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UTAG insists Prof Abakah should step down as UEW Chairman

BY: Zadok Kwame Gyesi

The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has described the Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Education, Winneba, (UEW), Professor Emmanuel Nicholas Abakah as a “moral dwarf” who has no locus to dismiss staff of the university on moral grounds.

Consequently, the National Executive Council of UTAG, which is the highest decision taking body of the association has asked Prof Abakah and the Vice Chancellor of UEW, Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni, to resign.

This is because according to the UTAG, the two principal officers of UEW have created a culture of silence on the campus where individuals who express divergent views on their decisions are victimised.

At a press conference on Tuesday at the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA), the President of UTAG, Dr Eric Opoku Mensah said Prof. Abakah and the Vice Chancellor of the university have teamed up to victimise any staff who expresses any divergent view on their decisions.

He said Prof. Abakah has also failed to give good counsel to the Vice Chancellor of the university in the management of the school.

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“Prof. Abakah assumes a moral high ground and pontificates when in actual fact if the spotlight is shown on him he is reduced to a moral dwarf,” Dr Mensah said.

He explained that documents in the possession of UTAG’s National Executive Council indicate that Prof. Abakah used his position as Chairman of UEW’s Governing Council to engineer a retroactive application of a statutory provision, which did not apply to him when he was in active service to gain promotion.

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“It is eye opening to observe that Prof. Abakah failed, statute wise, to gain promotion under a previous administration, but under the administration of his protégé, Prof. Afful-Broni, under a Governing Council that he Prof. Abakah chairs, that the rules were tinkered to enable him be promoted with retrospective effect even after about five years of his retirement,” Dr Mensah explained.

The UTAG President also called on President Akufo-Addo to “initiate a full scale investigation into the conduct of Prof. Abakah on the UEW council and to bring him to book if found complicit.”

Touching on the rationale behind the press conference, Dr Mensah said it was meant to set the records straight and “clearly enunciate UTAG’s position on current happenings at UEW."

He added that the press conference was also necessitated by some misrepresentations Prof. Abakah had created at a press conference he organised to get public sympathy over the university’s illegal dismissal, demotions, and ill-fated transfers of some staff of the university.

Background

There were some demonstrations by a section of UEW’s students following dismissal of some staff, including three senior lecturers by the university in the beginning of March, this year.

Following the demonstrations which became violent, the university was closed down and its students asked to go home until further notice.

The Governing Council of the university together with some government officials visited the university to assess damage caused by the students demonstration against the dismissal, demotions and suspension of some staff of the university.

The Governing Council after assessing the situation, organised a press conference in which the Chairman, Prof. Abakah, said due process was followed in the dismissal of members of staff of the university, including the three senior lecturers.

According to the council, every member of staff of the UEW who had been dismissed, suspended or demoted was taken through the due process of the law, in accordance with Schedule G of the UEW statutes.

Click to read UTAG’s statement in full (pdf)