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Gov’t kicks against old KNUST council members on new council

Gov't kicks against old KNUST council members on new councilGovernment is insisting no old member of the dissolved KNUST governing council is maintained on the new one being constituted by the chancellor of the university.

A November 2 deadline was set for the new council to be constituted but due to government’s disagreement with various stakeholder groups with representation on the KNUST council, that could not be met.

According to the government, it reached an agreement with the various groups to nominate new persons to the new council, however, the groups say the government cannot dictate to them on the issue.

They have insisted on maintaining the old members on the dissolved council on the new one being put together by Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

But that, according to the government, should not be the case since those old members will be a subject of investigations in events leading to the KNUST crisis that led to the closure of the university.

“Government’s position on the membership of the new council is that individuals who sat on the old council ought not to be on the new council,” Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said on Monday.

He explained this stems from the fact that “the old council is a party to the impasse” between the university and the student body.

The specific persons who constituted the old council cannot therefore be part of the new council to superintend over “the matters which their own decisions and conducts will be the subject” of investigations when the university, he said.

Gov't kicks against old KNUST council members on new council
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah

In his view, just as the actions of students, student leaders, school management and council will be subjects of the full investigations when the university reopens, it is important to ensure that the council that is put in place “has the freedom of hand” to carry out that exercise.

Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said while government is not interested in who the various stakeholder groups including UTAG, TEWU and GRASAG, nominate to be on the new council, it is not right for them to present the old persons who sat on the old council.

The government he said is seeking to avoid a situation where the people will become “their own judges”.

“It is important to note that in the matter of who sits on the KNUST Council, the KNUST Act requires representatives from those groups, it does not ask for specific individuals,” he pointed out.

He added “Government is not also interested in deciding which specific individuals they nominate; we are not interested in that. The principle of specific persons who will become their own judges is what government is against”.

The Minister said it was regrettable that the November 2 deadline was missed, but said the government notwithstanding, remains committed to the processes to ensure that a new council is put in place by November 8.

“Regrettably we missed the Friday November 2 timeline…but we are hopeful that all the parties will cooperate” so that the new council is formed and inaugurated to take over from the interim one, he said.

He said the government has proposed its new members to the KNUST, adding government’s understanding is that “two other groups; CHASS and NCTE have also done so”.

“Our expectation is that once the chancellor receives the full complement of the names, the office of the chancellor will refer them to the appointing authority; that is the president for the next steps. The council of state will give its approval and the final inauguration is expected to be done by the appointing authority,” he said.

Background

Disagreement between the student body and management of the university culminated into a violent protest last Monday leading to destruction of property by the agitating students who have accused the university management of arbitrariness and disregard for their rights.

The violent event, which started from last Friday, forced the Ashanti Regional Security Council to close down the university on Monday.

Government on Thursday, October 25 dissolved the government council of the university based on the recommendation of its fact-finding delegation led by the Education Minister, which held discussions with the feuding party on October 23.

An interim governing council chaired by the Paramount Chief of Bompata Traditional Area, Nana Effa Apenteng has been put in place to run the university for the next three months.

As part of its mandate, is to ensure the university reopens within 14 days for academic work to resume.

But the constitution of the interim council triggered declaration of strike by the University Teachers Association of Ghana and the KNUST administrators among other stakeholders.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana

 

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