The Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) has been thrown into turmoil less than five months to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as the President and Secretary-General battle in a turf war over who has the right to suspend an employee by the name Farida Ayishatu Iddriss.
The development gives credence to reports that have emerged about a rift between the top two officers of the GOC which is evidenced by two different communication teams at the NOC, while rumours of a vote-of-no-confidence in the Nunoo Mensah administration continues to abound.
It will be recalled that the third vice president of the GOC Mohammed Mahadi in an interview with Rainbow Radio 87.5 FM claimed some people at the GOC lacked an understanding of sports and do not have what it takes to manage the GOC. He said it is “difficult and frustrating” to work at the GOC, and asked for all questions about the GOC to be forwarded to the GOC President. But the GOC President in a rebuttal rubbished the claims by Mahadi, saying the latter does not know what he is talking about.
In the latest case, the Secretary-General of the GOC Mohammed Sahnoon on 28th February 2022 slapped an indefinite suspension on its Administrative Manager Farida for what he called, “gross violation of your terms of engagement”, “gross disrespect of authority”, “lack of discipline and gross insubordination.” Sahnoon stated that “a final decision on your status will be conveyed to you after the GOC Board has met.”
But the GOC President Ben Nunoo Mensah on 3rd March 2022 wrote to ‘revoke’ the suspension letter by his Secretary-General saying interestingly that the SG had no such powers to suspend an employee.
He stated, “As President and Head of the GOC administration, I have not been officially made aware of any conduct or behaviour that will warrant such an action and besides, the Secretary-General do not have such power nor authority to take such a unilateral decision without to me or the board.
The GOC President expressed regret at the action taken by the Chief Executive Officer of his outfit and encouraged the Administrative Manager to continue with her work.
“I apologise for the unnecessary embarrassment and advise that you ignore the said letter and continue with your good and productive work at the GOC as its Administrative Manager,” he wrote.
In a subsequent reaction to the letter by the GOC President, Mohammed Sahnoon wrote to the board members via WhatsApp messaging confirming his decision to suspend the Administrative Manager “until the board takes a final decision on the matter. The board is scheduled to meet on the 9/3/22,”
He explained that the President of the GOC had written to him to reconsider his decision to suspend the said employee, but he disagreed with the position of Mr. Nunoo Mensah.
“I think as the SG, l have the authority to discipline any employee for any misconduct or gross insubordination for that matter…This is unacceptable for proper administration.” Therefore, the SG urged the board to ignore any communication from Farida Iddriss.
“I entreat all members to ignore all emails from Farida as she is on suspension and to use the GOC email for all correspondence on the Birmingham Games or any other matter pending the determination of her fate by the board.”
Per the constitution of the GOC, the Secretary-General is mandated to run the secretariat, and a management committee made up of elected officers is mandated to run the day-to-day affairs of the Olympic governing body.
Interestingly, Farida Iddriss was one of nine people the GOC President Ben Nunoo Mensah personally referred to the Disciplinary Committee of the GOC for her alleged part in the infamous Australia Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games- as evidenced in Mr. Nunoo Mensah’s report titled Report of Ghana Olympic Committee/Commonwealth Games Federation (CGA) on the Australia Commonwealth Games (GC 2018). But it seems there has been a thawing in the relationship between the two leading to Farida’s appointment as an Administrative Manager of the GOC on 19th April 2021.