It is a great week, a marvelous week actually. It is the first week at the community centre since the 2012 Annual General Meeting. Walking into the GALCK centre one can sense an aura of newness, anticipation and excitement. It would be a lie if we did not mention the anxiety that always comes with change and a new beginning. The LGBTI and queer community in Kenya has embarked on a journey of transformation and transition that started when the first voice was raised by a community member, on their dissatisfaction with GALCK and its reach. It is impossible to tell where that voice was located but after it, many more voices followed from everywhere, loud enough to hear and act upon in unity.
The AGM was the first to be held in the past two years; this lead to the assumption that GALCK holds Biennial General Meetings and not Annual General Meetings. It was only during the drafting of community proposed constitutional amendments that it became clear that this was indeed an AGM, a fact made clear at the opening of the meeting on Friday the 31st of August.
The much communicated consultative process running to the AGM ensured that the General Meeting was a community driven meeting. This process will continue beyond last weekend. There will be a series of events including a community feedback meeting, similar to the August 4th Community Forum. Communication shall be forthcoming on this. This last quarter of 2012 shall continue to shape the future of GALCK as the face of the LGBTI movement in the country.
As we await the completion of the full AGM report, here are the highlights of the AGM:
8 New Member Groups
A total of 8 new groups were voted into the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya. On the first day of the AGM (31st of August), 10 new groups made their application presentation to the AGM. These were Tamba Pwani, Upper Rift Minorite, Lesbos, Minority Persons Empowerment Group (MPEG), Q-Initiative, Kenya Youth Development and Education Association (KYDESA), PurpleHaze, Ukweli Mombasa, Tree Kenya and HOYMAS.
PurpleHaze (a Nairobi based bisexual group), requested not to be voted on at that time. They chose to apply further down the line for membership. Tree Kenya, a group that focuses on psychosocial and spiritual support for the LBGTI community, failed to get the minimum one member group recommendation that was required for them to go for voting. HOYMAS (a Community Based Organization serving male sex workers and men who have sex with men living with HIV and AIDS), and UKWELI (Mombasa based MSM health organization) were voted in on day two (1st September) after a recount was decided on by the general meeting through a vote by all member groups.
The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya now total 14 full-member groups. The full AGM report will give more details on the groups.
The process through which the board was elected was unprecedented and needed constitutional amendments. The necessary amendments were unanimously approved and voted for. The current board was constituted on a caucus basis, where each of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex caucuses ended up with a board representation through an individual who identifies as such. The process was democratic and maximized as much as possible that the board be voices of the community. As such, the final list of nominees within a caucus did not come from the 14 member organizations, but from caucus discussions that were open to the entire General Meeting. There was an emphasis on having a decentralized geographical representation in the board. After a rigorous process, a board of five persons who individually identify as L – G – B – T – I was nominated and voted in. They are new faces, with the exception of one who had served one term in the last board and was still eligible for re-election. The outgoing board will in the next few weeks go through a hand-over process.
At the General Meeting, a proposed transition team presented by the earlier six member groups was ratified by the current membership of 14 groups. The Transition Team that is already in place is tasked with ensuring that the GALCK transition process, dubbed the GM Process, goes on smoothly. The team comprises a member of the GALCK Secretariat, one of the moderators of the GM Process, an outgoing Board member and an identified expert on Organizational Development.
The General Meeting closed at around 10:30pm on Saturday the 1st of September. Despite this late hour, there remained some unfinished business.
a. Audit Reports
A presentation of the Audit Report yielded questions and a small team was instituted to collate and present issues that needed clarification. This team of three was made up of finance persons and individuals from different member organizations. They presented their questions which demanded that the GALCK finance office to do a concise report in a format that was properly detailed and understandable to all. This could not be done within the time available. It was agreed that the Finance office is to provide these answers to the team of three who will then give their recommendations of the way forward. In addition, it was also agreed that the six old member groups should present their financial reports for the last financial year.
b. Constitutional Amendment
As stated earlier the board elections followed a design that had never been used before. All the 14 member groups voted to make the necessary constitutional amendments that would reflect what happened at the General Meeting. There are also issues that came out during discussion groups that necessitate changes to the constitution that would permit other proposed changes to structure, mandate, engagements, service provision etc. These would be included in the revised constitution through a continued community engagement.
c. Staff Transitioning
As they articulate and begin implementing the recommendations of the community including a proposed new organogram, the Transitioning Team will in the meanwhile work with the secretariat to oversee the responsibilities of vacant positions, which include the Finance Officer and Legal and Human Rights Officer responsibilities, as well as those of the outgoing General Manager who is handing over to this team.
The full AGM report will be made available soon and will provide many more details.
Source – GALCK