THE PAN AFRICAN WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION (PAWA)
Roman Ridge, Cantonments, Accra, Ghana.
Monday November 1, 2021.
REJOINDER TO; ‘’IS PAWA DEAD OR ALIVE?’’ WRITTEN BY MR THERSON COFIE IN THE MIRROR OF SATURDAY OCTOBER 30, 2021
The attention of the Pan African Writers’ Association (PAWA) has been drawn to the above-named article which appeared in the Saturday, October 30, 2021, edition The Mirror newspaper, Accra, Ghana.
As the current Secretary General, I wish to make the following clarifications to correct some of misconceptions in the said publication.
1.I was appointed the Secretary General in an Interim Capacity through a letter Reference PAWA/REL/NIG/VOL.01/20/01 dated 12th June 2020 and signed by the then Emeritus Professor Femi Osofisan as the Interim PAWA President and Chairman of The PAWA Council on behalf of the erstwhile PAWA Council.
However, due to the physical Lockdown as a result of the COVID -19 Pandemic, whereby Land and Air borders were closed, I could only resume office at the Accra, Ghana Headquarters of the Association on August 26, 2020.
2.It is pertinent to note that prior to my appointment, PAWA was under the management of an ad hoc Steering Committee which was set up to run the affairs of the Association after the demise of the former Secretary General, Prof Atukwei Okai in 2018.
3.Upon my resumption of office, I set about to fulfill the terms of my engagement which included a complete reorganization of PAWA in line with its constitution. In addition, I was asked to put in place an Interim Council and to arrange for a Congress to hold (the first time in 28 years) before the end of my interim appointment which was fixed as July 2022.
In line with the above, my Management team and I went into action with a number of activities which included;
1.Meetings with National Associations of Writers in several African countries. Due to the restrictions on Travelling as well as PAWA’s poor financial situation, many of these meetings were held by Zoom while some, such as the meetings with Togo, Nigeria, Congo Kinshasa and Egypt were done physically
2.Through the above meetings, many National Associations have resumed their active membership of PAWA after their complaints of being sidelined by the previous PAWA administration had been attended to. One very important resolution from the meetings with the Writers Organization was that unlike in the past when all PAWA’S activities were domiciled in Ghana, PAWA’S activities will now be spread to other countries in order to give these members a feeling of belonging to PAWA. This gesture has greatly improved the willingness of Member Countries to pay their annual subscription to PAWA.
The Council has since held meetings by Zoom and Council members are fully involved in all PAWA’s Activities including plans to hold a Congress where permanent positions for the Council and the position of the Secretary General will be decided.
1.Various courtesy visits to Government Agencies and members of the Diplomatic Communities both within and outside Ghana have taken place. The results of these consultations have led to several collaborations with PAWA which have further improved the Association’s financial strength as well as its local and international image.
2. Organization of several Literary activities such as Seminars, Workshops,
3.Publications as well as Prize Competitions in PAWA’s official languages of English, French, Swahili, Arabic and Portuguese. Many of these activities took place Online because of the restrictions in physical gatherings as a consequence of the COVID -19 Pandemic
In order to encourage the teeming population of young writers, many Literary activities were put in place specifically for this very important group of writers. One of these is the ongoing UN SDG Children Book Club where the PAWA’s Secretary General holds office as Chairman, Management Committee.
2.Three major publications; a collection of Short Stories from African Writers, A Collection of Children’s Stories as well as a Book of Poetry and Essays in honor of an important African leader have been published by PAWA and will soon be released.
Since assumption of office, the Secretary General has been involved in several Literary activities in Ghana where he has played very important roles on behalf of PAWA. These include but not limited to; The Ghana International Book Fair, The Pye Gya Book Fair, The Accra Book Fair, Numerous School Outreach Reading Programs, Book Launches, Celebration of The World Kids Literature Festival, Literary Workshops for Youths and Students, Book Donations among other numerous literary activities.
1.It is also important to clarify that Ghana as the host country to PAWA is currently carrying out this very important and highly laudable role through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture which has a very cordial relationship with PAWA. Contrary to the publication in question, the Ghana Association of Writers (GAW) is not hosting PAWA. In line with PAWA’s Constitution, GAW is just one of the other 52 National African Writers Organizations that are under PAWA’s jurisdiction.
2.The 2020 African Writers Day celebration was duly marked on November 7, 2020, as a hybrid event (Physical and Virtual) here in Accra, Ghana in line with COVID- 19 protocols which has a restriction to physical gathering. In addition, in agreement with other Member Countries to spread PAWA’s activities to other countries, the 2021 African Writers Day Celebration (which has been pushed forwards to November 9 because November 7 fell on a Sunday) will be Co Hosted by PAWA and the Togo Writers Association in Lomé, Togo.
While the robust efforts by PAWA since the assumption of office of the current Secretary General to publicize its activities (through the Press and PAWA’S Website as well as her various social Platforms) have been applauded by Country Members of the Association including her partners and friends in Ghana, it is highly regrettable that the article in question could attempt to paint a picture of a non- existing Organization.
Having said this, the COVID- 19 protocols of restriction in physical gatherings which necessitated PAWA’S copious use of the virtual means of communication and meetings may have been responsible for this bias on the side of the writer who may not be conversant with the electronic era. It is hoped that as the rule on restriction of physical gatherings are relaxed, PAWA will also increase the rate of its physical activities.
Finally, PAWA including its Secretary General is not infallible. Therefore, comments and suggestions about the running of the Association from recognized Member Countries (since PAWA only recognizes membership through Country Members and not through individuals) will be welcomed at the next PAWA’S Congress which will take place, God willing next year.
Secretary General, Pan African Writers Association
(Past National President, Association of Nigerian Authors; 2006-2009)
(Former Nigerian Member of Parliament; 2003-2007)
CC: All National Writers Associations
PAWA’S Website and Electronic Platforms
African Press Agencies.