General News of Thursday, 1 November 2018
The Ghana National Association of ADR Practitioners (GNAAP) is urging all parties involved in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) impasse to resort to peaceful negotiations rather than violence.
The group says it is happy with the outcome of the various meetings of the stakeholders of KNUST since the closure of the University.
A statement signed by the president of GNAAP and released in Accra on Tuesday said the disturbances on the KNUST campus were unfortunate and caused by the authority’s “failure to proactively resort to interest-based approach to disputes management”.
“The effect of what happened transcends the four walls of the University. It is evident failure on the part of management of the University to pre-empt, engage and avert such an avoidable incident from happening.
“The University being a pride of the state could not have been left to suffer destruction in the name of it being autonomous, when its management had failed to proactively resort to interest-based approach to disputes management,” the statement said.
It continued, “In our assessment, interest-based approach in handling disagreement were lacking in the processes that were used by management of KNUST before the unfortunate incident happened.
“GNAAP is happy with the outcome of the various meetings of the stakeholders of KNUST stipulated in the press statement by the government on 29th October 2018”.
Following an emergency meeting with the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) in Kumasi, Authorities of KNUST has temporarily closed down the University.
This was after some aggrieved students of the University embarked on a violent demonstration on Monday, October 22, destroying property worth several thousands of Ghana Cedis.
What was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration by the students against what they described as brutalities by the University authorities on Monday turned violent as some of the aggrieved students went on the rampage.
The demonstrators smashed louvres, billboards, windscreens of parked vehicles, and other property of the University.
Below is the full statement of GNAAP
PRESS STATEMENT BY GHANA NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ADR PRACTITIONERS (GNAAP) ON THE KNUST INCIDENT
The impasse between the students of the University Hall (Katanga Hall) and the KNUST management which resulted in violent conflict is unfortunate and constituted a source of worry to all, particularly members of GNAAP.
Media reports were to the effect that some students sustained injuries from the brutalities of the KNUST security and the Police which triggered responses of destruction of properties by some of the students on demonstration to fully register their displeasure at the state of affairs at the University.
We are aware that the cost of the destruction caused by the students in financial terms which is yet to be assessed would run into millions of Ghana Cedis, not to mention the effect of the incident on the academic programmes of the University, as well as the effect thereof on the image of such an important public University.
The effect of what happened transcends the four walls of the University. It is evident failure on the part of management of the University to pre-empt, engage and avert such an avoidable incident from happening.
The University being a pride of the state could not have been left to suffer destruction in the name of it being autonomous when its management had failed to proactively resort to interest-based approach to disputes management. For that matter, we wish to commend the government for the swift interventional measures instituted to arrest the situation at the University. At this level of our development as a nation, we need courageous leaders who take the right decisions at the right time.
Conflicts are natural, unavoidable and essential aspects of human interactions. Conflicts serve as an alert to individuals, organisations, groups and communities about underlying tensions and social problems that exist. Conflicts also provide a pathway through which challenges to an oppressive status quo can be articulated and therefore serve as a tool for social change.
Therefore, when those in leadership and management of public institutions such as KNUST, proactively and efficiently resort to conflict resolution tools and apply them appropriately, situations such as what happened at KNUST would not happen.
Where there are diverse interests and many stakeholders, one cannot do without dialogue. No stakeholder must be taken lightly. Prominence must be given to every stakeholder to avoid marginalization and power play for cohesion and growth. In our assessment, interest based approach in handling disagreement were lacking in the processes that were used by management of KNUST before the unfortunate incident happened.
GNAAP is happy with the outcome of the various meetings of the stakeholders of KNUST stipulated in the press statement by the government on 29th October, 2018.
Our assessment of the parties from the statement issued on 29th October, 2018 indicated that the various stakeholders meeting were fruitful because the government team showed great leadership and all stakeholders present lived above personal considerations, focusing only on the wellbeing of KNUST. This is what is termed interest based approached in handling problems.
We therefore recommend that the government, chancellor and all stakeholders present at various meetings and all involved in managing the remaining issues to live above reproach and be pragmatic in their engagement for a smooth restoration of the University.
President of GNAAP