July 17, 2017
A section of members of the University of Education Winneba branch of the
University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has challenged an order by their leadership to embark on a strike on today.
The group of lecturers calling themselves “Concerned UTAG Members” described the strike order as improper and lacks justification.
A UTAG-UEW declared a strike after a Winneba High Court on Friday ordered the Vice Chancellor, and the Chief Finance Officer to hand over to the Pro-Vice Chancellor.
The High Court in Winneba ordered Professor Mawutor Avoke and the Chief Finance Officer to step aside until a case brought against him is determined.
The two were asked to move as per a suit filed by Supi Kofi Kwayera a former Donkoryiem Assemblyman, which obtained a declaration dissolving the University’s Governing Council and, as such, rendering the positions of Vice Chancellor and Chief Finance Officer vacant.
However, the Concerned Teachers are backing the decision of the court, saying it would help to cleanse the governance system of the university.
In a statement signed by Isaac Brako, a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science, on behalf of a group, said the strike was called without any consultation with the membership of UTAG-UEW, alleging that the said strike was to advance the personal interests of some of the leaders.
According to the group, the membership did not mandate to leadership to pursue any legal action on the matter relating the office of the VC, and therefore, would not support any action in furtherance of that case.
“Since May 23rd, 2017, when the writ was issued, and our University started going to court; no UTAG general meeting has been held; yet, it was said at one point that UTAG wanted to join the case. Those two or three executives went ahead and hired an attorney. When our case was subsequently thrown out, and UTAG was fined GHC 3,000 as well (which we presume will come from our dues) no UTAG meeting was held even to brief us on anything.
“Then on 14th July 2017, when the Winneba High Court among other things, ordered the VC and FO to step aside, we hear on the radio that UTAG-UEW has declared an indefinite strike, again, without any consultation with the general UTAG population,” the group said.
The statement assured the public that UTAG-UEW is not on strike, indicating that “members on all our campuses (Ajumako, Mampong, Kumasi, Winneba) are not in favour of this illegal strike, and anyone can visit our campuses on Monday, and you will see lecturers working.”
“We wish, furthermore, to inform all our Sandwich Students to disregard this hoax strike and come to school. The purported strike is for the selfish UTAG-UEW executives, who have failed already in the discharge of their duties as leaders and we will not make them our leaders again.
“They have neglected their core duties to fight for members’ welfare, and they are now fighting for their selfish interests,” the group said.
The statement also enumerated some facts concerning UEW Principal Officers.
- By the Statutes of UEW, the Pro-VC is the only Principal Officer who is elected by Convocation.
- The current Pro-VC (with two others) was nominated by the former VC but not the current embattled VC to contest his first election.
- According to the UEW Statutes, an incumbent Pro-VC is mandatorily qualified to contest the election for the second term with two other nominees by the VC. Therefore the current embattled VC had no option to nominate the current Pro-VC for the second term.
- Since the position of the Pro-VC is by election of a simple majority, the University Governing Council is bound to ratify the electoral decision of the Convocation.
- It follows therefore that if the position of the current VC is declared by the Winneba High Court as illegal because he was approved by an illegal council, his illegality does not affect the position of the current Pro- VC who was validly elected.
- The court is right by the UEW Statutes to ask the Pro-VC to hold the fort while the VC has been asked to step aside.
- It is worth noting that in his two elections, the current Pro-VC polled much more than the 50% of the total valid votes cast. This tells you his level of respectability and popularity among Convocation members. He has always, for his 17 years in UEW, been disciplined, and championed the fight against corruption. The lecturers and senior officers know this for sure. Hence they gave him full support in each of the elections.
By ADR Daily Newsdesk