The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, says the government does not have the right to sack the Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Prof Kwasi Obiri-Danso.
According to the NDC flagbearer, if the University Council feels that the work of the Vice Chancellor is not up to standard, it has the right to take action, but it is not the duty of the government to attempt to remove the Vice Chancellor.
Mahama has also expressed worry over the government’s intention to pass the university bill to change the academic freedom of public universities in Ghana.
According to the NDC standard-bearer, the party will continue to promote greater academic freedom in the universities, bragging that the back and forth bickering over developments on the campuses of the University of Education, Winneba, and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) will never occur under his administration.
Addressing a meeting with the national executives of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), the former President, according to a story published on his official website, maintained that the government had no business interfering in the running of the universities, noting that the institutions have their own autonomous structures in place to deal with their administrative issues.
The Kumasi meeting discussed many topical issues, including remuneration, steps towards the introduction of sustainable grants for research and graduate education, the management of utilities on campus, infrastructure deficit in the universities, and the role universities can play in managing the unemployment challenge facing Ghana and other African countries.
John Mahama restated the NDC’s opposition to the Public Universities Bill, which is before Parliament, affirming that each and every university must remain autonomous and conduct its affairs without the intended interference in their activities.
“Every university is based on its diversity and what its objectives are must have its separate Act… if there are issues with the Act [that established a university], we can amend the Act for that particular university,” he stated.
The discussions form part of the NDC and John Mahama’s engagement with stakeholders and key groupings ahead of the 2020 general elections.
According to former President Mahama, the interactions are aimed at sharing ideas, and listening to the concerns and expectations of the various groupings to shape the party’s manifesto for 2020.
The outgoing President of UTAG, Dr. Eric Opoku, thanked the former President for responding to the invitation and expressed the desire that there will be more of such interactions, even after he assumes the presidency.
Mr. Mahama was accompanied by Professor Joshua Alabi, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra, NDC Chairman Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia, Ashanti Regional Chairman Nana Kwasi, and Dr. Callistus Mahama.