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Otumfuo rescues KNUST

botchway October 30, 2018

By Frederick E. Aggrey      .

The old adage that “Opanin di Panin“, literally meaning “an elder is truly an elder” has been  brought to bear on the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) impasse, as the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has stepped in to rescue the deteriorating situation.

The Asantehene, who also doubles as the Chancellor of the university, has been asked by the government to reconstitute the university’s Governing Council, following the current state of affairs, relative to the issue.

It is expected, per correspondence from the Ministry of Information, and signed by the Information Minister-designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, that the prominent chief reconstitutes the new council by November 2, 2018, which is expected to take over from the interim governing council formed earlier.

The statement added: “On Monday October 29th, 2018, government requested the Chancellor of the University to lead the next steps in reconstituting the University Council in accordance with the university’s statutes and relevant laws.”

According to the statement, “the reconstituted council will take over from the Interim Council.”

The statement further stated: “Government has subsequently engaged with UTAG and updated the Association accordingly. UTAG has undertaken to restore its services, cooperate in resolution efforts, and encourage other stakeholders to join resolution efforts.”

Background

Students of KNUST, on Monday, October 22, 2018, staged a demonstration, which was originally expected to be peaceful, on the school’s premises but led to the destruction of property.

The students had been demonstrating against alleged inhumane treatment by the university authorities.

The government intervened by closing down the university, dissolved the University Council, and in its place, constituted an Interim Governing Council.

The National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), on Thursday, October 25, 2018, also directed the KNUST Vice-Chancellor, Prof Kwasi Obiri Danso, to handover temporarily to the Pro Vice-Chancellor as part of the emergency and interim measures.

The Governing Council was also dissolved because the government holds it ultimately responsible for the failure to adequately manage internal matters of the university, leading to a breakdown of law and order.

“The interim measures were necessary to protect lives and property,” the government said.

Meanwhile, Richard Owusu-Akyaw reports from Kumasi that members of the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) have threatened to lay down their tools if the government does not listen to their grievances.

They have protested against the position of the government in a demonstration yesterday, displaying placards with inscriptions like: “No Obiri, No work”, “TEWU does not recognise ICM”, “No IMC in KNUST”, and “Napo must go” among others.

Their protest comes on the heels of the scrapping of the Governing Council of KNUST, which has been replaced with a nine-member Interim Management Committee, under the leadership of Nana Effah Appenteng, Chief of Bompata in Asante Akyem Central of the Ashanti Region.

The emergence of the ICM follows a protest by students of KNUST over the alleged domineering nature of the Vice Chancellor, Prof Kwasi Obiri-Danso, during which properties were vandalised by the students.

The local Chairman of KNUST TEWU, Mr. Charles Arthur, explained that their concern was that the dissolved council of the university be restored to deal with the situation at hand.

He argued that their grievance was not about their representation on the Interim Management Committee, but about the restoration of the dissolved council, which, they believe, is capable of dealing with the situation, with the assistance of the acts and statutes of the university, and, therefore, cannot be dissolved.

Chairman Arthur hoped the government would listen to them and restore the council to deal with the impasse and ensure the reopening of the university.

He said it was not out of place for TEWU to go on strike, since UTAG, GAUA and FUSAG had already gone on strike.

He said: “We are the major stakeholders in the running of the university and, therefore, management alone cannot run the university,” describing the position of the government as unfortunate.

“I want to assure you that if the council is restored, the school would be restored in the next five days, and not ten days.”

Meanwhile, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Chancellor of KNUST, has described the direction by the Council of Tertiary Education ordering the VC to step aside as unfortunate.

He is of the view that the VC is the head of the management of the institution, and that he reports to the Council on a quarterly basis.

In another development, the Ashanti King has held a crunch meeting with the scrapped council of KNUST, University Teachers Association (UTAG), TEWU and Students Representative Council (SRC) in Kumasi.

 

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