KNUST Impasse: Otumfuo is respected, listened to; let him speak to the issues – Jantuah
Private legal practitioner Kwame Jantuah says Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and King of the Asante Kingdom, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is the ideal person to headline discussions leading to the mediation of the crisis facing the institution.
Speaking on TV3’s ‘Key Points’ program Saturday, Mr. Jantuah said rather than calling on bodies including the Christian Council and the Peace Council, authorities of the school ought to seek the intervention of the Chancellor, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who is a very powerful figure and whose views are highly respected. Discussions between Otumfuo and government he believes will go a long way to solve the issue that has dragged for weeks, leaving students stranded and parents worried.
“They should go back to Otumfuo, I don’t think they should call on any bodies, they should go back to Otumfuo, let Otumfuo also speak with the powers that be because he is listened to, when he speaks, people listen to him. Let them request Otumfuo to speak to government and give their reasons so that very soon we can resolve this problem because it’s not helping. KNUST is one of the premium Universities in Africa, and we can’t have this”, he said.
According to him, entirely wiping out all ‘old’ members off the school’s governing council poses threats considering the old faces have been in the system and have some knowledge and background about how things are run. He says having a completely new team will come with its own consequences.
“I believe that if they have a number of the old members in there, it will help. They have institution memory, they were there when this whole thing happened. They’ll be the right people to advice the new council members in there as to how to see these challenges to be sorted in there. I believe we have an entirely new face in there and they will not be familiar with some of the idiosyncrasies and the challenges that the university has”.
He expressed worry about the fact that issues are dragging and academic work is halted which will affect students.
“I believe we should not put our nephews, sons, daughters, nieces, in the kind of challenge we’ve put them in, of not getting them back to school. Some of the things that happened in terms of the rioting, none of us support it but that doesn’t mean that they should be put in a situation where in terms of academic work, they are going to suffer. UTAG and government, sit down and talk.”
Mr. Jantuah, touching on Information Minister’s notice that all members of the old council will be wiped off, he said;
“ When you are a leader and there is something you don’t like, you don’t come out and say it the way the Minister of Information came out to say it. You go back into the background, talk to those stakeholders, make your point across there, and all of you come to some conclusion and then come out and tell the people. This stalemate is not helping anybody. One side needs to back down. Whatever the case is, it’s not a fight, we need to solve the challenge”
Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah announced that members of the old council are party to the problems of the university and should not be judges in their own cause.
“Government’s position on the membership of the new council is that individuals who sat on the old council ought not to be on the new council”, he said.
The KNUST was closed indefinitely after students riots let to the destruction of property, management of the university now says costs over ¢1 million.
The students were protesting what they claim to be the maltreatment meted out to them by campus security personnel. According to the students, the abuse has gone on for some time and school authorities have turned a blind eye.
Unable to take it anymore, they embarked on a protest that led to the dissolution of the university’s governing council, the constitution of a new one which was eventually dissolved following protests by university teacher unions.
The Asantehene Otunfuo Osei Tutu II has stepped in as Chancellor of the university to help in the reconstitution of a new council and bring sanity among feuding factions.