Agencies committee rejects African Council AGM in Toronto



CANADA: THE African Canadian Social Development Council (ACSDC) Agencies Committee has expressed opposition to the recent Annual General Meeting held by some members of the council.

The committee stated that the on-going process to ensure peace in the ACSDC, which is an umbrella organization that serves agencies to address systemic challenges facing continental African communities of Toronto, should be maintained and respected by those involved in the exercise.

According to the committee in a statement made available to GatewayMail, it felt “gravely concerned by negative governance developments in the African Canadian Social Development Council.”

The agencies committee comprises of Africans in Partnership Against AIDS, Ethiopian Community Association of Toronto and surroundings, Harari Heritage Community Centre and Rwandan Community Abroad-Toronto.

*Council Coordinator, Brianna Lerato Mokwele.

The committee lamented in a statement signed by Brianna Lerato Mokwele, the Agencies Council Coordinator, that “in the last few years, ACSDC has unfortunately been going through many governance and operational challenges that undermined its mandate.”

The committee added: “During these years, the organization has failed to be accountable to its member agencies and funders.”

It further said: “We are pleased to learn the significant efforts made to reverse the trend through the Transformational Plan of 2016/2017.  We have observed incremental positive changes that returned ACSDC to its mandate of policy advocacy and re-engaging African agencies in various activities including the City of Toronto’s Plan to Combat Anti-Black Racism, Ministerial meetings on agency funding cuts, refugees, mental health services, etc.”

“We are encouraged by these developments.  However, we are also very concerned by the ongoing governance problems.  We would like to see the Council fully return to be a Council of agencies,” the committee further said.

The body of the member agencies counselled that the previous Board of Directors and the Transition Board of Directors need to find common ground to enable the council move forward.

It stressed: “This will require adherence to the Bylaws of ACSDC and working together with agencies. The recruitment of a new Board of Directors must be handled with care, ensuring the bylaws are respected, potential candidates recruited through a proper vetting process based on a governance matrix of skills, experience, knowledge, geographic, age and gender diversities are taken into account.

“We are pleased to know that Management Advisory Services has assisted the Council to develop a governance matrix.  However, the implementation of this matrix will require both the previous Board of Directors and the Transition Board of Directors to work together.

“This has not happened.  Any unilateral approach to hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) by either group is not acceptable.  We are here to ensure the interests of the member agencies are respected.”

The committee, therefore, urged the previous Board of Directors to refrain from further exacerbating the current governance crisis by holding the December 2, 2017 AGM until an independent Agencies Committee organizes an AGM to bring closure to the ongoing governance crisis.

It maintained that it would not recognize and will challenge the legitimacy of any elected board either by the previous board and the Transition Board.

Similarly, the committee charged the ACSDC funders to prevent the use of public funds until such time a duly elected Board of Directors is in place through the active involvement of properly registered member agencies, even as it urged “all funders, African agencies, partners and allies to support the continued mandate of ACSDC and support neutral efforts to rebuild its governance.”

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