The Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) ordered the University to close down on Tuesday, following a violent protest by some students, but a statement issued by government today [Thursday], October 25, directed that the University re-opens within fourteen days to “enable academic work to continue.”
This follows briefs and recommendations made by the Minister for Education, Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh after he led a high powered delegation, including the Minister for National Security, Hon. Albert Kan Dapaah and the Minister-Designate for Information, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah to Kumasi.
The Government dissolved the KNUST Council and, in its stead, put in place a 7-member Interim Council. It has also directed that the University reopens within fourteen days to enable academic work to continue. The Interim Council, chaired by Nana Effah Apenteng, Paramount Chief of the Bompata Traditional Area, has a three-month tenure.
It will be recalled that on Monday 22nd October 2018, there were disturbances on KNUST campus in Kumasi during which property was vandalized. The university was subsequently shut down indefinitely upon the advice of the Regional Security Council.
The view of the university management, as the delegation observed, was that increasingly, there had been acts of wayward behavior, hooliganism and incidents of violence on campus, hence the need to take steps to protect life and property.
The position of the student leadership was that the issues go beyond the university’s policy to convert all the halls of residence into mixed sex halls. It emerged further that the students felt oppressed by some policies of the university authorities and that they lived in fear. They believed they did not have enough opportunities for conflict resolution and dialogue with the authorities, resulting in a breakdown of trust between students and the authorities.
Government’s immediate priority is to expedite the reopening of the university to ensure a smooth return to academic work. This view is shared by the university’s lecturers. Government is also mindful of an adverse international image the country would suffer if the university remained closed for a protracted period, especially given the substantial number of foreign students at KNUST.
However, government has been advised by the Ashanti Regional Security Council that without a resolution of the relevant matters, it would not be safe to reopen the university.
The Ministry took the view that the Governing Council was not in a position to review its own processes and decisions affecting the student body to guarantee peace. Subsequently, the Ministry of Education recommended to government the suspension of the university’s Governing Council and the establishment of an Interim Council.
The government subsequently directed the suspension of the KNUST Governing Council and the establishment of a seven-member Interim Management Committee (IMC) chaired by Nana Effah Apenteng, Paramount Chief of the Bompata Traditional Area. The IMC, which was inaugurated earlier today, has a three-month mandate to oversee the day-to-day running of the university and to investigate all outstanding matters in order to expedite the reopening of the university.
Government unreservedly condemns the damage to private and public property during the disturbances as unacceptable in any circumstances, and states for emphasis that those found culpable following investigations will be surcharged accordingly.