President, Omar Faruk Osman Nur, who he said had demonstrated a lot of determination for the past six years  to ensure  that FAJ meets objectives that it has set out for itself at its inception. This new Steering Committee, he said, will utilise that working programme set up by the former Steering Committee, and will not at any time hesitate to contact and consult with Faruk, in order to tap from his wealth of experience.


FAJ President Mohamed Garba thanked the Moroccan Union of Journalists for hosting the Congress. He also thanked the IFJ President, Jim Boumelha for his unflinching support to the unions in the continent and his commitment to ensure safety and protection of journalists in Africa and the world at large. He assured the IFJ President that he will continue to work with the IFJ in the most effective manner and will make its doors continuously open to all the regional associations in the continent.


This two day congress was the occasion for delegates from 34 countries to have a look at the governance and policies of the Federation. Delegates scrutinised and discussed the activities and financial reports, debated and approved motions, reviewed constitutional amendments and working programme for 2013-2016 as well as elected new leaders. Delegates also addressed pressing issues facing journalists and their organisations such as increased attempts to criminalise journalism work, working conditions in the media industry, gender equality, safety of journalists and impunity.


For the first time since FAJ has been created the congress included an event specifically dedicated to the working programme to achieve gender equality. The pan-African gender council committee has been formally put in place sanctioned by the congress, making FAJ the first IFJ continental federation that has special structures dedicated to address the needs, interests, and issues of women journalists. In this regard, the congress elected Mrs Mounia Belafia (Morocco), Fatima Abdulkareem (Nigeria), Carla Lima (Cape Verde), Angele Chisimba (Zambia) and Kadiatou Diallo (Guinea Conakry) as members of the gender council committee. Delegates said they are very confident on the new FAJ leadership on which they are expecting to score more key successes to promote and protect the rights of journalists.


The congress was hosted by the Syndicat national de la presse marocaine (SNPM). Younes M’Jahed president of SNPM expressed deep pleasure to welcome delegates in Morocco, and called on them to develop more solidarity and to stand up together for a better recognition of the work of journalists in Africa.


FAJ over the years has received recognition and support from its parent organization, the International Federation of Journalists and claims the position of legitimate voice of journalists and journalism in Africa. Delegates asked the new leadership to rebrand its image in order to maintain a high-level profile with partners and the trade union movements.



 FAJ represents 50,000 journalists in 34 countries in Africa