Members of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) at the University of Education, Winneba, are divided over the recent strike declared by their president.
According to some of the lecturers, their President, Dr. Samuel Ofori Bekoe, did not consult them before declaring the strike.
This was triggered by last Friday’s court ruling which directed the Vice Chancellor to step aside temporarily.
The spokesperson for the Concerned Lecturers, Isaac Brako, said the executives must be sanctioned for taking that arbitrary decision.“National UTAG will tell you that the various campuses should declare a strike before national will take it up. So what has changed that this time around, our local executives are taking a major decision without seeking the consent of the rank and file. They have demonstrated that they don’t respect us. It took our votes to get them there. And if something has happened and you don’t see the need to seek my consent then it’s a kind of disrespect,” he added.
Meanwhile, lawyer for the plaintiff challenging the eligibility of school’s Vice chancellor and other staff, Alex Afenyo Markin, argued that the executives of UTAG are in contempt of court for declaring the strike.
“If a court makes an order and you disagree, you appeal it but to attempt to do anything directly and indirectly to undermine the integrity of the court or bring the authority of the court to disrespect will amount to contempt of the court,” he added.
In a 23rd May 2017 writ issued, the plaintiff [Supi Kwayera] adduced that the university’s council’s mandate had expired in November 2013, but the Education Ministry failed to constitute a new Governing Council for the university, and rather allowed and permitted the defunct Governing Council which had no mandate whatsoever to continue the functions of a properly constituted Governing Council as if same had been properly constituted.
This Mr. Kwayera insisted was unlawful, and hence his legal action against the University of Education, Winneba.
However, before the substantive claims were looked into, the University, through its counsel, applied to the court to dismiss the suit on the three counts, but the application was dismissed.
The University’s branch of the University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (UTAG) as a respondent subsequently applied to joint the application.
The High Court in Winneba on July 14, 2017, ordered the Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, Professor Mawutor Avokeh, to step aside until the case brought against him is determined.
The court order also affects the school’s Finance Officer.
The UEW branch of UTAG subsequently declared a strike to protest against the court’s ruling.
Isaac Brako, who was angered over the strike in an article said “are we not ashamed of ourselves? Or have we been blinded by intellectualism? Way back in 2013, Alex Afenyo Markin started drawing government and our attention to the ramifications of an improperly constituted governing council, where were we?”
“We will not allow you, few self-seeking leeches and vampires, to destroy where we take our daily bread. The University is running and will run. Do not dare try anything funny this time else you will regret it. We are also calling on government to constitute our Governing Council as soon as possible,” he added.
By: Franklin Badu Jnr/citifmonline.com/Ghana