General News of Friday, 26 October 2018
The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, has said the leadership of the Students Representative Council (SRC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), must be held responsible for the student protests that turned violent on Monday.
The MP also told the press in Parliament on Friday that students who took part in the acts of vandalism must be prosecuted.
“As for the students, because of the rampaging, it is a criminal offence and must be treated as a crime. The SRC has to be held responsible. We need to go through the footage and get the students who were holding the sticks and get them prosecuted,” he said.
Mr. Muntaka said the prosecution “is to remind the youth that whereas you can always seek your rights, it comes with responsibilities.”
The protests, in reaction to alleged brutality and abuse of power by campus security and KNUST management, led to numerous cars and school property being damaged.
On why he is holding the SRC responsible, he reminded Ghanaians that the student body mobilized people for the protest, and so they should have known that the demonstration will turn violent when they saw students with sticks and clubs.
Whilst sympathizing with the plight of the students, he stressed that “they needed to hold a peaceful demonstration.”
He further recalled that when the Rawlings administration wanted to introduce the academic user fees in the 90s, KNUST students were resolute in their demonstrations but “not even an egg was cracked.”
Lack of remorse from SRC
An executive of the SRC told Citi News the protests were a necessary evil to air their concerns.
According to the executive who spoke on condition of anonymity, no alternative action would have compelled the management to put an end to its abuse to students.
“For some time, management run the school without giving credence to students’ leadership. They disregard us in a way and we are just disgruntled. So what happened yesterday was a necessary evil. Let us admit that.”
The arrest of 10 students and one alumnus of the school compelled the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) to mobilize for the Monday protest.
The students were arrested for a holding vigil on campus without permission, according to the school authorities.
One other student who was allegedly manhandled by the internal security was hospitalized at the KNUST hospital.
The Executive Council of the SRC said the demonstration was necessary to convey students’ frustration over disrespect and oppression by the school.
The arrests came after the KNUST management served notice that it had suspended the organization of vigils (morales) in the school.
The management said this was because of “several negative issues encountered recently concerning morales in the hall.”
Some of the protesters called for the removal of the Vice-Chancellor.
The SRC said the actions of the campus security and the police officers were a “gross deviation” because the two agencies were instead to protect them.
The Council also promised students that it would ensure the security officers who allegedly beat up students are held accountable while urging students to remain calm.
Over 20 students were arrested following the incident and later granted bail. The school was later closed down indefinitely.
Katanga alumni masterminded violent demonstration – KNUST management
Management of KNUST later accused some alumni of the Katanga Hall who are still peeved about the conversion of the single-sex hall into a mixed-hall, of masterminding and infiltrating the protest to cause the damages that took place.
Strike by lecturers
KNUST lecturers have declared an indefinite strike over the government’s dissolution of the university’s governing council.
The lecturers said they do not support the government’s arbitrary decision without due consultation with them and also sidelining the Vice Chancellor of the University from the interim council.
The local chapter of UTAG in a statement signed by its President, Prof. Eric K. Forkuo, indicated that it is opposed to the dissolution as it “frowns on the autonomy of the University and smacks of political interference.”
KNUST administrators declare strike over dissolution of governing council
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) chapter of the Association of University Administrators (GAUA), has also declared an indefinite strike over the dissolution of the school’s governing council by the government.
Dissolution of KNUST governing council dangerous for democracy – Minority
Mr. Muntaka himself described the dissolution as a threat to Ghana’s democracy.
“You are politicizing the council and that is dangerous because you are going to give political actors the chance to go into universities and do what they wish and that is dangerous for our democracy and very dangerous for all of us,” he also told the press in Parliament.