By Sayoh Kamara (Former SLAJ Public Affairs Secretary)
Mustapha M K Sesay of the #TeamMustapha4SLAJPresidentCampaign2019 is no doubt the candidate of choice in the July 13 SLAJ Presidential Election, because he has demonstrated a pedigree of selflessness and a strong character in his service to our noble association.
Popularly known as ‘the SLAJ encyclopaedia’, Mustapha has also demonstrated and equally manifested a high level of integrity and commitment to serving SLAJ in particular, and the media generally, in an unquestionable manner.
Mustapha is unassuming and has over three decades of experience in media practice, strategic media management, public relations, policy advocacy, human rights and development communication, with hands-on skill in research.
He is very well educated and experienced. Mustapha holds a Master of Arts degree in Mass Communication, a Bachelor of Education (B. Ed) degree, Higher Teachers Certificate (HTC) in Secondary Education, and a number of in-service professional development certificates in media, communications, virtual activism, public relations and human right advocacy.
Also branded ‘The Editors’ Editor’ by members of the Guild of Newspaper Editors – Sierra Leone (GoNE), Mustapha has been providing selfless services to SLAJ and media institutions and affiliates for over 20 years, four of which he dedicated to service at the National Secretariat where he served as Assistant Secretary General and National Secretary General to three Presidents. They are Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, Philip Neville, and Umaru Fofana, and he has since continued to provide capacity enhancement support to successive executives, including to the outgoing Kelvin Lewis-led executive.
Our Presidential-in-waiting is one of the two founding fathers of Women in the Media Sierra Leone (WIMSAL), the other being Ibrahim Karim-Sei; one of the three founding fathers of the Sierra Leone Reporters Union (SLRU), the others being Edward Marrah and Hon Ibrahim Ben Kargbo; and a pioneer of the revival of the Sierra Leone Sports Writers Association (SWASAL) though not a sports journalist or SWASAL member.
Our candidate also developed, sourced funding support, successfully managed and reported on all major projects and programme supports to SLAJ while at the Secretariat, without any issue. By the end of his term at the Secretariat, he left behind a well-equipped National Secretariat with conference hall, ITC resource room and a mini library with over 1,000 textbooks and other materials, plus offices for SLRU, WIMSAL and SWASAL.
He also left behind three basically equipped and functional regional Secretariats in Bo, Kenema, Makeni for the south, east and northern regions.
Presently, he is serving as a Board member at the Independent Media Commission of Sierra Leone, a non-executive position, where he has effected a number of innovations towards institutional reforms. Mustapha has also served in several other capacities in public life including as Communications Officer of the UNFPA Country Office; Communications Officer of the Independent Police Complaints Board of Sierra Leone; and Director of Education, Communications and Training at the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, among others.
On the media front, he has served as Editor of the two leading local magazines, the SierraEye and NewsWatch Magazines, and the NewsWatch and Standard Times Newspapers. As a media consultant, he is proficient in facilitating and coordinating media personnel and institutional capacity building activities and programmes.
Regardless of the apparent smearing of his good name and integrity by certain opponents along the lines of parochial sentimentalism and fear of his strong leadership traits, right-thinking members should resolve to support Mustapha with confidence that they are on the right side of history. He is the better bet for a stronger and an uncompromising SLAJ; a SLAJ we are all craving for.
Colleagues, unlike all other SLAJ elections, the 2019 polls put the Association at a crossroads. By choosing Mustapha M K Sesay, we are choosing a President for our association who is standing on strong concrete footings to speak out and stand for us members and the general public without discrimination, over one that is dumb, insensitive and inactive, especially in advancing the interests, causes and welfare of colleagues and on critical national policy issues.