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Chancellor of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has expressed sadness over the events that led to the school’s closure on Monday, October 22.
“It is a pain I do not bear lightly,” he stated.
The Asantehene expressed this emotion on Tuesday when six new members of the Governing Council were sworn in at the Manhyia Palace.
The members – four to represent government and one each to represent the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) – were led by the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, to swear the oath of office.
Other members from the old Council representing other interest groups such as the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), however, remain unchanged.
Addressing the new members, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II disclosed he will set up a five-member committee to launch a “full and transparent inquiry” into the incidents that resulted in the destruction of property estimated at GH¢1.7 million.
Though the immediate cause of the violent demonstration on Monday, October 22 was attributed to the heavy-handedness by the KNUST security, the remote cause has been pointed to the conversion of single-sex halls of residence into mixed halls.
The Chancellor says a plethora of allegations has been bandied about since he attempted to know the cause of the violence.
“Everybody will be allowed in an open and frank manner,” he assured regarding the probe that will be conducted by the five-member committee.
He noted that the committee will be headed by a judge and will be inaugurated in due course.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II was concerned some elements ignored the official channels to express their frustrations over some decisions taken by management of the school.
“There is always recourse to the good office of the Chancellor.”
He particularly mentioned how some alumni and students had petitioned him over some of the decisions taken and how he had assured them of redress.
He, therefore, expressed worry over the violent march by some while he was away to have things their way.
According to him, such stance cannot be part of the “values” of KNUST.
For him, he will not superintend over any action which is likely to result in bloodshed.
He said next year will be the 20th anniversary of his installation as King of the Ashanti Kingdom and he wants peace to prevail over a university that has been bequeathed to him.
The king of the Ashantis said he would want the new Council to reopen the school and recall students on Wednesday, November 14 for full academic work to begin.
But that will be a matter of discussion by the newly inaugurated Council, which meets immediately.