Professor Akwasi Asabere Ameyaw
Professor Akwasi Asabere Ameyaw

Members of the University Teachers of Ghana (UTAG) at the University of Education, Winneba, and the Students Representative Council (SRC) of the University have jointly called on UTAG National Executives to stop meddling in the affairs of the University.

According to the UTAG members on the UEW campus, the national executives of the teacher union are inflaming passions and causing unnecessary fear and panic among students and lecturers instead of ensuring peace and order.

At a separate news conferences held Thursday at the university, spokesperson of the lecturers, Eric Sakyi Nketsiah, called on the UTAG President, Dr Eric Opoku Mensah, to resign with immediate effect because he has failed the association, stressing that Dr Eric Opoku Mensah continues to misinform, deceive and incites students to escalate their protest to the level of violence.

“It is unethical, unprecedented and morally out of order for a UTAG National President who is supposed to seek the welfare of his members to endanger the lives of members of a group he leads by inciting students to commit acts of violence leading to the destruction of both individual and University property,” he said in a statement issued on their behalf.

The UTAG members at UEW also stated categorically that UTAG National Executives do not have the locus and power to speak on the current developments at UEW.

According to them, UTAG National has abandoned its core responsibility to consult them on current matters in which they have the greatest interest.

“That we reject and dismiss UTAG-National posturing of arrogating unto itself the power to represent us, purporting to speak for us and on our behalf, and attempting to coerce us into accepting what they falsely seek to put into the public domain on issues affecting our University,” the statement said.

“We, the undersigned, on behalf of several other members who have the best interest of UEW at heart, state with the strongest emphasis that we dissociate ourselves from the vilification, attacks, innuendos and the condescension that characterised the contents of the Press Conference of UTAG-National led by Council is aware that 23 of our colleague students sustained acute inhalation and various degrees of injuries, and were rushed to various health facilities within the municipality for treatment.

Fortunately, all the 23 affected persons were treated and discharged. Our thoughts, prayers and best wishes are with all the affected persons,” he said.

The UTAG-UEW also expressed surprise at what they described as the hypocritical posture of the National Executives of UTAG on the UTAG-UEW matters.

Acc to them when the Winneba High Court gave a ruling to nullify the election conducted to select executives of the local chapter of the Association, UTAG-National chose not to pay heed to the ruling.

“The Court had ordered UTAG-National to take interim oversight responsibility of the Winneba Chapter and to supervise fresh elections to include UTAG members at Mampong and Kumasi campuses. Dr Eric Opoku and his National executives never set foot on UEW campus, never met the General Body of members let alone, organise the elections as ordered by the Winneba High Court. UTAG-National became dormant and adamant on the UTAG-UEW case.

Surprisingly, when the Appeal Court gave its order in January, 2019 to reverse the decision of the High Court, UTAG National Executives shook off their dormancy, found their lost voices and jumped on our Management urging them to accord the Executive due recognition. Where is the fairness in this leadership conduct?

They further called on President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Minister of Education, and all well-meaning alumni and Ghanaians who have the development of the University at heart to treat the UTAG National’s Press Statement with all the contempt it deserves.

They urged also stakeholders to support the Governing Council and the Vice-Chancellor to continue with the progressive steps they have initiated in the last few months to radically develop and transform this University for mother Ghana.

However the University SRC in a similar fashion expressed deep regret the involvement of some National Officers of UTAG) led by its National President, Dr. Eric Opoku. Dr. Eric Opoku and his team of executives.

The SRC president, Akudugu Issaka revealed that Dr. Eric Look and his Executives came to the Winneba campus the night before the escalation of events to meet a section of the students at the SEMSA Club House, urged them on in their illegal actions and assured them of their support.

“The next morning UTAG issued a statement openly throwing their support behind the illegal protest and urging the students not to back down until their demands are acceded to.

They further went on to call on our able Vice Chancellor Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni (PhD) to resign from office within three days or face their wrath. Council finds this deAfful-Broni and utterances very unfortunate and worrying given the place of UTAG in tertiary education.

These are people who come from various universities themselves and are expected to know the structures and channels of communication as well as sanctions for misconduct and Illegal demonstrations. Are they implying that this is what pertains in their various universities?,” he said.

He stated that they find the position of UTAG to be hypocritical since it is at sharp variance with the one they took during the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) unrest in the recent past.

“We sense cynicism and the malicious intent to destabilise our University for God knows what purpose. We expected that as a neutral arbiter in resolving whatever issues that existed, UTAG would have engaged all sides in dialogue and negotiations, and not to side with one against the other.

In any case, if they knew that demonstration was the solution to the problem why didn’t they embark on it themselves but instead used vulnerable students. We believe they should come out to take full responsibility for whatever has happened,” he added.

By PROSPER AGBENYEGA

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