Otumfuo stills waters ….In KNUST-GJA fracas
By: Issah Alhassan, Kumasi
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II
THE INTERVENTION of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II appears to have cooled down tempers in the ongoing standoff between media practitioners in the Ashanti Region and the management of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
The wisdom and leadership agility of the Asantehene has once again come into play, bringing to an end, months of cold battle between members of the inky fraternity in Kumasi and authorities of the KNUST.
Members of the Ashanti GJA and other journalists, The Chronicle included, may be compelled to rescind their decision to boycott programmes organized by the University, following the intercession by the wise king.
Information available to the paper indicates that Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has personally taken interest in the fracas between the University and journalists in the region, and has called on the leadership of the media practitioners to rescind its decision not to honour invitations by the University.
Since last month, members of the Ghana Journalists Association and other media personnel in the Kumasi metropolis have refused to attend programmes organized by authorities of the university after the Vice Chancellor, Prof. William Otoo Ellis and some staff members were alleged to have bastardized journalists in the region, describing them as bunch of illiterates and ignorant people who have little or no knowledge about the journalism profession.
The Vice Chancellor and his cohorts were purportedly reacting to some publication made about the University, concerning an armed robbery attack on some students of the school which they claimed had dented the image of the school.
Following the insults and subsequent refusal by the management of the University to issue an apology upon demand by the leadership of the GJA, media practitioners unanimously resolved to boycott programmes organized by the university until the vice chancellor and his associates had rendered an unqualified apology.
Since the boycott, the paper is reliably informed that several maneuvers had been applied by the University, though unofficially, with the view of getting the GJA leadership in the region to overturn their decision but to no avail. However, hostilities may subside after all, with the intervention of the Asantehene.
At the inauguration of a multimillion hostel project on the campus of the University last Friday, the overlord of the Ashanti Kingdom succeeded in getting some bigwigs in the inky fraternity to cover the function, though the programme was virtually boycotted by the private media.
It was during the occasion that the Asantehene seized the opportunity to interact with the few practitioners who graced the occasion, much to the surprise of the Vice Chancellor. Interestingly, the Vice Chancellor, during his speech, acknowledged the presence of the media, people he had boastfully called their bluff some few months ago.
The Asantehene, therefore, appealed to the media practitioners 'to let things go' and rescind their decision in the interest of the development of the University and Ashanti as a whole.
'I am pleading with you to forgive and forget; I want you all to work together in harmony so that the development of the region can progress,' the Asantehene was quoted as saying.
Though it was not immediately known if the leadership of the GJA would quickly respond to the overtures of the Ashanti King, close sources say members of the association would meet this week to deliberate and respond appropriately.