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Students of University Of Education, Winneba accuse acting Vice Chancellor of tyranny and unlawful stay in office

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Students of University Of Education, Winneba accuse acting Vice Chancellor of tyranny and unlawful stay in officeThere continues to be growing agitations amongst concerned students and alumni of the University of Education, Winneba [UEW] over what they term tyrannical conduct” of the Acting Vice Chancellor of the university, Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni. Earlier, the Winneba High Court upheld an injunction filed by the Winneba District Police on planned peaceful protest. Below are a chronicle of the events that led to the decision of the concerned students and alumni to embark on a peaceful protest. VICTIMIZATION OF LECTURERS On 5thMay 2018, 3news.com published an article after Amnesty International held a press conference in Accra with regard to a culture of silence on the campus of the University of Education, Winneba. In the article, the human rights organization was reported to have said at a news conference in Accra that authorities in the school have constantly abused the rights of lecturers and students to the extent of illegally evicting some officers of the university. Amnesty International insisted that there were ongoing cases of withholding of the salaries of staff, rejection of authentic excuse duties and attempts to dismiss some staff members. Samuel Abgotsey, Campaign and Fundraising Coordinator, Amnesty International Ghana was surprised that a university which ought to know better “can blatantly violate the human rights of citizens”. Dr. Ofori Bekoe who was a victim of the victimization scheme was reported to have been sacked on an allegation that was still under investigation by the police. The allegation? It was alleged that Dr. Bekoe [a former local chapter President of the University Teachers Association of Ghana] threatened to butcher some members of the university’s governing council with knives and cutlasses after a disagreement at a meeting held on February 22, 2018. Dr. Bekoe also reported that on the 11thof April 2018, he was given a notice ordering him to vacate his premises on campus latest by the 30thof April.  Some days after the 30thof April, he was visited by the chief security officer and the ethics committee chairman who told him that they were under command from Prof. Afful Broni to use “any means to evict him” from his on-campus bungalow. The door to Dr. Bekoe’s bungalow was removed, also electricity and water connection to the bungalow was disconnected.  Another lecturer, Dr. Atintonoo [the first to be sacked] was also sacked by Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni on the grounds that he vacated his post whiles attending a fulbright post doc award despite the fact that he sought permission from the then vice chancellor, Prof. Mawutor Avoke. In a radio interview, Dr. Bekoe said that other lecturers and he have been targeted by Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni because they weren’t in support of his appointment as the Acting Vice Chancellor [a list of about 50 people]. According to Dr. Bekoe, Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni just like the ousted Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mawutor Avoke was appointed by the same governing council. In effect, if the governing council was found to be defunct, it becomes ironical and contradictory to replace the vice-chancellor with one who was also appointed by the same defunct governing council. Prof. Avea Nsor [The Principal of the College of Languages, Ajumako campus, UEW] reiterated that some staff of the university are being haunted because they are in support of “the right thing”. He said he was told by the University’s Council Chairman [Prof.  Nicholas Abaka] that he was the next on the list to be sacked. Prof. Avea further said that some students have been contracted to record lecturers in order to get evidence which can be used in sacking those lecturers from the university. Prof. Avea further bemoaned the sacking of Dr. Atintonoo, citing that the Dr. was a very resourceful person who played a vital role in uplifting the university to its current stature. When Prof. Afful-Broni and Jerry Addison were contacted, they declined to speak.   STATUTES OF THE UNIVERSITY It is stated clearly in the statute 7d. of the university that: “In the event of a temporary absence of both the Vice-Chancellor and Pro Vice-Chancellor from the University or when both posts are vacant, THE MOST SENIOR DEAN shall act until Council is able to make a FORMAL appointment”. Prof. Afful-Broni’s tenure as the pro vice chancellor expired on the 28thof February, 2018. Dr. Bekoe pointed out to the fact that the tenure of the then Pro Vice Chancellor [Prof. Afful-Broni] had ended and so he found it very intriguing when the council chairman, Prof.  Nicholas Abaka re-appointed Prof. Afful-Broni as the vice chancellor. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni according to Dr. Bekoe was appointed on the grounds that he was the most senior professor in the university, a clear contradiction of the university’s statutes. THE ISSUE OF ACCOMODATION AND OTHER ISSUES OF RELEVANCE I quote from page 42 of the school’s handbook. “The University of Education, Winneba Student Housing Policy [UEWSHP] requires ALL students admitted to the University to live in an on-campus residence hall for the first year and move out the subsequent years into off-campus accommodation. The IN-OUT-OUT-OUT structure shall therefore be used as the basis for housing students in the University. The concerned students want to know when the above stated rule will become a reality. The stress that first year students go through in acquiring accommodation in the University is really huge and factually, there are more students outside campus than on campus. The school is yet to admit freshers and with regard to that, the Concerned students and Alumni want to know the steps the school is taking to ensure that ALL [or even majority] of the freshers will stay ON-CAMPUS as stipulated by the schoool’s handbook. The concerned students and alumni are also worried about the exorbitant fees charged by hostel owners in Winneba. It is almost as if there is no communication with the school’s authorities and that hostel owners can charge whatever amount they want to. The concerned students and alumni feel that the University’s top hierarchy have turned a blind eye to some prevalent issues affecting students’ stay on campus such as inefficient and inadequate public address systems in lecture halls, inadequate furniture in the lecture halls which forces students to move furniture from one lecture hall to the other as well as allocation of large class sizes to relatively small lecture halls which makes the entire learning process cumbersome. The concerned students and alumni of UEW also want to find out why the UEW Alumni election hasn’t yet taken place. THE SIMPA SPARTANS The Simpa Spartans is a pressure group which is affiliated to the Simpa Hall in the North Campus of the University. It was formed in September 1998 with the aim of providing entertainment, ensuring discipline, fostering an atmosphere to enhance academic success, ensuring peaceful co-existence among students as well as serving as “watchdogs” for Simpa Hall and the university as a whole. REV. ANTHONY AFFUL-BRONI’S ASSOCIATION WITH THE SPARTANS In the 2007/2008 academic year, Rev. Afful-Broni was a patron of this pressure group. A past executive of the Spartans reported that Rev. Afful-Broni decided to become a patron of the group by freewill. Reports from an executive of the Spartans in that academic year group indicated that they played a vital role in the construction of the Holy Spirit Cathedral Catholic Church in the university. According to the executive, they worked very hard as they provided man power and also helped in raising funds through the “JAMA” they performed on numerous occassions when the church was engaging in a fundraising program to construct that edifice. The executive couldn’t state the exact amount which was raised but he was emphatic that on one such fund raising programme, the amount raised was in excess of the 20 000 cedis which was needed. Since his appointment as the Actng. Vice Chancellor, Prof. Afful-Broni has been on the neck of pressure groups as he sought to prevent them from engaging in their activities on campus based on the premise that they are illegal associations. Since the Spartans are the oldest pressure group on campus, they have felt the full rigor of Prof. Afful-Broni’s dislike for pressure groups. Prof. Afful-Broni’s attention is on them because “when you cut the head off, the remaining body becomes irrelevant”. The stand of Prof. Afful-Broni on pressure groups is very intriguing because page 45 of the school’s handbook makes provision for the appointment of the hall pressure group chairman by the hall president. The questions are: If pressure groups are illegal associations on campus, why would the school’s handbook point out that a hall pressure group chairman ought to be appointed by the hall president? How can there be appointment of a chairman of a group that is deemed illegal? Based on the fact that he was a patron of a pressure group, at which point did Prof. Afful-Broni realise that pressure groups are illegal? “If pressure groups are illegal”, why did he opt to become a patron of Simpa Spartans in the 2007/2008 academic year? THE EXAMINATION “WAHALA” On the 28thof April, 2017, some students wrote an Introduction to special education exams at the University’s north campus faculty blocks 103 and 104. The paper started at 11:30 am. About 15 minutes into the paper, Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni came around to order some students numbering about 15 to leave the examination room and change their Spartan Lacoste before they continue with the paper. Baring in mind that there are attempts to soil the integrity of the Spartan Association with indiscipline and misconduct, these students gave in to Prof. Afful-Broni’s demands despite the fact that there is no rule in the university which stipulates the kind of attire one should wear during an examination. THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL’S BACK On the 26thof June 2018, some security men of the university together with the Simpa hall manageress came with the intention of demolishing Kosovo [the meeting place of the Spartans]. The hall manageress said that the directive was given by Prof. Afful-Broni after a management meeting. Apparently, the school was on recess and so it was not expected that students will still be on campus. However, some students [who are Spartans] were still busily attending to their project work at Kosovo and so didn’t agree to the hall manageress’ directive. According to Agyapong Osei Victor, the leader of the concerned students, there was no formal communication between the school authorities and the student body which is what normally takes place before any directive which directly affects the student body residing in the hall takes place. Victor opined that the students elect their own hall presidents and so issues like this should have been formally communicated. Agyapong Osei Victor’s protests led to a meeting with the Head of security of UEW’s North campus and Simpa hall’s manageress in a bid to ensure that the due processes will be followed. In the meeting the head of security emphatically stated that the directive was given by the Ag. Vice Chancellor because the structure was deemed illegal. My checks also prove that the Spartans have been using that structure since the group was officially formed in September 1998 [yes, The Simpa Spartans of UEW will be 20 years in the month of September]. So genuine questions to ask are: If the structure is illegal, why is it that the place has been used by the Spartans for the past 19 years? In any case does it imply that anyone can just put up a structure on their own in UEW without going through any due processes? If the structure is illegal, why wasn’t it demolished when students were on campus? Pay no heed to arguments that demolishing the structure whilst students were still on campus would have endangered the students.  Whiles school was still in session, the television stands of Simpa block C and D underwent renovations. In any case, didn’t those renovations endanger the students? In any case, was it a management meeting that led to the decision to demolish the structure? If yes, who attended that meeting? In any case, when Simpa blocks C and D were demolished in order for renovations to take place, why weren’t the workers who did the demolishing escorted by the school’s security as well as state policemen?  Does it have to take more than 19 years to realize that a structure within the confines of a university is illegal? Why should state police and the school security men escort carpenters to demolish “an illegal structure” within the confines of the university? APPOINTMENT OF HEAD OF DEPARTMENTS [HoD’s] FOR THE 2018 ACADEMIC YEAR WITHOUT REGARD FOR THE UNIVERSITY’S STATUTES AND GUIDELINES FOR APPOINTING HoD’s There has been newly appointed HoD’s among the various departments in the Faculty of Science. However, information gathered from a reliable source proves that this appointments were done without regard for the University’s laid down statutes and guidelines for the nomination and appointment of HoD’s. According to the Administrative Handbook for Deans and Heads of Department [February 2016], The Procedures For Nominations Of HODS states that “In accordance with Statue 31a of the University statutes [2007], [http://uew.edu.gh/sites/default/files/circulation/statute.pdf], appointment of HoDs shall be made by the Vice-Chancellor on the RECOMMENDATION of the Dean of appropriate Faculty who shall consult MEMBERS OF THE DEPARTMENT. Information gathered indicates that there was no consultation with the various members of the following departments; Home Economics, Chemistry, Integrated Science and HPERS prior to the appointment of their various HODs. The case of the appointment of Prof. Henry Augustine Pufaa as the HOD of the Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Sports [HPERS] which took effect from the 1stof August, 2018 is even more bewildering considering the fact that the Guidelines On The Appointment Of Staff On Post-Retirement Contract In The Universities [August 7, 1997] clearly states that “1.4 Staff on Post-retirement contract shall not encumber statutory positions [Heads of Department, Directorship of Institute, Deanship of Division…]. Despite the fact that Prof. Pufaa retired in 2010, the Actng. VC ignored the above Guideline and went ahead to appoint him as the Head of the HPERS Department. The same ills have also been perpetrated in other departments. To buttress this point, it is apt that we ask ourselves why Prof. Augustine Yao Quashigah declined to take up the position which was offered him by the current Ag. Vice Chancellor. THE WAY FORWARD The essence of the peaceful protest is to ensure that the Acting Vice Chancellor is either removed from office or resigns honorably. As members of the concerned current and past students of the University of Education, Winneba we categorically state:

  1. That as a matter of urgency, we wish that the Acting Vice Chancellor, Rev. Prof. Anthony Afful- Broni is removed from office or resigns to restore peace, tranquility and academic freedom at the University.
  2. That it is an open secret that since he took over the reigns as the Chief Executive of the University by a Winneba High Court Order some 12 months ago, the University has never remained the same. Intimidation, humiliation, cronyism and disrespect have become the order of the day. He openly brags, insults, intimidates staff and students at the least opportunity even when he is discharging his duties as a reverend father of the Holy Spirit Cathedral Catholic Church.
  3. That the Acting Vice Chancellor got his mandate extended without recourse to the university’s Statutes in that, statute 7d states “in the event of a temporary absence of both the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro Vice- Chancellor or when both posts are vacant, the most Senior Dean shall act until council is able to make a formal appointment”. This clear statutory provision was side-stepped, rendering his appointment illegal because his tenure as Pro Vice-Chancellor ended on the 28thof February, 2018. He was appointed just because he was the most experienced professor and not the most senior Dean. We are sure that this is another fertile ground for the University to engage in a legal battle. In addition to this, at the time of his re-appointment, there was an injunction on him and the Pro VC elections but in connivance with the University’s Council and Management they stopped the Pro VC elections and extended his mandate.
  4. That if the Acting Vice Chancellor, is allowed in that capacity to sign certificates of students who have just completed the university, the certificates will be rendered as illegal to be used and in effect, will not be recognized. If the right thing is not immediately done, many students will be affected.
  5. That through his tyrannical tendencies, a serious culture of silence has prevailed as staff who dare stand up to him are sacked, demoted or transferred without recourse to the University’s statutes and rules governing the management of the University, making his clear disregard for the rule of law very clear.
  6. That we are also using this medium to inform all of you that his short tenure in office has brought upon the University, an unprecedented number of legal battles involving several sectors of the University, causing people to doubt his administrative credentials and goodwill for the University. All these have been orchestrated by him in order to ensure that he remains in office as the Acting VC. Below are a few of the legal battles our dear UEW is plagued with:
  • He came to office as the Acting Vice Chancellor through the UEW versus Kofi Kwayera case that contested the legitimacy of the then council to appoint Principal Officers. Ironically he was one of the Principal Officers appointed by the so called defunct council.
  • UTAG – UEW is also in court over election disputes. This is because he encouraged those who were defeated in the elections to proceed to court. So as we speak now, UTAG-UEW has no executives.
  • The Chairman of Council, The Acting VC and Registrar are served with contempt charges after disregarding an injunction notice served on them
  • UEW is also in court against a lecturer [Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe] for wrongful dismissal.
  • There has been an injunction on the UEW – SRC elections because a candidate [Paul Abrokwah] was disqualified by the University’s Management despite the fact that the SRC’s Judicial Committee cleared the said candidate to contest the elections.
  1. Through his tyrannical tendencies, both experienced and young lecturers have been sacked and or got their appointments terminated with the flimsiest of excuses. In addition, some staffs have been transferred indiscriminately without regard to the laid down rules and budgetary allocations leading to serious financial loss to the university. Those sacked include Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe, Madam Shine and Dr. Atintono
  2. UEW Alumni election has been postponed by Management for no apparent reasons and this has robbed the Association of representation on the University’s council since March, 2018. The role played by the Alumni in building institutions cannot be underscored.
  3. That a letter written by a group of old students’ demanding from management reasons for suspending alumni elections was not responded to, as a result of his direct order. Why is the university displaying so much unwarranted interest in UEW Alumni elections? Is the university happy that, there is no representation from the Alumni on the University’s council?
  4. That one other significant characteristic of the Acting Vice Chancellor is the constant harassment of students who belong to pressure groups to the extent that he sacked them from examinations and lecture halls for wearing the Lacoste of a pressure group even though the students did not breach any examination and lecture rules by wearing that Lacoste.
  5. Why did the acting VC sack students from examination hall? On 11th December, 2017, he drove about 15 students out from the examination hall because they were wearing Spartan Lacostes, citing that it is not a prescribed attire in the university. Title of paper was Introduction to Special Education, code: GPD 233, venue: Faculty block room 103 and 104, level 200 and time for the paper was 11:30am.
  6. The university’s student handbook specifies the need for pressure groups in all the halls of residence or affiliation to an extent of recognizing the head of the pressure group as a hall executive. GENERAL RULES AND REGULATIONS—1.2.3 Leadership and positions, page 43-45. The student handbook which is held in high esteem says the president of the pressure groups shall be appointed by the hall president. Is the handbook not in use? Are all the pressure groups on our four campuses that is, Spartans, Garvians, Trojans, Legends, Titans, Chantax, Dons illegal? If we exist based on the school’s general rules and regulations, then why is the Acting VC always harassing us, citing that we operate illegally on campus? It is an insult and an indictment to the rule of law if the school disregards its own rules.
  7. That, students have been tasked to build and not to destroy and that is why one of the pressure groups used their own resources to build a studying pavilion since 1999 at the North Campus. The Acting Vice Chancellor ordered the head of the UEW security to get this pavilion demolished and when the students demanded that the materials be handed over to them, they were heckled by four fully armed police officers from the Winneba police command.
  8. That there are incidences of harassment and victimization of staff in order to perpetuate a culture of silence in UEW.
  9. That ever since the leadership of UTAG-UEW declared a strike action in response to the rulings of the Winneba High Court and subsequently secured a ruling from the Supreme Court to quash those rulings, the Acting VC has victimized the lecturers who did not side with him and he has made it his mission to either gag them or dismiss them and do the same to any other staff who openly supports the actions of these leaders who want to bring justice to UEW by ensuring that the right thing is done.
  10. We want to know if the Supreme Court’s ruling is important.
  11. Why did the Acting VC write to Dr. Samuel Atintono, one of the leaders of UTAG-UEW, indicating to him that he has vacated his post when in actual fact, the same University had previously granted him the permission to go for a Fulbright Fellowship in USA?
  12. That some senior members have been called before committees formed by the Acting VC, for allegedly posting or circulating materials critical of the current happenings in UEW on Social Media platforms, while others who wrote to openly insult others, especially; UTAG-UEW leaders and other high profile personalities in the University were rather rewarded with dubious appointments and promotions. Alhassan Salifu Bawah, who writes in support of the Actng. VC has been unduly promoted to the position of: Director, UEW Basic Schools.
 
  1. That Dr. Samuel Bekoe, a lecturer received a letter, dated 29thMarch, 2018 and signed by Rev. Fr. Anthony Afful-Broni (whose position as Acting Vice Chancellor is being challenged in a High Court and has been so served), purporting to communicate to him the decision of the University’s Council to suddenly dismiss him from the University. Assuming the decision to sack Dr. Bekoe was a fair one, we ask that prior to signing the letter, did the Acting VC consider whether there was a replacement or not before taking that decision? Is the Ag. VC aware that Dr. Samuel Bekoe is a PROUD ALUMNUS of  UEW?
  2. That under his orders, some staff of the Estate Section went to Dr. Bekoe’s house, on a rainy morning and informed the lecturer that they have been instructed to evict him. They therefore went ahead to remove the front doors to the main house and out-house/boys quarters and cut electricity supply to the house, even when he informed them that an injunction application against the eviction has been filed in the High Court and that the University has been served with the application. This action led to the exposure of his personal items to the outside world, with no means of securing and safeguarding them. They went to his bungalow another day and this time, they removed all the doors in the house, the louver blades, mosquito nettings, burglar-proof wire nettings and also cut water supply to the house thereby further exposing his properties not to only the vagaries of the weather, but also to thieves. We ask again that if the same treatment is meted out to the Acting VC when he retires from the University, will he be enthused? This was reported on various radios, TV and in newspapers in the country.
  3. That on the 27th of June 2018, the Acting VC signed a letter, dismissing yet another lecturer for allegedly circulating damaging messages with elements of criminality against Prof. E. N. Abakah, Rev. Fr. Anthony Afful-Broni and Neeyi Ghartey VII. What about those who also make allegations against other staff members in his favor?
  4. On the 27th of April, 2018 one Joshua-Luther an Assistant Lecturer and Richard Yorda Bayemba, a security man in the school visited the palace of Spartans to present a drink to the Chief of the group. The two gentlemen said they were there on behalf of the Acting VC and that as a person, he likes the group and that he is not going to have problems with them again. The main idea of doing that according to the intelligence we picked from a close source indicates that he wanted the group to support some of his tyrannically driven decisions. The group has for the past two years, refused to do the bidding of the Acting VC which made him develop high hatred for all the pressure groups on campus. We are making him aware that we will never support his cause to demonstrate against anybody because we are an independent association.
  5. That we don’t trust an Ag. VC who can order the police [who are supposed to maintain law and order] to manhandle students on campus without any provocation whatsoever. There is also a video evidence to that effect.
  6. That as a catholic priest and Ag. VC, he was a patron of a pressure group on campus, used them as cheap labour when building the Holy Spirit Catholic Church (the only church with a building on campus) and also made them sing during a harvest. In implication, the Ag. VC cunningly became a patron just to use the group as cheap labour to build the church and after that, dumped the group and described them as occults.
We want to know why the Ag. VC is preventing other churches from also building their place of worship on campus as done in all the other public universities. Is UEW a catholic university?
  1. From a reliable source, the 2018 admission was not encouraging and due to that, the closing date was extended to 31stJuly, 2018. The University is no more attractive to the general public.
  2. We wish that the media comes to campus to independently verify from workers i.e. lecturers, Teachers and Educational Workers Union [TEWU] members, those who sell on the campus and even students and others, what the current state of the university is.
  3. Why is UEW not represented on the Vice Chancellors Association of Ghana? Is it because our dear Ag. VC is recognized as illegal and in effect, cannot represent the university? Why then is he happily enjoying and occupying a position which has proved to have adverse effects on the progress of the university? In view of that, we are asking the University Council to as a matter of urgency, relieve the Ag. VC of his position and appoint a substantive Vice Chancellor for the school if he does not resign honourably.
The above and other ills perpetuated by the Acting Vice Chancellor towards staff and students coupled with his unlawful reappointment are serious sources of concern to the University community since the tension, division and apathy created has culminated in destroying the integrity that the University once upon a time, reveled in. For the first time in the history of the University, admission deadlines have been extended several times because our dear UEW is no longer attractive due to the negative media exposure it receives, stemming from the poor management of the current administration. No wonder UEW is now called ‘UNIVERSITY OF COURT AND INJUNCTION, WINNEBA’
  1. Why did the Ag. Vice Chancellor disregard the University’s Guidelines On Appointment Of Staff On Post-Retirement Contract by appointing Prof. Henry Augustine Pufaa as the Head of Department for the Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Sports [HPERS] on Friday, the 27thof July 2018. Point 1.4 in the aforementioned guidelines reads “Staff on Post-retirement contract shall not encumber statutory positions [Headship of Department, Directorship of Institute, Deanship of Division….] Prof. Pufaa’s appointment is very intriguing considering the fact that he retired in 2010!! The same ills have also been perpetrated in other departments of the school.
To buttress this point, it is apt that we ask ourselves why Prof. Augustine Yao Quashigah declined to take up the position which was offered him by the current Ag. Vice Chancellor.
  1. Per a payment voucher sighted, on the 13thof December 2016, Prof Afful-Broni received a total of $24, 412.08 [which at the time, translated into about 104, 014 cedis] as per diem for a trip to China, a payment which the University’s accountant at the time, Shadrach Nkatia approved by appending his signature. So we ask; who facilitated the payment of that whopping sum to Prof. Afful-Broni as his per diem for that trip he made to China? What is the University’s stance on the payment of per diems?
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