General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, is laying blame at the doorstep of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the ongoing saga at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the University of Education, Winneba (UEW).
According to him, by ignoring the date set by the Supreme Court for ruling on the University of Education's attempt to dissolve the Council, and going ahead to swear-in a new Vice Chancellor, suggests his involvement per the “captain planet” style he adopted in the dissolution of KNUST Governing Council and the removal of the Vice Chancellor.
“What happened at University of Education, Winneba clearly shows that the rampage that occurred on KNUST campus where the Governing Council was dissolved and the Vice-Chancellor made to step aside, had the tacit support of Nana Addo. The MP at Winneba (Efutu MP, Hon Afenyo-Markin) and some NPP activists were used as the attack-dogs to frustrate the University authorities. They also schemed to have the case assigned to a local judge who gave a bad ruling and now it has to take the Supreme Court to reverse it,” he asserted on Okay FM’s Ade Akye Abia Morning Show on Thursday.
Asiedu Nketiah’s comment was borne out of the fact that the governing council of the University of Education, Winneba, dismissed five principal officers of the institution a couple of months ago.
The five are the Vice-Chancellor who was serving a suspension, Professor Mawutor Avoke, Finance Officer, Dr. Theophilus Senyo Ackorlie, Daniel Tetteh, Mary Dzimey and Frank Owusu Boateng.
A Winneba High Court in 2017 ordered Professor Mawutor Avoke, to step aside until a case brought against him and the University’s Governing Council is determined.
However, before the substantive claims were looked into, the University, through its lawyers, applied to the court to dismiss the suit on the three counts, but the application was dismissed.
The High Court subsequently found Professor Avoke, and the school’s Finance Officer, Dr. Theopholus Senyo Ackorlie, guilty of procurement and other financial irregularities.
To General Mosquito, as he is known in social circles, President Akufo-Addo, considered as a renowned lawyer, has embarrassed himself with the way he stormed the campus of KNUST to usurp the powers of the Governing Council, since a military government would not even have acted the way he did.
“The way the government handled the KNUST saga was wrong . . . but it has become the norm of this Akufo-Addo government to always interfere in the academic freedom of independent university governing councils. This government does not allow independent institutions to stand on their own."
“ . . Nana Addo behaves as if he is ‘captain planet' appearing at every given opportunity to cause destruction. It is part of the reasons why his government is not doing well in this country,” he added.
He wondered if the eyes of a Presidential Candidate sees differently immediately the person becomes President on account of Akufo-Addo's conduct.
“Is it not the same Nana Addo who campaigned on and championed the rule of law? How could he have sworn-in another Vice Chancellor to head UEW when the case was before the Supreme Court and the date for the ruling was made known to him? Now, the Supreme Court has knocked him down unanimously by ruling against his decision. How is he going to tell the new VC he swore-in to step aside for the old VC to continue his work?” he quizzed.
He therefore warned the President against any attempt to reverse the ruling of the Supreme Court on the UEW case by appointing more judges at the Supreme Court as Ghanaians are watching him keenly.
“These two incidents the President interfered with indicate that his government does not believe in academic freedom but mere political antics. I am proposing that in the next national awards, one should be given to the President as someone who breaks down institutions . . . they want to subject everything to the wrong exercise of the President’s power,” he stated.
General Mosquito further catalogued a number of public institutions with independent powers that President Akufo-Addo has destroyed since he assumed the mantle of leadership.
" . . the Bank of Ghana’s independence has been destroyed by sacking the Governor and his deputies . . . the Electoral Commission’s Chairperson, Madam Charlotte Osei and her deputies sacked . . . the President also nearly succeeded in having the Auditor-General relieved of his post but for the timely intervention of the general public . . . and now he has turned his attention to the Universities, seeking to sack Vice Chancellors and dissolve their Governing Councils," he enumerated.
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