Gov’t warns its officials, MPs against "arm flexing" in UEW impasse

Prof Yankah[/caption] Government has warned its officials and members of parliament who are engaged in what it described as arm flexing in the current impasse at the University of Education, Winneba, to cease forthwith. Minister of State in charge of tertiary education, Prof Kwesi Yankah said Wednesday that such officials ought to know that the government, the legislature and the university are autonomous of each other. “…of course you can display your enthusiasm in the interest and affairs of the University but there are limits. Over enthusiasm ought to be curbed,” he advised, adding “the arm flexing ought to stop; the arm flexing ought to be halted as soon as possible”. Power play at the university involving some top management staff has in the past year caused a seeming crisis in the school following what some described as unlawful removal of Prof Mawutor Avoke as the Vice chancellor. Several others including senior lecturers of the university, have since been sacked, suspended and demoted by Rev Prof Afful-Broni whose appointment as the VC was said to have been influenced by MP for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo Markin.

But barely a year after his investiture, the MP is pushing for the removal of his ‘friend’ Prof Afful-Broni, something that has been backed by the student body and the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG). The calls for Afful-Broni’s removal or resignation was among other things, necessitated by the recent crisis stemming from the latest dismissal of some senior lecturers of the university, including the local president of UTAG, Dr. Frimpong Kakyire Duku and Dr Emmanuel Osei Sarpong, who was accused of insubordination and thus misconduct.
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Don’t dabble in the crisis Commenting on issue at the national summit on tertiary education and enterprise development in Koforidua Wednesday, Prof. Yankah warned members of government who are dabbling in the affairs of the university should be advised against that. “They should know there is separation and distance between being a government official or a legislature in one hand and the university,” he stated. Nonetheless, he said should the university authorities fail to resolve the impasse which is negatively affective academic work, the government will step in as it will not sit aloof for what happened at the KNUST last year to occur at UEW. “Any situation that disturbs peaceful climate where students operate and lectures to research ought to be immediately arrested…when the climate is unstable, people cannot concentrate,” the minister said. Prof. Yankah said though demonstration is inevitable in some ways, it becomes a problem “when it becomes part and parcel of student culture. “Every week, every month there is a disturbances; it’s rapture. Look at what happened at KNUST, destruction of property of unmentionable dimensions,” he noted. The minister said the issues at the UEW is multifaceted for which reason “I don’t think one solution helps”. In his view, if the issues are not resolved immediately, it will be catastrophic for the UEW, but said “government is not going to sit down to allow [that]”. By Yvonne Neequaye||Ghana]]>