There are murmurings within the country’s academia over the loud silence of the Vice-Chancellors Ghana (VCG), a body comprising heads of the various public universities in the country, and the Universities Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) over the ugly happenings at the University of Education, Winneba (UEW).
The two prominent bodies have not been able to speak against the botched takeover of the UEW by sacked Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Mawutor Avoke, last week.
Prof. Avoke’s agenda to torpedo Reverend Father Professor Anthony Afful-Broni, the current Vice-Chancellor of the UEW, was disorganized and stopped by security agents who had positioned themselves at various campuses of the university at Winneba.
But for the timely intervention of the security agents, the Prof. Avoke-led attempted coup d’état would have succeeded.
Prof. Avoke was accompanied to the campus by the local UEW UTAG president, Dr. Frimpong Kaakyire Duku, for the action against Rev. Fr. Prof. Afful-Broni.
After the dastardly act, the UEW UTAG members condemned Prof. Avoke, and many felt the national level would take the matter up, but strangely UTAG is silent.
The VCG, of which Prof. Afful-Broni is member, in no small way, has betrayed its member with its silence on how Prof. Avoke wanted to overthrow him.
Within the corridors of VCG, there are concerns that the failure to state its position on the matter is an indication that some of the members were in support of the action Prof. Avoke took.
Prof. Avoke says that he has been exonerated by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) and must therefore be reinstated as the Vice-Chancellor of the UEW.
But for the timely position of the Minister of Education who stated emphatically that the UEW has only one legitimate Vice-Chancellor in the person of Rev. Fr. Prof Afful-Broni, there would have been total chaos.
Dr. Prempeh’s Position
Education Minister, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, has backed the current Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, Professor Anthony Afful-Broni, saying “there’s only one Vice-Chancellor” at the university.
Mr. Prempeh’s support comes on the back of brewing tensions in the university with a combined team of National Security operatives and police personnel chasing out some dismissed staff of the university on Tuesday, including the former Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mawutor Avoke.
Professor Avoke in 2017 was ordered to step aside as the VC of the UEW until a case brought against him and the University’s Governing Council was determined.
The order was made in a case brought before the court by one Supi Kofi Kwayera, who insisted that the Vice-Chancellor and the Finance Officer were operating under the institution’s defunct governing council.
The High Court subsequently found Professor Avoke and the school’s Finance Officer, Dr. Theopholus Senyo Ackorlie, guilty of procurement and other financial irregularities, leading to their removal.
The Supreme Court, however, by a unanimous decision, quashed the judgment of the High Court, with the judges who sat on the case, agreeing that the judgment of the High Court, based on which Professor Avoke was removed from office was wrong, stood quashed, and was therefore null and void, and of no effect.
This, therefore, meant Professor Avoke should have been reinstated as VC of the UEW. That, however, was not the case as Very Reverend Father Professor Anthony Afful-Broni was appointed the new VC.
Commenting on the development on Wednesday during the “Meet the Press” encounter in Accra, the Education Minister said: “I can say without hesitation there is only one vice-chancellor in UEW. If in this country, we want to go in the lawless way, somebody rises from somewhere, comes and sit in the Flag Staff House and say I am the President.
“There is only one legal, legitimate Vice-Chancellor. He is Reverend Afful Broni. Anybody who does not understand must go through the legal process. We are not going to accept such things.”
Professor Avoke earlier this year slammed the government’s response to the Supreme Court’s ruling.
According to him, he suspects political scheming to prevent him from returning to the University accusing his successor Professor Afful-Broni and the governing council Chairman Professor Abakah of scheming with others to remove him.
A Senior Staff of UEW also sued the university and its Vice-Chancellor.
Kingsley Amoakwah, an accountant by profession and Chairman of the Senior Staff Association Union, is seeking an order restraining Afful-Broni from “holding himself out as the Vice-Chancellor or performing any such functions in that capacity at UEW.”
He is also seeking an order “restraining Afful-Broni from continuously interfering in the administration of Professor Mawutor Avoke, the legitimate Vice-Chancellor of UEW”.