Another Disappointing Statement

Oliver Tunde Andrews (image source: Africa Finance Corporation website)

Oliver Tunde Andrews, Chairman, Africa Centre, Board of Trustees and Council of Management (image source: Africa Finance Corporation website)

People, on Wednesday April 20th we received a reply from Oliver Tunde Andrews. Guess what it said?

Just to recap, on 13th April, Oliver Tunde Andrews, (Chairman of the Africa Centre’s board of trustees)_received a letter from Dr. Mpalive Msiska and other members of the Africa Centre requesting an extraordinary general meeting. According to the Africa Centre’s articles of association, the trustees are constitutionally bound to accept the call for an extraordinary general meeting called by its members.

Did Oliver Tunde Andrews’ response honour the spirit, or even the letter of the Africa Centre’s Articles of Association? No.

Guess what the reply was?

Yet another dismissive, patronising, and evasive response which has not addressed the main issue – that the trustees are taking a decision to do with this charity without consulting stakeholders, especially their members – or making clear adequate plans to ensure the survival of the Africa Centre. You can read the letter here.

The responses from the trustees get shorter and shorter as the questions grow bigger.

Perhaps, we need to start asking, what is motivating this level of evasiveness?

In the letter Oliver Andrews states that the signatories to the letter are not Africa Centre members according to their (the trustees) records. Yet, they appear unable to simply send trustee Boko Inyundo a list of current members, a request Boko Inyundo put to the trustees over 2 weeks ago. Under Company and Charity Law the trustees are duty bound to release this list to trustee Boko Inyundo or any member of the association on request. The apparent inability of the trustees to do so is yet another example of the mismanagement and lack of leadership of the Africa Centre that the Save the Africa Centre campaign is keen to address with immediate effect (see ‘Vision’ page on this blog).

It’s sad that it’s the Save the Africa Centre Campaign that has to remind Oliver Tunde Andrews, Bimpe Nkontchou and the other trustees of this:

Many of the members are co-opted or nominated members, in many instances, by the very people who are now disregarding their rights as members to be involved in the Africa Centre’s decision making process.

In the case of Dr. Mpalive, his participation in the Africa Centre’s existence is a matter of historical record, in particular, in challenging the last attempt at a sell-off by the trustees of the Africa Centre .

All signatories to the letter have confirmed their membership status. The burden of proof is not on them or Dr. Msiska to address. In short, if the trustees believe these people are not members – they should prove it. Or perhaps, they don’t know who their members are? The irony of Africa Centre’s trustees asking who their own members are cannot be lost on anyone. Why do trustees not know who the members of the association are?

We understand that the trustees are now desperately trying to identify who these members are! Why did trustees allow this organ to wither to such an extent that they appear unable to simply send or publish a public list of members? Why can Oliver Andrews not supply this list? Why can Graeme Jennings of Business of Culture not supply this list? Where is the Africa Centre’s secretary Akin Olukiran in all of this? Surely one of these individuals should have the list on file?

Isn’t this letter just the latest in a long line of blatantly transparent stalling tactics from a leadership that many believe is fast losing credibility and legitimacy.

What is there to hide, if they have the plans (not just soundbites) but detailed, written plans for ensuring the survival of the Africa Centre) and the decisions are all above board, what do the trustees have to hide from our request for an open, public forum involving Africa Centre members?

Dele Fatunla (on behalf of Save the Africa Centre Campaign)

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One thought on “Another Disappointing Statement

  1. Elizabeth says:

    It is extraordinarily dismal that the trustees have taken it upon themselves to decide that they are the sole people with any valid input to make into the future of the Africa Centre/this building. Anyone else would actively seek to get involvement from other stakeholders, the wider community that uses and values the centre. It is perverse that these ‘guardians’ take it upon themselves to exclude the very people that the Africa Centre was designed to serve.

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