A presidential aspirant in the ensuing Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) has said it is now time for a farsighted, dedicated individual to take over the mantle of leadership of the organization.
Leroy Sonpon noted that SWAL has for too long suffered from committed leadership and as a result failed to take the organization to another level.
Speaking at a debate organized by its Elections on Wednesday January 22, 2014, at the PUL office in Monrovia, Sonpon said he intends to prioritize training for sports journalists and equip them with the necessary tools that will enable them to work effectively and efficiently.
He indicated, “I’m the best candidate to take SWAL to the next level that will empower the members. Our beloved organization is now like a wounded elephant that needs the best therapist to cure its wounds. I’m that therapist that is prepared for this task.
“We don’t want to ridicule our past leaders in this gathering, but we think they have done little or nothing to improve the wellbeing of our institution. And unfortunately some of these same officials are still contesting for positions.”
Sonpon called on his fellow SWAL members to be sports writers and not football writers.
“SWAL members have abandoned the true vision of the association by neglecting other sporting disciplines. Everyone is focusing on football and this is not the true meaning of SWAL,” he said.
“When we are elected, we will have a lot of tasks and the first item on my agenda is to plan capacity building workshop for our people. We also intent to solicit corporate sponsorship and we have the connection to make these things happening,” he indicated.
Vice president Martina Brooks at the debate said she would decentralize the organization to ensure that members in the leeward counties are involved.
“Though women are marginalized in the media,” she said, “I’m prepared for the task.”
She promised to revamp the Herbert Grigsby Lectures, capacity building, build partnerships, a newspaper and reinforce and redefine SWAL’s charity program.
Presidential candidate Roland Mulbah said his focus would be on members’ welfare, accountability, capacity building, equal opportunity and sound advocacy.
Candidate Richard Manuba said his focus would be on three key areas: which are to institutionalize the organization, corporate partnership and members’ welfare.
Meanwhile, the SWAL election expected on the 24th of January has been postponed to February 7, 2014 at the same venue.
The decision, according to Chairman Momolu Sirleaf, is due to some discrepancies in the membership listing presented to his commission.
Those vying for the highest office of the organization include: the current vice President of SWAL, Martina Brooks, Roland Mulbah and Richard Manuba.