Accra, March 16, GNA - The Minority group in Parliament on Wednesday called for the removal of Mr Daniel C. Gyimah, Chairman of the University of Development Studies (UDS) Council for bringing the name of the government into disrepute and the reputation of the university into public ridicule. It said Mr. Gyimah who is also the Managing Director of the National Investment Bank, in a letter to the Vice Chancellor directed that the award ceremony at which former President J.J. Rawlings was to be awarded honorary doctorate degree should be cancelled. The group said the letter cited "security concerns" as the reason for the cancellation and yet the National Security Co-ordinator and the Northern Regional Minister have all denied any knowledge of any security concerns or threats to the ceremony. A statement Mr John Tia, MP and Minority Chief Whip signed in Accra said: "the action of the Chairman has brought the good name and reputation of the university to public ridicule." "The move undermines academic freedom and introduces a worrying dimension of political interference in the work of our universities. "These developments do not help the public image of our country, and constitutes an indictment on the capacity of our Security Agencies to ensure safety and order at an ordinary ceremony such as the one in question." The statement said the cancellation of the event at the instance of the Chairman posed a threat to academic freedom as enshrined in Article 21(1b) of the Constitution. "We have taken note that the Chairman is an appointee of the government and for the government to demonstrate its non-involvement in this matter of cancellation beyond all reasonable doubts, we call on it to cause his immediate removal from the University Council", the statement said. The University for Development Studies is a public university, which was established by the then National Democratic Congress (NDC) government as part of efforts to expand access to tertiary education and to ensure equity in the distribution of such resources countrywide. It said as a public university, the focus of the university was development oriented. "Its uniqueness lies in the distribution of its campuses across four major regions of Ghana namely, Upper West, Upper East, Northern and Brong Ahafo Regions. The university initially had some teething problems. It has contributed immensely in the training of young persons in agriculture, medicine and development studies." Giving the background to communications between the former President and the university, the statement said in a letter with reference VCB.13 dated January 10, 2005, former President Rawlings was informed that there was the decision of the university to confer an honorary doctorate degree on him in recognition of his contribution to the establishment and development of the university. It said the university upon receiving an acceptable response from the ex-President fixed Saturday, March 19, this year as the date for the conferment of the award.
The former President Rawlings deserved to be honoured, the statement said, adding, "he has played his part in our national development efforts" and he has contributed to the social, political and economic development of Ghana.
Indeed, the former President Rawlings apart from the initiative to establish the university donated his Hunger Award of 50,000 dollars to the UDS, the statement added.