By James Mwandha
On December 29, 2009, members of UNAPD held a General Assembly (GA) where they elected a new Board of Directors to lead them in the next four years (2010-2014). At the same occasion, members approved a new UNAPD’s Constitution and Strategic Plan 2010-2015. The 2nd General Assembly was held at Community Based Rehabilitation Alliance (COMBRA) in Seeta, Mukono, where over 100 delegates attended.
I was re-elected unopposed as Chairman and so was Arthur Blick as Vice-Chairman. Other members of the Board re-elected were Elizabeth Kayanga (Women Representative), Crispin Oketchogara (Western Region Representative) and Ann Mary Nabwire (Eastern Region Representative). The new members are Arch Goffin Chandria (Treasurer), Mpindi Bumaali (Central Region Representative), Fabiano Opira (Northern Region Representative) and Miriam Kiconco (Youth Representative). Congratulations to you all.
We thank Connie Tinka, the Executive Director of Katalemwa Cheshire Home, who performed the role of returning officer at the elections. The elections were no doubt democratically conducted and were free and fair.
To the old Board members, I am sure we were re-elected basing on our achievements and I implore you to consolidate our achievements as we work for more.
We as the new Board were elected because of the potential the electorate recognised in us to steer our organisation to greater heights. I urge all my Board colleagues not to let down our members and that we should execute our mandate to the satisfaction of them all without fear or favour.
The leadership we were entrusted with is not a simple voluntary matter as it seems. It calls for enormous commitment, transparency and accountability in the exercise of our duties. I know you all have these leadership qualities, in addition to many others, but it is a great challenge to put them into practice.
The Board is coming in at a time when UNAPD is preparing for negotiations to develop a new partnership with our partners in Denmark to transform the organisation from the current project-based to a programme-based approach. This is a great opportunity for our organisation’s transformation and our input and commitment to this exercise will be very valuable. We expect this exercise to kick off in January 2010, with the arrival of our partners led by Michael Larsen of DHF.
I take this opportunity to thank the Honourable Sulaiman Madada, the State Minister in Charge of Disability and Elderly, who graced our General Assembly as Guest of Honour and performed the opening ceremony. On behalf of the General Assembly I wish to thank him for an excellent address he delivered on the occasion. I would also like to thank Honourable Alex Ndeezi and Honourable Sofia Nalule (MPs representing Persons with Disabilities in Parliament) for honouring us with their presence. Our thanks also go to the Country Representative of ADD and Francis Kinubi, Chairman of NUDIPU, among other stakeholders for attending the opening ceremonies.
To UNAPD members, I thank you for taking time off your celebrations for the festive season to attend the GA, and exercising your democratic mandate to elect your leadership.
The out-going Board transformed UNAPD to its present state; from a period of no project at all to a period of five successful projects. On behalf of the entire UNAPD membership I wish to appreciate the role it played in the development of our organisation. For those members of the Board who were not able to make it to the new Board, are a resource to UNAPD. We shall keep on consulting them for advice from time to time to tap on their wide body of knowledge, skills and experience in giving direction to UNAPD.
The General Assembly would have been difficult to organise if it were not for the support we received from our partners of DHF, DBIA and ADD. We thank them for the financial, moral and technical support and guidance we received from them. This enabled us to carry out democratic elections, revise UNAPD’s Constitution, approve the Strategic Plan for the next five years and generally account to our members. We look forward to continued good working relationship between the new Board and our partners in the year 2010 and beyond.
Finally, we call upon the general membership of UNAPD to work closely together with the Board as we struggle to fulfil our mission of “removing barriers in society that prevent people with physical disabilities from enjoying full rights on equal basis with other citizens”.
NB: For more related articles and pictures about GA, go to the November-December 2009 edition of UNAPD Newsletter