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Why Legon lecturers want UTAG President impeached

The National President of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has incurred the anger of some members of the association, who wants him removed from office.

They accuse him of betraying the association’s cause concerning the new Public Universities Bill, which the group says will create more problems in the country’s public universities than solve any.

Prof Charles Ofosu Marfo has been accused by his peers of “consistently misrepresenting and sidelining UG-UTAG’s position on the Public Universities Bill in his public engagements.”

The Legon lecturers claim their national leader, from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, is side-stepping the association’s position on the bill which they say was inimical to academic freedom in public universities.

To send a clear signal of their displeasure, the University of Ghana branch of the association has initiated an impeachment process against Prof Marfo.

In a letter jointly signed and addressed to the national executives, the UG-UTAG President, Dr Samuel N. Nkumbaan and its Secretary, Dr Bethel Kwame-Bentum, said the chapter “disassociates itself from the national officers of UTAG that the Public Universities Bill be passed into law subject to recommendations of UTAG.”

The decision follows a resolution passed by UG-UTAG after an emergency meeting held on Thursday, June 11, via zoom, a conference app.

It said its decision was in adherence to Article IV(3) of its local constitution.

The new Public Universities Bill seeks to regulate the activities of public universities under one law.

The proposed law seeks to change the structure of the governing councils of the public universities with the majority of the members being appointed by the President.

It has since been met with strong resistance from academia including, UTAG and the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The University of Ghana lecturers insisted that “the initial position of UG-UTAG reflected in the memorandum submitted to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, and which called for the rejection of the PUB, as it will create more problems than it intends to resolve, remains unchanged.

“The proposed bill does not seek to address any gap in the existing laws governing public universities. Instead, the bill will allow unnecessary government interference in the affairs of public universities,” it said in the

Another letter the UG-UTAG  executives addressed to the association’s National Secretary noted that the President’s demeanour indicated that he was noted committed to the championing the cause of public universities.

Read the resolutions

UG-UTAG Resolutions on PUB 2020.pdf –

It is not clear what warranted the UG-UTAG displeasure with their national leader.

When he led the association to meet President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in May, Prof Marfo insisted that there was nothing wrong with the current instrument regulating the sector.

At the meeting with President Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House, President of UTAG Prof Charles Marfo called on the government to rethink the bill arguing that the University community is not in favour.

“People have challenges with the content of the document, I needed to bring it here and say that at its present stage it is a no-no document for the universities and it is important that we have critical look at it better because people have concerns and asked why at all we need a bill if it is not broken why fix it,” he was quoted as saying.

UG-UTAG’s case against bill

UG-UTAG in April rejected the draft Ghana Public Universities Bill 2018, stating it gave the government too much power to interfere in the affairs of universities.

The association believed the current draft Bill  “seeks to take back power from university management, academics and their unions and students, and place them in the hands of the President of the Republic, the Minister of Education, the NCTE and the government’s majority representatives on the university council the ultimate powers to make decisions for all public universities”.

This was contained in a report issued by a committee constituted by the association on April 12 to scrutinise the Bill, a copy of which is available to theghanareport.com.

Universities Bill should not be allowed to see the light of day – UTAG-UG

 

 

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