As A Ghanaian, I Am Sad – Kweku Baako

Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr says attempts by numerous authorities to stop University of Ghana (UG) from collecting user charges and the university’s unwillingness to stop is ‘a vote for constitutional lawlessness’.

The University received a lot of flaking after they decided to collect tolls to offset a $2.3 million loan they acquired to construct roads on the campus.

The argument was that the University had no locus to embark on such action. Government tried to stop them by indicating their willingness to pay the loan.

Parliament then tasked the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport to investigate and find out the circumstances under which the university was permitted to collect the tolls.

However, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Ebo Barton-Odro, has retracted and withdrawn the directive for the Committee to conduct the investigate saying some students of the university had already filed a suit at the Supreme Court challenging the right and authority of the university to collect the user charges and, therefore, any investigation by Parliament would prejudice the case before the court.

Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport, Mr. Theophilus Tetteh Chaie, told ‘Daily Graphic’ that the university acted within the law in its imposition of the tolls. He said the University of Ghana Act, 2010, (Act 806) empowered the institution to impose the tolls.

As if that was not enough, the National Security Council (NSC) demolished some of the tollbooth erected by the University indicating that it was of a public nuisance.

Meanwhile, the authorities of the University proved unperturbed as they continued collecting the tolls.

Analyzing all of these reactions Kweku Baako said: “It is a vote for constitutional lawlessness and organized chaos and that is the picture we are painting; to that extent, as a Ghanaian, I am sad”

Narrowing on the demolition of the tollbooth, Kweku Baako described the act as inappropriate because public nuisance has nothing to do with national security.

He told Kwami Sefa-Kayi on Peace FM’s ‘Kokrokoo’ that even though he was against the collection of the tolls, the NSC could have handled the situation better by informing the authorities of the University of their decision to pull down the structures.

“I don’t know the legal basis for the action…does public nuisance constitute national security. We have not been told that it was a national security threat…the matter could have been handled with finesse; without any difficulty…it was needless and avoidable,” he added.