The Police yesterday maintained a strong presence at the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), to avert any attempt by the former Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mawutor Avoke, from taking over the running of the institution.
Some staff have labelled the decision to take over as a coup d’tat, indicating that they would resist any attempt by him and others from causing unrest on campus.
The security personnel drawn from the Swedru and Winneba police command, had been deployed there to ensure that peace was maintained in the university which had for some time experienced misunderstanding and confusion following the dismissal of the then Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mawutor Avoke.
The university had been in the media space for the wrong reason as different factions continue to emerge over certain displinary processes taken by the governing council.
Other staff, including the sacked personnel of the university, had vowed to use all legitimate means to ensure the removal of Rev. Prof. Afful-Broni as Vice Chancellor of UEW and the reinstatement of Prof. Avoke.
Prof. Avoke last Tuesday, entered the campus together with some sacked staff of the university in an effort to continue his term of office with the university, saying that there was no court prohibition on him and the sacked personnel.
The group argued that no form of indictment had been levelled against the former Vice Chancellor and other staff by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO).
His attempt to address the media at the university council chamber was disrupted by the Winneba District Police Command.
He later addressed the media in front of the entrance to the university and said that, allegations levelled against him and five others had been concluded and that EOCO did not see them abusing their offices nor violating any procurement processes.
Before the news conference, Chairman, Senior Staff Association of the university, Kingsley Amoako, had filed an application at the court demanding Prof. Avoke’s reinstatement as Vice-Chancellor.
He prayed the court to issue an order restraining Professor Anthony Afful-Broni from holding himself as the Vice-Chancellor or performing any such functions in that capacity of the UEW.
He also wants an order preventing Prof. Afful-Broni from “continuously interfering with the administration of Prof. Mawutor Avoke”, whom he claims was the legitimate Vice-Chancellor of the university.
The university management in a statement signed and issued by the Registrar, Paul Osei Barimah, said the current Vice Chancellor, Rev. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni, was at post attending to normal activities when the said unauthorised group barged into the university facility.
“He remained at post and carried out his lawful duties till the close of day,” the statement said.
It said that there had not been any change in the Vice Chancellor position as Rev. Father Prof. Afful-Broni will remain the substantive Vice Chancellor and urged the public to disregard any such mischievous reports.
The statement said that the premises of the university were opened, safe and secured for business.
It urged all stakeholders to remain calm and indicated that management would keep the public abreast of any new development in the university.
On behalf of the UEW chapter of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), Eric Nketsia, explained that, the action of Prof. Avoke and his group was not the way to go, as it goes contrary to the statutes of the university.
He said that, they were not against Prof. Mawutor Avoke in person, but the process they deployed on Monday was illegal.
Mr Nketsia indicated that, the position of the Vice Chancellor follows laid down procedure and that if the group had legitimate concerns, then they must ensure that they use all legitimate means and not to engage in illegal actions.
He said that, until the University Council or a court of competent jurisdiction says otherwise, Rev. Father Prof. Afful-Broni still remains the substantive Vice Chancellor.
“We also reiterate that we still recognise and support Very Rev. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni as the legally-backed properly-appointed and the legitimate Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba,” Mr Nketsia said.
He said: “His term of office runs through September, 2021 and we urge him to continue performing his legally-sanctioned administrative and management duties in the interest of UEW, and should not be distracted by such acts of high level recklessness.”
The Public Relations Officer of UEW, Ernest Azutiga in an interview, commended the police and the BNI for the swift manner they moved Prof. Avoke and his group from the council chamber where they were about to organise a news conference.
He said that, despite the fact that the university was a public place, not everywhere was open to the public, and said the action taken by the aggrieved person was tantamount to a coup d’ tat.
FROM DAVID O. YARBOI-TETTEH, WINNEBA