..as group rides on Afenyo-Markins’ hatchet job at UEW to hound out Vice Chancellors
Massive chaos within the University community of Ghana is in the offing as graduates of public varsities who obtained degrees and other laurels between 2013 and 2017 have come under brand as frauds.
A group of so called public spirited Ghanaians are riding on the outcome of the infamous court case brought against the governing Council of the University of Education, Winneba, by a suspected proxy of the ruling party, to get the academic degrees nullified as part of the enforcement of the court’s judgment.
Led by one Robert Ishamel Aggrey-Fynn Amissah, the self-acclaimed public spirited Ghanaians are entangling the innocent graduates of the various public universities in the pursuit of the mass dismissal of Vice Chancellors.
An 8th May letter served to the Vice Chancellors of the University of Ghana and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology explained that the hapless graduates must have their degrees nullified because the respective University Councils which had superintended over the award of those degrees had done so illegally.
Written by their Solicitor, George Tetteh Wayoe of BCMS Consulting, Accra; the letter quoted the outcome of “Supi Kofi Kwayera v University of Education, Winneba and Minister of Education (Suit No. E12/30/18)” as basis for their demands.The demands include the vacation of posts by VCs of the various public Universities whose Governing Councils had operated on extended mandates while all their decisions, including the award of degrees, are reversed.
“My attention has been drawn to the ruling of the High Court, Winneba, presided over by His Lordship Justice George Atto Mills-Graves in the case of Supi Kofi Kwayera v University of Education, Winneba and Minister of Education (Suit No. E12/30/18), in which the said High Court sitting on the 2nd day of May 2018 held as follows:
“a. “It is hereby declared by the Court, that the extension of the mandate of the Governing Council of the 1st Defendant [University of Education, Winneba] by the 2nd Defendant [Minister of Education] to stay in office to perform such function as properly appointed council was in breach of section 8 of [the University of Winneba Act] Act 672.”
“b. “It is further declared that no authority or any institution of State has any power to extend the tenure of a member of the Governing Council of the 1st Defendant unless such extension is in accordance with Act 672.”
“c. “It is also declared that all appointments made by the defunct Governing Council which constituted themselves as the Governing Council of the 1st Defendant by virtue of the directives of the 2nd Defendant are null and void and of no legal effect.”
“d. “Again it is declared that all decisions taken by the defunct body of persons who constituted themselves as Governing Council is null and void and of no legal effect.”
“Sir, given that your appointment as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana falls within the parameters of the ruling of the High Court by virtue of section 13 of the University of Ghana Act, 2010 (Act 806), I have been instructed to demand that you vacate your post as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana with immediate effect.
“Given that your continuous stay in office constitutes a patent illegality, according to the judgment of the High Court, Winneba, should you, within three (3) days of receipt of this letter fail or refuse to comply with the above demand, we will use other lawful avenues to vindicate the rights of our clients without further notice to you.
“In the public interest, and in accordance with the terms of the judgment of the High Court, Winneba, please be kind enough to include in your handing over notes, and for the attention and action of your successor, that our clients are further requesting the revocation of all relevant decisions of the University Council made between 7th January 2013 and the date when a new council was inaugurated for the University of Ghana. These decisions include the award of degrees to students, appointments and promotions of lecturers and other senior members, and the award of contracts.
“By copy of this letter, the Minister of Education, the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), and all public universities that were in existence on 7th January 2013, are hereby notified, and notice is hereby given, that all decisions of the kind noted in the immediately preceding paragraph, taken by their Governing Councils, and which are affected by the judgment of His “Lordship Justice George Atta Mills-Graves in the case of Supi Kofi Kwayera v University of Education, Winneba and Minister of Education (Suit No. E12/30/18), and covering the period after midnight the 6th of January 2013, until new University Councils were set up for each of them, are invalidated by the said judgment and so urgent and immediate steps be taken to undo the practical effects of those decisions. This means that all degrees awarded during the period, all appointments and promotions effected during that period, and all contracts awarded during that period, must be reversed forthwith.”
It is not clear if the Vice Chancellors that the letters were addressed to, including the VC for the University of Ghana, Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, have received the letters. It is not also clear if they will comply.
The letters however made it clear that if they do not vacate their posts within three days, they will be dragged to court.
It is still calm at the moment, but the prevailing calm looks to be the calm before the storm. This is because many of the university graduates who earned their laurels from the affected schools within the period in reference are already in employment on the basis of their qualifications.
An enforcement of the judgment to the extreme as is being pursued by the so-called public spirited Ghanaians led by Mr. Robert Aggrey Fynn-Amissah would mean that they would have to forfeit their employments.
It is again not clear if such students would have to restart University schooling, especially, if they had gained admission into the schools within the period that the alleged nullified Councils had been in authority.
Many concerned observers are nervous that all these present explosive loose ends that could plunge academic work at the various public Universities into a mess.
And the whole cantankerous situation is the making of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). Following the party’s assumption of power in January 2017, a wave of vindictiveness against appointees of the previous Mahama regime had seen a suspected NPP proxy start litigation against the Governing Council of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW).
Supi Kwayera, who is widely believed to have targeted the Vice Chancellor of the UEW at the time, Prof. Mawutor Avokeh, had gone to court saying that the Governing Council of the University had been exercising non existent authority
In a 23rd May 2017 writ he had adduced that, “the university’s council’s mandate had expired in November 2013, but the Education Ministry had failed to constitute a new Governing Council for the university, and rather and permitted the defunct Governing Council which had no mandate whatsoever to continue the functions of a properly constituted Governing Council as if same had been properly constituted.”
The suit which was perceived as politically motivated had led to UEW’s branch of the University Teachers Association (UTAG) calling for a nationwide strike. UTAG, along the line, also applied to join in the suit.
On the 2nd of this month, the court gave judgment in favor of the Plaintiff and that is what a group of so called public spirited Ghanaians have decided to enforce, asking the VCs of all public Universities whose Councils similarly operated on mandate extensions by the sector Minister to vacate their posts.
Along with vacating their posts, all decisions they superintended over, including the award of degrees are supposed to be regarded as null and void.