Maputo 22 Jul (AIM) – Faruco Sadique was elected on Thursday, in Mafambisse district, in the central Mozambican province of Sofala, General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists (SNJ), with 36 votes, corresponding to 55.4 percent of the delegates.
Far from being a trade union militant, Sadique was previously chairperson of the board of Radio Mozambique, and then chairperson of the board of the publicly owned television company, TVM. He is now head of the Maputo office of the Beira-based daily “Diario de Mocambique”.
The conference to elect a new leadership was long overdue. The previous General Secretary, Eduardo Constantino, was at the head of the SNJ for 19 years. There should have been fresh elections ten years ago, but were constantly postponed on the grounds that the SNJ had no money to hold a conference.
There were two other candidates for the post. One of them, Delfina Mugabe, is a former journalist on the Maputo daily “Noticias” and was a member of Constantino’s executive running the SNJ.
Mugabe narrowly won the first round of voting, with 30 votes to 29 for Sadique. The third candidate, Alexandre Chiure, is a member of the watchdog body, the Higher Mass Media Council (CSCS), elected with the support of the Mozambican chapter of the regional press freedom body, MISA (Media Institute of Southern Africa).
Chiure took six votes, and since no candidate had over 50 per cent, there was a second round, won by Sadique with 36 votes to 29 for Mugabe.
Sadique recognizes that the SNJ is in a very poor state, and is no longer seen by journalists as representing them. In his election manifesto, he said that “in recent years, the SNJ has become an entity that is foreign to journalists”, who increasingly “do not see themselves reflected in their own union”.
Most Mozambican journalists, Sadique said, have stopped paying their membership dues, with the exception of those in the public sector, whose dues are discounted directly from their wages.
Sadique said he wants to establish “a transparent system of accountability for the financial resources and other assets of the SNJ”.
Interviewed by the independent newssheet “Carta de Mocambique” before the conference, Sadique said that, if elected, his top priority would be to transform the SNJ into an organization in which the members can see themselves.