Press Statement With Regard To The Tyrannical Tendencies And Unlawful Stay In Office Of The Acting Vice Chancellor Of The University Of Education, Winneba (uew)-Rev. Prof Anthony Afful-Broni
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we wish to express our gratitude to you for honoring our invitation despite the short notice.
We intended to have a peaceful protest today 6th July, 2018 but unfortunately, the High Court in Winneba ruled that we are prohibited from embarking on the peaceful protest and we respect the ruling of the honorable court. Being law abiding citizens, we respectfully acknowledge that the rule of law is working in our Ghanaian society and that we will always ensure that the rule of law is upheld at all times.
The decision to embark on this protest is not to satisfy the bidding of anyone but is as a result of our own convictions. We therefore do not expect to be aligned with any other personality.
The essence of the peaceful protest is to ensure that the Acting Vice Chancellor is either removed from office or resigns honorably. As members of the concerned current and past students of the University of Education, Winneba we categorically state:
- That as a matter of urgency, we wish that the Acting Vice Chancellor, Rev. Prof. Anthony Afful- Broni is removed from office or resigns to restore peace, tranquility and academic freedom at the University.
- That it is an open secret that since he took over the reigns as the Chief Executive of the University by a Winneba High Court Order some 12 months ago, the University has never remained the same. Intimidation, humiliation, cronyism and disrespect have been the order of the day. He openly brags, insults, intimidates staff and students at the least opportunity even when he is discharging his duties as a reverend father of the Holy Spirit Cathedral Catholic Church.
- That the Acting Vice Chancellor got his mandate extended without recourse to the university's Statutes in that, statute 7d states “in the event of a temporary absence of both the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro Vice- Chancellor or when both posts are vacant, the most Senior Dean shall act until council is able to make a formal appointment”. This clear statutory provision was side-stepped, rendering his appointment illegal because his tenure as Pro Vice-Chancellor ended on the 28th of February, 2018. He was appointed just because he was the most experienced professor and not the most senior Dean. We are sure that this is another fertile ground for the University to engage in a legal battle. In addition to this, at the time of his re-appointment, there was an injunction on him and the Pro VC elections but in connivance with the University's Council and Management they stopped the Pro VC elections and extended his mandate.
- That if the Acting Vice Chancellor, is allowed in that capacity to sign certificates of students who have just completed the university, the certificates will be rendered as illegal to be used and in effect, will not be recognized. If the right thing is not immediately done, many students will be affected.
- That through his tyrannical tendencies, a serious culture of silence has prevailed as staff who dare stand up to him are sacked, demoted or transferred without recourse to the University's statutes and rules governing the management of the University, making his clear disregard for the rule of law very clear.
- That we are also using this medium to inform all of you that his short tenure in office has brought upon the University, an unprecedented number of legal battles involving several sectors of the University, causing people to doubt his administrative credentials and goodwill for the University. All these have been orchestrated by him in order to ensure that he remains in office as the Acting VC. Below are a few of the legal battles our dear UEW is plagued with:
- He came to office as the Acting Vice Chancellor through the UEW versus Kofi Kwayera case that contested the legitimacy of the then council to appoint Principal Officers. Ironically he was one of the Principal Officers appointed by the so called defunct council.
- UTAG - UEW is also in court over election disputes. This is because he encouraged those who were defeated in the elections to proceed to court. So as we speak now, UTAG UEW has no executives.
- The Chairman of Council, The Acting VC and Registrar are served with contempt charges after disregarding an injunction notice served on them
- UEW is also in court against a lecturer for wrongful dismissal.
- There has been an injunction on the UEW - SRC elections because a candidate was disqualified by the University Management despite the fact that the SRC Judicial Committee cleared the said candidate to contest the elections.
- Through his tyrannical tendencies, both experienced and young lecturers have been sacked and or got their appointments terminated with the flimsiest of excuses. In addition, some staffs have been transferred indiscriminately without regard to the laid down rules and budgetary allocations leading to serious financial loss to the university.
- UEW Alumni election has been postponed by Management for no apparent reasons and this has robbed the Association of representation on the University's council since March, 2018. The role played by the Alumni in building institutions cannot be underscored.
- That a letter written by a group of old students' demanding from management reasons for suspending alumni elections was not responded to, as a result of his direct order. Why is the university displaying so much unwarranted interest in UEW Alumni elections? Is the university happy that, there is no representation from the Alumni on the University's council?
- That one other significant characteristic of the Acting Vice Chancellor is the constant harassment of students who belong to pressure groups to the extent that he sacked them from examinations and lecture halls for wearing the Lacoste of a pressure group even though the students did not breach any examination and lecture rules by wearing that Lacoste.
- Why did the acting VC sack students from examination hall? On 11th December, 2017, he drove about 15 students out from the examination hall because they were wearing Spartan Lacostes, citing that it is not a prescribed attire in the university. Title of paper was Introduction to Special Education, code: GPD 233, venue: Faculty block room 103 and 104, level 200 and time for the paper was 11:30am.
- The university's student handbook specifies the need for pressure groups in all the halls of residence or affiliation to an extent of recognizing the head of the pressure group as a hall executive. GENERAL RULES AND REGULATIONS—1.2.3 Leadership and positions, page 43-45. The student handbook which is held in high esteem says the president of the pressure groups shall be appointed by the hall president. Is the handbook not in use? Are all the pressure groups on our four campuses that is, Spartans, Garvians, Trojans, Legends, Titans, Chantax, Dons illegal? If we exist based on the school's general rules and regulations, then why is the Acting VC always harassing us, citing that we operate illegally on campus? It is an insult and an indictment to the rule of law if the school disregards its own rules.
- That, students have been tasked to build and not to destroy and that is why one of the pressure groups used their own resources to build a studying pavilion since 1999 at the North Campus. The Acting Vice Chancellor ordered the head of the UEW security to get this pavilion demolished and when the students demanded that the materials be handed over to them, they were brutalized by four fully armed police officers from the Winneba police command.
- That there are incidences of harassment and victimization of staff in order to perpetuate a culture of silence in UEW.
- That ever since the leadership of UTAG-UEW declared a strike action in response to the rulings of the Winneba High Court and subsequently secured a ruling from the Supreme Court to quash those rulings, the Acting VC has victimized the lecturers who did not side with him and he has made it his mission to either gag them or dismiss them and do the same to any other staff who openly supports the actions of these leaders who want to bring justice to UEW by ensuring that the right thing is done.
- We want to know if the Supreme Court's ruling is important.
- Why did the Acting VC write to Dr. Samuel Atintono, one of the leaders of UTAG-UEW, indicating to him that he has vacated his post when in actual fact, the same University had previously granted him the permission to go for a Fulbright Fellowship in USA?
- That some senior members have been called before committees formed by the Acting VC, for allegedly posting or circulating materials critical of the current happenings in UEW on Social Media platforms, while others who openly write to insult others especially UTAG-UEW leaders and other high profile personalities in the University were rather rewarded with dubious appointments and promotions. This is evident in various write ups available online.
- That Dr. Samuel Bekoe, a lecturer received a letter, dated 29th March, 2018 and signed by Rev. Fr. Anthony Afful-Broni (whose position as Acting Vice Chancellor is being challenged in a High Court and has been so served), purporting to communicate to him the decision of the University's Council to suddenly dismiss him from the University. We ask that when the Acting VC was signing the letter, did he consider whether there was a replacement before taking that decision? Is the Ag. VC aware that Dr. Samuel Bekoe is A PROUD ALUMNUS of UEW and he as the Ag. VC is not, and hence we will never allow our own to be victimized by a totally complete outsider.
- That under his orders, some staff of the Estate Section went to a lecturer's house, on a rainy morning and informed the lecturer that they have been instructed to evict him. They therefore went ahead to remove the front doors to the main house and out-house/boys quarters and cut electricity supply to the house, even when he informed them that an injunction application against the eviction has been filled in the High Court and that the University has been served with the application. This action led to the exposure of his personal items to the outside world, with no means of securing and safeguarding them. They went to his bungalow another day and this time, they removed all the doors in the house, the louver blades, mosquito nettings, burglar-proof wire nettings and also cut water supply to the house thereby further exposing his properties not to only the vagaries of the weather, but also to thieves. We ask again that if the same treatment is meted out to the Acting VC when he retires from the University, will he be enthused? This was reported on various radios, TV and in newspapers in the country.
- That on the 27th of June 2018, the Acting VC signed a letter, dismissing yet another lecturer for allegedly circulating damaging messages with elements of criminality against Prof. E. N. Abakah, Rev. Fr. Anthony Afful-Broni and Neeyi Ghartey VII. What about those who also make allegations against other staff members in his favor?
- On the 27th of April, 2018 one Joshua-Luther an Assistant Lecturer and Richard Yorda Bayemba, a security man in the school visited the palace of Spartans to present a drink to the Chief of the group. The two gentlemen said they were there on behalf of the Acting VC and that as a person, he likes the group and that he is not going to have problems with them again. The main idea of doing that according to the intelligence we picked from a close source indicates that he wanted the group to support some of his tyrannically driven decisions. The group has for the past two years, refused to do the bidding of the Acting VC which made him develop high hatred for all the pressure groups on campus. We are making him aware that we will never support his cause to demonstrate against anybody because we are an independent association.
- That we don't trust an Ag. VC who can order the police [who are supposed to maintain law and order] to assault students on campus without any provocation.
- That as a catholic priest and Ag. VC, he was a patron of a pressure group on campus, used them as cheap labour when building the Holy Spirit Catholic Church (the only church with a building on campus) and also made them sing during a harvest. In implication, the Ag. VC cunningly became a patron just to use the group as cheap labour to build the church and after that, dumped the group and described them as occults.
We ask why the Acting VC is preventing other churches from also building their place of worship on campus as done in all the other public universities. Is UEW a catholic university?
- From a reliable source, the 2018 admission is not encouraging and due to that, the closing date has been extended to 31st July, 2018. The University is no more attractive to the general public.
- We wish that the media comes to campus to independently verify from workers i.e. lecturers, TEWU members, those who sell on the campus and even students and others, what the current state of the university is.
- Why is UEW not represented on the Vice Chancellors Association of Ghana? Is it because our dear Ag. VC is recognized as illegal and in effect, cannot represent the university? Why then is he happily enjoying and occupying a position which has proved to have adverse effects on the progress of the university? In view of that, we are asking the University Council to as a matter of urgency, relieve the Ag. VC of his position and appoint a substantive Vice Chancellor for the school if he does not resign honourably.
The above and other ills perpetuated by the Acting Vice Chancellor towards staff and students coupled with his unlawful reappointment are serious sources of concern to the University community since the tension, division and apathy created has culminated in destroying the integrity that the University once upon a time, reveled in. For the first time in the history of the University, admission deadlines have been extended several times because our dear UEW is no longer attractive due to the negative media exposure it receives, stemming from the poor management of the current administration. No wonder UEW is now called 'UNIVERSITY OF COURT AND INJUNCTION, WINNEBA'
Based on the above premises, we wish to petition the high office of the President, the August house of Parliament, the Minister of Education, the executive secretary of NCTE, Vice Chancellors of Ghana, National UTAG, NUGS and all well meaning Ghanaians as a matter of urgency to support our call for the removal of the acting vice Chancellor whose tunure has derailed the gains made by the university over the years. If this is done, peace, tranquility, dignity and the necessary academic freedom needed to function as a higher institution of learning will be restored to our dear UEW.
The protest will come on at a later date which would be communicated to you in due course. There is a wider negotiation with some sister universities who have expressed interest in joining us during the protest.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we thank you for coming.
Long live UEW, Long Live Ghana.
Agya pong Osei Victor
Leader, Concerned Students
(Current and Old)
The President of Ghana
The August House of Parliament
The Minister of Education
The Executive Secretary of NCTE
The Vice Chancellors Association, Ghana