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28.02.2009 Education

Demo Rocks UDS

By Daily Guide
Demo Rocks UDS

UDS students on demonstration The threat of a massive strike action by students of University for Development Studies (UDS) in solidarity with the suspended Students Representative Council (SRC) president, Naab Alphonse, continues to loom over the university's two sister campuses.

The Wa campus of the UDS was closed down last Monday following Mr. Alphonse's suspension.  

At a crunch meeting at the university's Nyankpala campus with members of its alumni, DAILY GUIDE gathered, student leaders were considering drafting a petition to the authorities to revoke the suspension of the SRC president and re-open the Integrated Development Studies (IDS) faculty in order not to affect the academic calendar of the university.   

The meeting, it was further disclosed, was to compel the university authorities to adhere to the March 2 ultimatum by the National Executives of National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) to immediately re-open the Wa campus.

Akubire Awafo Ignatius, Vice Secretary of the SRC of the UDS told DAILY GUIDE that though the Wa campus had been closed, the matter was pending at a Wa High Court and would be heard on March 16, its next adjournment date.

He indicated the preparedness of the student leadership to opt for an out-of court-settlement on condition that their demands were met, warning that if the school was reopened and the VC failed to reinstate Mr. Naab, students would still go on rampage.

Mr. Akubire confirmed plans by sister campuses to demonstrate in solidarity with the Wa campus, reiterating the need for the independence of the SRC.

 He disclosed that NUGS was also planning a nationwide demonstration if by March 2 nothing was done about the re-opening of the Wa campus.

Meanwhile, at a press conference in Accra over the suspension of two student leaders by the Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Kaku Sagari Nokoe, NUGS President, Ishmael Tweneboa-Kodua, described the VC's actions as unconstitutional.  

He said Mr. Alphonse, the Central President of the UDS SRC and his Secretary, Mr. Aboagye were suspended from their positions for granting “unauthorized radio interviews” to the media and allegedly using “abusive language”.

He questioned why Mr. Alphonse and his colleague were being punished for exercising their right to freedom of expression when Article 21(1) of the country's constitution said all persons shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression.

The students and the school's management have been in a deadlock over the issue for close to a month now despite series of meetings with the school's management and educational stakeholders aimed at resolving the issue.  

Not even the intervention of the Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin and the Wa Central MP, Rashid Pelpuo along with several press conferences by the student body could get both parties to settle the impasse.

In an earlier demonstration preceding the boycott of lectures,  the students said they were demonstrating to win favour from the whole nation to fight for the welfare of the entire student body of the university, describing the actions of the authorities as usurpation to their rights.  

Ibrahim Zibrim, local NUGS Secretary said their demonstration was also aimed at compelling the authorities to reinstate their constitutionally elected Central President, Mr. Alphonse as a member of the University Council; but authorities failed to notice their concerns.

From Stephen Zoure, Tamale