Ex-WEOC board member at center of Conway NAACP dispute

sjones@thesunnews.comDecember 21, 2012 

— There are some who say Conway activist Abdullah Mustafa has been elected president of the Conway branch of the NAACP.

Others say he hasn’t.

That there would be controversy surrounding Mustafa’s election or non-election won’t surprise area residents who remember him from his tenure on the board of the Waccamaw Economic Opportunity Council.

Mustafa was confrontational with the agency’s staff and other directors who did not agree with him. He and eventually-ousted board chairman Zacharius Grate were said to be interfering in the day-to-day operations of the agency, which is against state law, and routinely ignored board bylaws in governing the agency and the board.

Other board members forced Mustafa into a new election for his seat and then refused to seat him when he won that vote.

Eventually, though, Grate was ousted for conduct unbecoming an officer of the board, a step which state and federal oversight officials insisted needed to be taken.

Carlisle Dixon, vice president of the NAACP’s Conway branch, said Mustafa has been elected, and his goal is to attract new members to the organization and to have more involvement in the community.

Mustafa interrupted a telephone call from The Sun News Friday to answer another call. He said he would call back but didn’t.

Neither the national nor state NAACP offices on Friday were able to confirm or deny the existence of a complaint from the Conway branch about the situation.

Dixon said Friday that the matter is resolved, anyway. He said that Mustafa told him the chairman of the branch’s nominating committee has a letter from the national office saying that a complaint about Mustafa’s takeover has no merit.

Dixon said he had not seen the letter but was trying to get a copy.

“It has not been resolved,” said Ann Anderson, for four years the president of the Conway branch. “Unh-uh. No it has not.”

Anderson and Dixon agree that the branch’s bylaws say its elections will be held in November, when Dixon said Mustafa was elected. Anderson said the bylaws also stipulate that elections will not considered official if there is a controversy.

In this case, she said, some Conway branch members voted at an election called by the nominating committee. The bylaws say the branch must call elections, Anderson said.

Further, she said that Mustafa and his allies declared that someone other than the actual head of the nominating committee was its leader.

Dixon said that meetings under Anderson’s leadership have been marked with little or no activity and suggested the branch needs some new energy. He said Anderson declared before the election (or non-election) that she was running for the office Dixon holds and then nominated someone else as president.

But Dixon said Anderson’s presidential nominee died days after his name was put in the hat and Anderson then said she was running for the president’s seat.

“She’s not satisfied with the results,” Dixon said of Anderson’s protest of the election.

Anderson said her protest went to both the state and national NAACP offices. If the national office had sent a letter to any chairman of the nominating committee, she would have gotten a copy as well, she said.

“I don’t know of any letter,” she said Friday. “I have not seen any letter.”

Besides, Anderson said that the state or national NAACP holds hearings on complaints such as hers at which she and Dixon would be able to offer testimony.

That has not happened either, she said.

Anderson said Mustafa ran unsuccessfully in each of the last two elections to become branch president.

The state and national offices, she said, are investigating.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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