Prof. Yankah calls for calm at Wa Polytechnic

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah
Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah

The Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah, has called for calm at the Wa Polytechnic.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic on Wednesday, Prof. Yankah said all forms of physical confrontations on the campus must cease.

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“I am appealing to all the interested parties not to take the law into their hands, but rather they should allow due process and let the appropriate authorities deal with the issue,” he stated.

The embattled Rector of the polytechnic, Professor Emmanuel Owusu Marfo, had been accused by the staff of alleged mismanagement and the enraged staff last Monday, April 9  locked him out of his office, when he attempted to enter the place.

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Prof. Yankah described the incident as unfortunate, adding that: “The government is not pleased with the confrontation between the rector and the staff.’’

On how the government was dealing with the issue, Prof. Yankah said the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, last week invited all the stakeholders to his office to resolve the impasse.

The meeting, he explained, took place, but certain key people failed to attend.

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“That process is still ongoing; and hopefully, it will yield some fruits,’’ he noted.

Prof. Yankah was, however, quick to add that the governing council had the mandate to resolve such a crisis.

Legal action

“But now that the matter is in court, we call for the case to be dealt with expeditiously. Fortunately, the council has responded to the legal action filed by the rector,’’ he added.

Prof. Yankah also appealed to the students of the polytechnic not to take advantage of the situation to indulge in any illegalities that would disturb academic activities.

“So far, the incident has not affected academic activities or the normal running of the polytechnic. We call on all stakeholders to allow peace to prevail,’’ he stated.

In a related development, Emmanuel Modey reports from Wa that the Chairman of the Wa Polytechnic Council, Prof. Daniel Bagah, had refuted claims that Prof. Marfo who was inducted into office barely three weeks ago had vacated his post.

According to the chairman, following an agitation by a group of staff on Monday, March 26, 2018, he wrote to him to step aside for a committee to investigate a number of allegations levelled against him.

Professor Emmanuel Marfo-Owusu

Disturbances

Prof. Bagah said the rector went to the campus last Monday, April 9 but was prevented from entering the office by a group of staff and non-teaching staff wielding cudgels and stones.

Earlier, the enraged staff had barricaded the roads with logs in an attempt to attack him.

He said the allegations against the rector needed to be investigated, but the rector went to the Wa High Court which had an injunction placed on the move by the group of workers.

Some of the allegations, he said, included general abuse of office, procurement malpractices such as the purchase of a Mercedez Benz saloon car valued at about GH¢500,000 for the office and delayed promotions of staff.

To express their dissatisfaction with the administration of the rector, the tutors boycotted the induction ceremony of the rector but participated in the congregation of graduands of the school.

Court injunction

According to Prof. Bagah, due to the injunction by the Wa High Court restraining the council from investigating him, the Polytechnic Council could not constitute a committee to investigate the allegations levelled against the rector.

When contacted, Prof. Owusu Marfo, who refuted the allegations, said he was at post.

He said he received a letter from Prof. Bagah on Thursday, April 5, 2018, which stated that he had been suspended because of the allegations levelled against him by the tutors.

Prof. Owusu Marfo said he then consulted his lawyer who went to the High Court to seek an injunction to quash all the allegations against him on the grounds that the group did not follow due process.

However, normal lectures are in session.