Visibly agitated students chanted at the top of their lungs ‘”Something is about to happen! Something is about to happen!” in a quest to speak out against “injustice” at the University of Education Winneba in the Central region.
What has happened is the sacking of three lecturers by the Vice-Chancellor Rev. Fr. Professor Anthony Afful-Broni.
Photo: The University of Education Winneba’s campus
Principal of the College of Languages Education at Ajumako Prof. Ephraim Avea Nsoh was sacked because he had not been cooperating with other management members, the Daily Graphic has reported.
The local President of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), Dr. Frimpong Kakyire Duku,was sacked after initiating legal action against his employer “without any cause” and without exhausting internal procedures.
A former Alumni President who was representing the alumni on the University Council, Dr. Emmanuel Osei Sarpong, was sacked based on an allegation that he showed a sign of disrespect to the University Council, by deciding to exclude himself from a Council meeting, which he said was about taking a decision he was not comfortable with.
Not hampered by a dysfunctional SRC, the students largely taught by these lecturers borrowed the viral potency of the hash tag #bringback. This time #bringbackourlecturers.
The students are not the only stakeholders to have their take on the sackings.
University Teachers Association of Ghana have backed the students. Their representative at the campus Dr. Frimpong Kakyire Duku is a casualty at the hands of the Vice-Chancellor sworn in March 2018.
The UTAG National President, Dr. Eric Opoku, was present as the students barked across the campus.
His presence playing the role of a tacit endorsement of the students’ actions as the Association prepares its own response.
The preliminary response however is that “we as a national body do not recognise the decision that has been taken by this university.”
He explained the university refused to recognise the September 15 election of new executives of UTAG-UEW branch led by Dr. Duku.
The Winneba High Court in November 2017 annulled the September 15 2017 UTAG elections, which saw Dr.Duku emerge president of the UEW branch of UTAG.
But victory served by Winneba High Court judgment lasted 15 months as an Appeals Court set aside this judgment entirely, paving the way for Dr. Duku’s comeback along with his batch of executives.
A fresh stumbling block was thrown in again against Dr. Duku who has been a sworn critic of the Vice-Chancellor Rev. Fr. Professor Anthony Afful-Broni.
Photo: Rev. Fr. Professor Anthony Afful-Broni danced with President Nana Akufo-Addo during his induction.
An emergency meeting called by the Vice-Chancellor was suddenly held on campus with the outcome being Dr. Duku’s summary dismissal.
It would hear none of UTAG exhortations contained in a letter urging the university to accept the latest judgement delivered February 25, 2019.
Dr. Duku who has been jabbing the Vice-Chancellor is now without a job.
“Look we know what is going on. There is an attempt clearly to make sure Dr. Kaakyire Duku doesn’t hold himself as UTAG executive because they know what he can do.”
The National UTAG is not averse to calling a national strike when it smells an attack on academic freedom in any of its branches and is going to do “whatever is necessary to make sure that justice prevails in this university,” Dr. Ernest Opoku threatened.
The students turned against the Vice-Chancellor, UTAG lacing up its boots against the Vice-Chancellor. One more opposition has come from the most unlikely source: the Vice-Chancellor’s ally, Afenyo Markins.
At the induction of the UEW Vice-Chancellor where Afenyo Markins congratulates his friend.
It was Mr. Markins who led an action in court to oust the then Vice-Chancellor Prof Mawutor Avoke from office accusing him of cutting fishy deals.
The beneficiary of this action which the university has not truly recovered from was Rev. Fr. Professor Anthony Afful-Broni who was a Pro-Vice-Chancellor.
Markins has turned against Prof. Afful-Broni, announcing the annulment of that marriage of convenience on social media. The reason, a dusted off reason used to remove Prof. Avoke.
“How can Afful-Broni crucify Avoke for awarding contracts irregularly and after getting him out turn round to uphold the same contracts and pay more money? Was the motive merely to take over by any means necessary?” he posted on his Facebook page.
He later posted a picture of himself posing with some UTAG executives including the National President Dr. Eric Opoku.
The picture capturing the two forces of resistance against the Vice-Chancellor does not capture the context. A year ago, Markins was the lawyer, who backed by the university authorities, challenged the UTAG UEW elections successfully at the Winneba High Court until an Appeals Court overturned it.
The picture therefore cemented the quip: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
The Vice-Chancellor now faces three sources and forces of resistance: the students, the lecturers and the former ally.
It is not how the ordained Catholic priest can contain three sources of opposition barely a year after his appointment as Vice-Chancellor.
The students rounded off their protests still chanting “Something is about to happen! Something is about to happen!”