—For Legon, Ho Polytechnic
Observant observers over the weekend observed two unusual events.
At the University of Ghana, two brand new buses “donated” to the University by the NDC-established GETFund Board, with registration numbers GR3027W and GR5028W, were “proudly painted in NPP colours.
At the Ho Polytechnic, a similar bus with registration number GR5027W, also “donated” to the Polytechnic by the same NDC-established GETFund Board was similarly “proudly” painted in the NPP colours of red, white and blue.
Students of the two tertiary institutions that our reporters spoke to were grumbling grudgingly about the ruling NPP Government's attempts to subtly politicise tertiary institutions in the country by these tactics to undermine the cherished academic freedom that the institutions are noted for worldwide.
At the University of Ghana, some of the students referred to plainly partisan stances of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Asenso-Okyere, a reportedly closet NPP member, mentioning in particular the embarrassment that he caused the University when he queried some students for taking part in an NDC advertisement filmed on the university campus in the pre-election period without the prior authorisation of the University authorities, when it was a matter of record that this was a common practice in the University.
One student referred to the NPP Government's attempt to have the Honorary Doctorate degree award ceremony for former President J. J. Rawlings cancelled as another example of the NPP's politicisation of the Universities, and lamented that these were all blatant interferences in the internal affairs of the tertiary institutions.
He called on the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals, the Association of African Universities, and all lovers of academic freedom to condemn the action of the NPP Government and call on the Government to “leave the tertiary institutions alone”.
On the Ho Polytechnic campus, the students were mobilising to organise a forum to have their bus repainted in neutral colours or else “aluta”.
It is to be noted that under the NPP Government, all District Assembly vehicles have the Assembly names on them embossed in NPP colours, and in the build-up to the 2004 elections, even road signs on the Accra-Cape Coast road under construction were all written in NPP colours.
Some of the (state-owned?) Metro Mass Transport buses were also painted in NPP colours and shamelessly adorned with portraits of President in the run up to the 2004 elections, but NPP spin doctors were quick with the fraudulent explanation that it was a commercial facility available to all political parties, though only the NPP appears to have been made aware of the facility.