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UTAG accuses govt of plotting to remove KNUST VC

The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) says the exclusion of the Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST from the Interim Council was a “smokescreen” aimed at removing Prof Kwame Obiri-Danso.

According to Dr Eric Opoku Mensah, President of UTAG, the action by government by dissolving the council and inaugurating a new one “was most disappointing.”

“We are appalled, we are surprised at what is happening, if government decides that it is going to set up an Interim Management Committee, government decides to put the SRC president there, forget about other major stakeholders and forget about the Vice Chancellor himself, this is surprising.”

“We saw this coming and we know what government wants to do with respect to the future of the Vice Chancellor. The comments that were given by individuals that are associated with government, all lend credence to what is happening. Now instead of going to attack the Vice Chancellor direct, you set up a committee…even in secondary schools, when students have gone on demonstration to destroy school property, a committee is not set up to operate and run the secondary school, students are suspended and management is given the free hand, even the headmaster without a strong management team by the nature of the way our secondary schools are run, is given the hand and at the end of the day, investigations are conducted, the right things are done.”

Adding, Dr Opoku Mensah questioned: “How does government say that the whole council which has been established by law, everybody should go and that set them aside and bring different people to come and manage.”
The government on Thursday afternoon announced the dissolution of the KNUST Governing Council and inaugurated a seven-member Interim Council with a three-month tenure.

Dr Opoku Mensah in a radio interview on Accra based Joy FM responding to the dissolution said “what is happening has been given force by the series of statements that have been made on social media platforms, which we talked about and on radio discussions.”

“If the government means well, then the government would have used the reps [representatives] that he government has appointed to carry out whatever they want to do with the same council. We are surprised about this development and UTAG is not going to take kindly to this, we think what is happening is unfair to the Vice Chancellor, students that we teach, you put the students who themselves are complicit in what is happening on KNUST campus on the council to investigate who, and you put the Chief Executive aside and you say that they should investigate in three months, they should make a determination as to the future of the Vice Chancellor, we think this is unfair… government has virtually spat in the face of lecturers in this country.”

He said UTAG are major stakeholders in education in universities in Ghana and “we are not going to sit down for this thing to happen. The politicians should get ready to come and teach. We are going to meet and we will come out tomorrow [Friday],” he said

“I think that nobody in this country should bend backwards to satisfy students because of populism, this is unfair to lecturers in this country. We are major stakeholders, our children, our nieces are involved and we also care about what is happening but with this decision by government, I am disappointed, and so are my members and we are certainly not going to take kindly to this one,” Dr Opoku Mensah said.