The Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) is staring at an eminent disgruntled and a serious legal tussle following a flawed exercise of hiring a new Executive Director.
AMWIK has found itself in between a rock and a hard place and uncertain future after the association sharply divided right in the middle after a new executive director was allegedly imposed on them by the board members.
In a heated Emergency General Meeting (EGM) on the 9th of December, the Association’s Chairperson Dr. Jane Thuo and three other board members could not hold the centre and resigned.
This was triggered by members’ disgruntlement over a flawed recruitment exercise to replace Judy Kaberia, the former ED who had resigned after only one year in office.
The recruitment in question resulted with AMWIK issuing an offer letter to a candidate (Jacklyn Lidubwi, a former journalist at KBC currently handles high-level projects on persons with disabilities and a media trainer), Jacky’s appointment later was later revoked and his the position later given to another candidate (patience Nyange, also a former journalist-cum-politician who contested for Taita Taveta governorship in the August General Election but lost.
The reversal of the first appointment was all done without clear and timely communication with Ms Lidubwi
In her communication to the members, Dr Jane Thuo said the decision to reverse the appointment was after checking further the background of Lidubwi and Nyange.
“However, we did some background checks on the two candidates which included making calls to their referees. These checks extended beyond the said referees and after review, the board rescinded Lidubwi’s offer and rather opted for Nyange as the ideal candidate for the job,” Thuo explained to members.
The happenings rattled some Members who demanded for the EGM as soon as they realised that the association’s core value to support media women’s rights and dignity was undermined, it is during the EGM that members got a chance to hear both sides.
According to a source who attended the EGM, the chairperson acknowledged that the board had not followed current human resource procedures during the recruitment process and was therefore wrong.
The source, who sort anonymity, further said the members on getting the facts, directed that the recruitment be nullified and carried out afresh with both candidates free to reapply.
During the intense meeting, members came up with a list of resolutions to be effected from the EGM among them; AMWIK to offer an unconditional public apology to both candidates, revoke the contract given the new Executive Director, a fresh recruitment for the Executive Director’s post be conducted and the association should update the human resources manual and incorporate experienced members in the exercise.
It was also resolved that All board members to be held responsible for the flawed recruitment process, an open and accessible means for voting for the resolutions should be provided to all members and tallied results together with the supporting results be availed to all members.
‘’During the EGM, the chairperson was against the nullification of the recruitment citing further litigation from Patience Nyange who has already been appointed new ED’’ said the source.
This infuriated members who insisted that the right thing must be done for AMWIK to uphold its reputation as an organisation that champions for integrity. Members stated their direction was final.
In her defence Ms Nyange said she was rightful appointed holder and would not step aside as demanded by members, threatening to take legal action should the members impeach her.
“It is true that I am a member of 5 other groups that deal with media and the PR sector. But these groups have been there long before AMWIK and have never been a problem to the association. In fact, I will use this opportunity to recruit women in those groups to join our side,” she said.
Later, the chairperson said that she was stepping down. Then the Vice Chair Rachel Ombaka then led the rest of the EGM but she too resigned via a message on AMWIK’s WhatsApp group. This was followed by Cylia Kathambi and Jane Godia also communicating their resignation.
‘’We have learned that following this event, none of board members who resigned have officially left the office with some still acting on behalf of AMWIK. This has led a big fraction of the members wondering if AWMIK indeed is a membership organisation where members’ voices count’’ said an insider.
The EGM was attended by over 100 members, more than a third of the entire membership, a requirement stipulated in both AWMIK’s constitution and the Registrar of Societies regulations.
Upon conducting Ms Lidubwi over the confusion in the AMWIK, The multi-award-winning journalist and a Holder of masters of Arts degree in Communication Studies from The University of Nairobi, said all she needs is an apology from the association
‘’I am no longer interested with the position of Executive Director, all I need is an unconditional apology from the association’’ said Lidubwi