Don’t include old members in new KNUST Council – Govt

Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Information Minister

Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Information Minister

Government has reaffirmed its position not to include old members of the dissolved governing council of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)in the yet-to-be-reconstituted council.

The government’s position was premised on the fact that all parties involved in the impasse would be a subject of full investigations when the council is reconstituted and in line with the rules of natural justice; a person can never be a judge in his own cause.

Speaking at his maiden press briefing as the Minister for Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said it was government’s position that individuals who sat on the old council ought not to be on the new council, “because they were a party to the impasse.”

“The old council is a party to the impasse. Just as the actions of the students, the student leaders and school management will be subject of full investigation when the university is reopened, so will the actions and inactions of the old council be the subject of that investigation.

“The specific persons who constituted that council cannot therefore preside over the matters in which their own decisions and conduct will be a subject,” he stated.

According to the minister, even though the interim council was given up to three months to oversee to the resolution of the matter, government’s subsequent assessment was that it could hand over the university and all emergency measures taken to a new council, earlier than expected.

“Our expectation is that once the Office of the Chancellor receives the full complement of names, the office will refer them to the appointing authority — the President, for the next steps.

He said the next steps were subject to the Council of State’s approval and final inauguration by the appointing authority.

Mr Nkrumah said government was not asking for specific individuals to be nominated, stressing that “In the matter of group seats on the Council, the KNUST Act requires representatives from groups. It does not ask for specific individuals. The principle of specific persons who will end up becoming judges in their own cause is what government disagrees with.”

According to him, the government had already submitted its list of members to be part of the reconstituted council and it was their understanding, that two other groups comprising the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) and the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) had also submitted their lists.

Meanwhile, the minister has admonished former President John Mahama to rise above partisan politics and place the interest of the nation first.

In an apparent response to the former president’s call on government to fumigate Senior High Schools to deal with bedbug infestation, he said government had already undertaken a fumigation exercise within the last few weeks,“thus the call by the former president was in bad taste.”

He said former President Mahama had made it a part of his campaign to run down the Free Senior High School (FSHS) programme through his non-factual statements about the programme since its implementation.

“We want to state for the records that 678 Senior High Schools had been fumigated. The fumigation was completed last week and the breakdown is as follows: Ashanti Region (120 schools), Brong Ahafo Region (80 schools), Central Region (70 schools), Eastern Region (97 schools), Greater Accra Region (50 schools), Northern Region (52 schools), Upper East and West Regions 43 and 21 schools respectively and Western Region (54 schools),” he said.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah explained that the state had no record of such comprehensive fumigation exercise undertaken in the schools, adding that “even under the tenure of former President Mahama, nothing like this would have been done today.”

By Cliff Ekuful

 

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