General News of Wednesday, 4 September 2002
..and Defends the violation..
The chairman of the council of state Professor Alex Kwapong and the Ghana Education Service Council have been caught up in a controversy surrounding the contract appointment of the headmistress of Achimota School. Joy FM investigations indicate that both the education council and professor Kwapong, who is also the chairman of the governing board of the school have flouted a constitutional provision governing the appointment of retired persons on contract.
It is a classic case of bending the rules for a good reason. So says the good professor, who is also the first Ghanaian vice-chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon. But it provides a case study for legal brains to test the rule of law as applied under the current democratic dispensation.
Professor Alex Kwapong admitted in an interview with Joy FM that he petitioned the education service council and the ministry of education to grant an extension to the headmistress of Achimota School, Mrs. Charlotte Brew Graves, who has served a total of five years on contract with the Ghana Education Service. As a result, a directive by the regional education service asking Mrs. Brew Graves to hand over to her immediate assistant was blocked by the council. Prof. Kwapong said he would “rather sin against the constitution and avoid a gap which will jeopardize the best interests of the pupils and staff of Achimota School”.
This goes contrary to a constitutional amendment which bans the practice of renewing such contracts especially where the serving officer has served a total of five years. But Professor Alex Kwapong, who is the chairman of the school’s governing board, says there is no problem with that and that the council has behaved well in the long-term interest of the school.
But the education minister was not even aware that the extension had been granted by the education service council even though his office did receive the petition. For now, he says, let’s wait for the reasons given by the council for the extension. So, while we wait for the reasons the question is, can the constitution be flouted with good reason? That is a test of the rule of law.