Press Statement Against 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 honouring our invitation at a very short notice.
We intended to have a peaceful protest today 6th July, 2018 but unfortunately, the High Court in Winneba ruled that they are prohibiting us from embarking on our peaceful protest by law and that we do respect the honourable court for the ruling. Being law abiding citizens, we respectfully acknowledge that rule of law is actually working in our Ghanaian society.
We did not intend by our protest try to do the bidding for any other person and it was done by our own convictions. We do not expect to be aligned with any other personality.
Our peaceful protest is demanding that the Acting Vice Chancellor is removed from office or he resigs honourably. We as members of the concerned current and past students and old students of the University of Education, Winneba do categorically state:
- That as a matter of urgency we wish 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 including even in his pulpit as a reverend father of the Holy Catholic Church.
- That the Acting Vice Chancellor got his mandate extended without recourse to the university 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 making 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 this is another fertile ground for the University to battle legally. 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 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 will make the certificates illegal to be used and recognized. If the right thing is not immediately done, it will affect many students.
- 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 statutes and rules governing the management of the University making him non law abiding
- That we are also using this medium to inform all of you that his short tenure in office has brought the University into an unprecedented number of legal battles involving several sectors of the University causing people to doubt his administrative credentials and good intentions for the University and all these have been orchestrated by him in order to remain in office as Acting VC. Below are a few of the legal battles
- 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 when he encouraged the vanquished in the election to go to court. So as we speak now UTAG UEW has no executive.
- 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.
- UEW SRC election, is also on injunction because a candidate was disqualified by the University Management after the SRC Judicial Committee has cleared him to contest.
- Through his tyrannical tendencies, very experienced and young lecturers have been sacked and or got their appointments terminated with the flimsiest of excuses. In addition 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 council since March, 2018. The role played by the Alumni in building institutions cannot be overemphasized.
- That a letter written by a group of old students’ demanding from management reasons for suspending alumni elections and by whose order was not responded to. Why is the university having much interest in UEW Alumni elections? Is the university happy that, there is no representation from Alumni on 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 of sacking them from examinations and lecture halls for wearing the tee-shirt of a pressure group even though the students did not breach any examination and lecture rules by wearing that tee-shirt.
- Why did the acting VC sack students from examination hall? On 11th December, 2017, he drove about 15 students out from examination hall because they were wearing Spartans tee-shirt saying it is not 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 of paper was 11:30am.
- The university’s student handbook specifies the need for pressure groups in all the halls of residence or affiliation to the 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 upheld in high esteem says the president of the pressure groups shall be appointed by the hall president. Is the handbook not in force? 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 schools general rules and regulations, then why is the Acting VC always on our heels that, we operate illegally on campus? It is an insult if the school does not recognize 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 UEW security to get this pavilion demolished and when the students demanded that the materials be handed over to them, they were brutalized by fully four armed police officers from the Winneba police command.
- That there is incidence of harassment and victimization of staff in order to perpetuate a culture of silence in UEW.
- That ever since the leadership of UTAG-UEW then declared a strike action in response to the rulings of the Winneba High Court and subsequently securing a ruling from the Supreme Court to quash those rulings, the Acting VC had never forgiven lecturers who did not side with him and has made it his mission to either gag them or dismiss them and same to any other staff who will openly show support for the actions of these leaders to bring justice to UEW.
- We ask, is the Supreme Court ruling important?
- Why did the Acting VC write to Dr. Samuel Atintono, one of the leaders of UTAG-UEW, indicating 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 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 Council to summarily dismiss him from the University. We ask, when the Acting VC was signing the letter did he consider whether there was a replacement before taking that decision or not. Is the Ag. VC aware that Dr. Samuel Bekoe is A PROUD ALUMNUS of UEW and he as the Ag. VC is not, we can never accept our own to be victimized by a complete outsider.
- That under his orders some staff of the Estate Section went to a lecturer’s house, on a rainy morning informed him 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 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 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 to not only the vagaries of the weather, but also to thieves. We ask again, if same is done to the Acting VC, when he retires from the University, will he be very happy? This was reported on various radios, TV and in newspapers in the country. Further checks by us confirmed what has happened.
- That on the 27th of June, 2018 the Acting VC has again signed a letter purporting to be 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. We ask what about those who also make allegation against other staff members to favour him.
- 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 he as a person likes the group and that he is not going to have problems with them again. The main idea of doing that which our intelligence picked from close source indicates he wanted the group’s support of some of his decisions. The group for the past two years have constantly refused to do the bidding of the Acting VC which has made him developed such high hatred for all the pressure groups on campus. We are making him aware that we will never support him to demonstrate against anybody.
- That we don’t trust the Ag. VC, who can order the police to assault students on campus under no provocation.
- That as a catholic priest as our 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 harvest. Meaning 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 an occult group.
We ask why is the Acting VC preventing other churches from also building their church on campus as it is done in all the other public universities. Is UEW a catholic university?
- From reliable source, the 2018 admission is not encouraging and due to that closing date has been extended to 31st July, 2018. The University is no more attractive to the general public.
- We wish the media could come to campus and independently verify from workers i.e. lecturers, TEWU members, those who sell on the campus and even students and others.
- Why is UEW not represented on the Vice Chancellors Association of Ghana, because our dear Ag. VC is illegal and cannot represent the university there. Why then is he happily enjoying and occupying the position which is affecting the progress of the university? In view of that we are asking the University Council as a matter of urgency relief the Ag. VC from that 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 to staff and students coupled with his unlawful reappointment is a serious source of concern to the University community since the tension, division and apathy created has culminated in destroying the gains made by the University over the years. For the first time in the history of the University, admission deadlines have been extended several times because our UEW is no more attractive by the daily negative media exposure it receives due to the bad management of the current administration. No wonder UEW is now called ‘UNIVERSITY OF COURT AND INJUNCTION, WINNEBA’
Based on the above 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 Ghana, UTAG National, NUGS and all well meaning Ghanaians as a matter of urgency support our call for the removal of the acting vice Chancello whose tunure has derailed the gains so far made by the university over the years. This if done, will restore peace, dignity and academic freedom to our dear UEW.
The protest will still come on at a later date which would be communicated to you at the appropriately. There is a wider negotiation with some sister universities who have already expressed their interest to join 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