Gov’t deliberately stifling amicable resolution of KNUST imbroglio – Ablakwa

MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

Former Deputy Minister for Education, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has reiterated earlier assertions by some organisations and persons that government is to blame for current mishaps at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, accuses government of intentionally frustrating efforts by concern stakeholders in bringing matters to rest at KNUST which will lead to the reopening of the University to students.

“Government’s conduct or shall we be more honest and call it misconduct in deliberately stifling an amicable resolution of the KNUST imbroglio only goes as far as to confirm that Government has indeed been the problem all along,” he indicated in a statement posted on his Facebook wall.

The Member of Parliament for North Tongu Constituency, said failure to restore the old council of KNUST on the expected date which was November 2, 2018 clearly exposes government’s unwillingness to support stakeholders to find lasting solution to the dispute.

He said, “Per the road map agreed with key stakeholders after Government’s abortive coup, KNUST’s University Council ought to have been restored last Friday the 2nd of November, 2018. This would have given us concrete hope that by this week students could be returning to a re-opened campus. Further stalemate and more harm especially to KNUST’s international image would thus have been avoided.”

The legislator further questioned government’s intention to meddle in the selection of persons to represent UTAG, TEWU, SRC, GRASAG and other bodies on the University’s Council.

While expressing shock at the inability of government to reinstate the old University Council, Mr. Ablakwa indicated that the dissolution was an “unlawful action”.

“If Government succeeds with this, what next? Would Government now decide who are elected as leaders/executive of these entities? Would Government begin to determine which lecturer and or member of staff gets promoted? Would Government henceforth control or place fetters on the kind of research permitted in our higher institutions of learning? Would Government then determine who gets admission into KNUST and other universities for that matter?” Mr. Ablakwa quizzed.

He further blamed the Akufo-Addo led administration for masterminding the troubles at other state owned tertiary institutions including the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Cape Coast Polytechnic.

The North Tongu lawmaker, touted the efforts of the embattled Chancellor of the KNUST, Prof Obiri Danso, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, UTAG, TEWU, the school’s SRC and others for “resisting Government’s misguided and dangerous maneuvers” as he strongly believes “we are all at risk if Government succeeds”.

Government dissolved the governing Council of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) after a violent protest by students leading to the closure of the institution.

The Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, Professor Kwasi Obiri Danso, was asked to step aside and hand over to the Pro Vice-Chancellor.

A seven-member interim council was put in place to manage the school until a lasting solution is found to the dispute between students and management of the KNUST following a recommendation by Minister for Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh.

Representatives of the University Teachers Association (UTAG), and the Teachers and Education Workers’ Union (TEWU) at KNUST who were later added to the interim council after opposing it, however, rejected the council entirely, insisting that the old be restored and the Vice Chancellor reinstated.

The reinstitution of the board which was supposed to be done last Friday could not come off as TEWU and UTAG members accused the Minister of state in charge of Tertiary Education, Prof Kwesi Yankah, of interfering in the process of selecting representatives on the council.

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II who is the Chancellor of the university, has been leading the reconstitution agenda following its dissolution by the government.

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