General News of Monday, 29 October 2018
Government has asked the Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu, to take steps to reconstitute a new Governing Council in accordance with the institution’s relevant statutes and relevant laws.
This comes days after the KNUST’s Governing Council was dissolved and another interim council was set up to manage the day to day activities of the school for three months.
A statement signed today, Monday, by the Minister Designate for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said the Council is expected to be reconstituted by Friday November 2, 2018.
The reconstituted council will take over from the interim Governing Council , according to the statement. There are reports that the Asantehene is unhappy with government’s handling of the issues, particularly when he had served notice to meet the stakeholders before government took certain decisions.
KNUST VC ordered to step aside
This comes hours after the Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, Professor Kwasi Obiri Danso, was asked to step aside.
The government informed the Vice-Chancellor to hand over to the Pro Vice-Chancellor.
An initial seven-member interim committee was tasked to manage KNUST after the school was shut down indefinitely on Tuesday following violent student protests.
Representatives of the University Teachers Association (UTAG), and the Teachers and Education Workers’ Union (TEWU) at KNUST, were later added to the interim council. They have however rejected the council entirely, insisting that the old council should be restored.
Opposition to a new council
The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak had criticized the dissolution, saying the management of KNUST was being politicized.
“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 told the press in Parliament.
“When you put in the interim committee, and they find out that after all the university council did not act illegally, what do you do when you have already dissolved them? You don’t even have the power to do that. Within their statutes, they have enough provisions to deal with this.”
KNUST lecturers also 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 arrest of 10 students and one alumnus of the school compelled the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) to mobilise for the Monday protest.
The students were arrested for a holding vigil on campus last Friday without permission, according to the school authorities.
One other student who was allegedly mistreated by the internal security was hospitalised at the KNUST hospital.
The Executive Council of the SRC said the demonstration was needed 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 organisation 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.
The Police arrested 20 students following the incident. A day later, the school was closed down indefinitely.