General News of Wednesday, 24 October 2018
An associate professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana Ransford Gyampo has called on university students to reclaim the glory days when they were referred to as the conscience of the nation.
“And I make this call to all students of Ghana. They should resist the temptations coming from politicians. They should prevent politicians from infiltrating into their ranks,” Prof. Gyampo told Morning Starr host Francis Abban Tuesday.
His call comes amid the violent protests at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
A peaceful demonstration turned violent at the university campus on Monday leading to the destruction of school and staff properties by the students.
The university has since been shut down with all students asked to go home until further notice.
According to Prof. Gyampo, when the country was ushered into the fourth republic, politicians who were aware of the vibrant role that students have played, right from independence just decided to take advantage of student activism.
“They did this by going to the various university campuses to establish their branches for student bodies to be able to mobilize their support base for them.
But the hidden objective was to divide student ranks and student front on the partisan line. And once you succeed in dividing student front on partisan line, there, then you are unable to get a critical mass of students who think alike,” he said.
“Again, in the lead up to the election of student executives, these same politicians would ensure that they do not want an election of any executive who will come in to mobilize students against them.
“And so they go in to sponsor campaigns and to influence those who will get elected as student leaders to ensure that whoever is elected will be in bed with the authorities. These tendencies have destroyed student activism,” he added.
When quizzed as to whether the call by the students for the removal of the Vice-Chancellor should be heeded to, he said “if the matter can be resolved amicably, let it be resolved amicably and let university authorities know that it is a democratic world.
And the re-ascension of student activism suggests to me that nobody can force any decision down the throat of students and once this understanding is clear, then I’m sure there will be no need for anybody to ask for the head of the Vice-Chancellor.
He added, “but if there is intransigence, then in the wisdom of students, if they think that the Vice-Chancellor should go, so be it.”
Professor Gyampo advised the university leadership to be mindful that the country is not in a dictatorship.
“We’ve practised democracy for well over 20 years, it has stayed with us for long and so they should appreciate the dogmas of democratic tenets which also include dialogue and tolerance.
“Whatever decision they may formulate, it is important that they dialogue with students regarding its implementation so that there can be peace.”