A cross section of executive members of the Sierra Leone Athletics Association yesterday staged a peaceful demonstration in Freetown to complain about the ongoing leadership crisis within the association.
Some members of the Sierra Leone Athletics Association stormed police headquarters with placards to officially complain about the current leadership crisis that is prevailing within the association between Andre Hope and Emric Collin Cole as to who is in charge.
Presenting their concerns to the AIG Police, Tamba Pujeh Gbekei, the Public Relations Officer of the aggrieved members Abubakarr Baker disclosed that since the appointment of Andre Hope as president in 2006 by congress he had failed to perform his duty and seek the welfare of athletes.
He added that, “Mr Hope is yet to account for monies he received from the International Athletics Federation to build the capacity of athletes and also provide funds that will facilitate the country team to participate in Olympics and Commonwealth Games”.
Baker also noted that the president appointed his wife to fill the position of treasurer which he said was unconstitutional as executives and ordinary members were not consulted before the appointment.
He lamented that the secretary general Dauda Sundufu Sowa was also suspended indefinitely for reasons best known to Andre Hope without prior notice to members.
It is against this backdrop they as members called for an extraordinary congress meeting that was held in January which led to a vote of no confidence on the leadership of Andre Hope and executive, while Emric Collin Cole was unanimously appointed president.
Several efforts were made by the association and the ministry of Education Youth and Sports to resolve the crisis but proved futile due to the nonchalant attitude of Mr Hope, he stressed.
Responding the AIG Tamba Pujeh Gbekei expressed thanks and appreciation to the aggrieved members of the athletics association for their bold steps in peacefully presenting their complaints to his office.
He promised to resolve the impasse within the association through dialogue with the aggrieved athletes, executives and sports ministry officials.
He also advised them to compile all their grievances and submit them to his office and also encouraged them to always obtain police clearance before taking to the streets for any demonstration so that the police could provide security for any protest march.