City Chamber Resolves Election Quandary

The Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (AACCSA) has settled by re-electing the former president, vice-president and five of the nine boards of directors on its ninth general assembly held on March 19, 2015.

The assembly, which was repeated by the Lideta Federal High Court’s decision saying the annulled ninth assembly held on December 19, 2013 had unlawfully banned the member United Insurance S.C.’s representative Zafu Eyesuswork from attending the assembly and casting his vote, had elected the president, the vice president and nine board of directors, listened to the performance and audit reports and approved them.

Following the court’s decision,a Board of Trustees was formed that administered the assembly until the next election. The Board of Trustees was composed of members from the Ministry of Trade (MoT) and the Addis Abeba City Administration Trade & Industry Development Bureau.

The Board of Trustees could not conduct the assembly on its First meeting on March 12, 2015, because of unfulfilled number of the quorum.

The assembly was held for the second time in the compound of the Addis Abeba Exhibition Centre & Market Development Enterprise (AAECMDE) on March 19, 2015. It brought 606 of the total active members together. Although the total membership of the Chamber is currently 14,000, only 6,000 to 7,000 are active as they pay their membership fees and use services offered by AACCSA.

Finally, the assembly managed to cast the votes to the candidates presented by the Credentials Committee that the trustees had established according to article 16 of the Articles of Association of the Chamber.

The five-member Electoral Committee that held the meeting was elected by majority vote of the house among seven candidates. Mulu Solomon, the former president of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations (ECCSA) receiving the highest number of votes, becoming chair of the Electoral Committee .

The Credentials Committee, which had five members, presented its report on the candidates to the Board of Trustees through its Secretary, Biruk Debebe (Ambassador) and the Board handed the sealed envelope that contains list of candidates to the Electoral Committee.

The Credentials Committee presented three candidates for the presidency and a lone nominee for the vice presidency. Among the three, Elias Geneti got the majority vote – 284 of 535. The second and the third candidates were Israel Kassa with 145 votes and Oumer Ali with 74 votes. The lone candidate for the vice presidency was Tadesse Meshesha who got 463 out of the total 517 votes casted for him.

Among the 535 votes for presidency, 32 were made void because of errors in writing the names of the candidates. Fifty four votes for the vice presidency were made void for the same reason.

Fifteen board members were also candidate among 24 that were nominated by the members through sealed envelopes. The willingness of the candidates was seen as a criterion for their candidacy. Nine of them joined the board.

The new entrants to the Board of Directors are Mesenbet Shenkute, the president of Addis International Bank S.C, Temesgen Dale, manager of Sigma Electric, Asseffa Guya, Ethiopian Tourist Trade Enterprise manager, and Fasikaw Sissay, manager of DFG General Consultancy Service.

“The legality of the process is not to be questioned because we did as the court ordered us; there is nothing new that we did,” Ali Siraj, state minister at the MoT told Fortune. “Both the Assembly and the Board of Trustees did right.”

The major challenge of the Board of Trustees was to gather the members of the Chamber and fulfil the quorum after identifying the active members, according to Ali. “We were concerned that the members might not come to fulfil the quorum.”

Elias Geneti, the re-elected president of the Chamber hopes that this will create an opportunity for them to complete their jobs that were started before their suspension from office.

“We had been pushing the government to make the country sign the New York Convention that could allow any other country’s investors to get arbitration service in the Chamber. We will start the Public Private Consultancy Forum that we signed with the City Administration of Addis Abeba,” Elias told Fortune.

The Chamber is also establishing a policy research centre, which will be commenced in May by first recruiting the human resources of the centre. For Elias and the re-elected board member Hunelegn Tigabu, the re-election of the previous persons indicates that the members trusted them.

“All of the others who were elected last time would have been elected, if four had not left the candidacy because of health issues and work load,” Elias said.

The new Board of Directors planned to hold its first meeting on March 21, 2015, stated Hunelign, and they will re-consider the law within the time of the Board’s existence to avoid creating any problem in the future.

The Chamber has been implementing representative and general assemblies at different times. The representation works when sectors are represented by one person and the other is when all the members are called upon to participate in the assembly – 500 plus one people represented the different sectors when AACCSA was established in 2003. The General Assembly requires half of the members to attend.

“If they come to the right track and implement representation as it was in the first five consecutive meetings, we might also consider the issue that is pending at court,” says Zafu Eyesuswork, representative from United Insurance S.C.

After a long time of court trial the Addis Abeba Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (AACCSA) came to the re-organized and trice held ninth assembly in masses with 606 members attending the assembly. They pushed shoulders to reach the three boxes set for the president, the vice president and the board of directors votes.






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