General News of Saturday, 27 October 2018
Member of Parliament Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa sides with students at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology for using their voices to demand policy changes on campus. Minus the violence that ensued, he applauded the students for their efforts in engaging University officials.
“I am certain in my mind that the students have a case,” Ablakwa told Samson Lardy on Newsfile Saturday. “The students are contesting against a violation of their rights.”
He explained that under Article 21 of Ghana’s Constitution of 1992, all citizens are granted the “freedom of thought, conscience and belief, which shall include academic freedom,” and “freedom of assembly including freedom to take part in processions and demonstrations.”
The former deputy Minister of Education further added that the University failed to act when last month, KNUST alumni petitioned officials who promised they would review their concerns.
“Where is that review? They were not proactive. When you listen to the students you know that their views were not heard.”
Meanwhile, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah says the Information, Education and National Security Ministries had no choice but to intervene following the violent protests that erupted at KNUST Monday.
“The events within the last 24 hours demonstrated that the matters have gone beyond what the University could handle,” said Nkrumah on Joy FM Tuesday.
Protests against the University’s administration emerged Friday after students clashed with campus security officers who would not allow students to conduct a planned customary procession.
Bloody clashes ensued throughout the weekend, and a “peaceful” demonstration was scheduled for Monday.
But demonstrations turned violent. Videos posted on social media purport to show protestors hurling objects at school property and setting cars ablaze. Several students sustained injuries and have since been sent to the hospital.
Discussions during the meeting “will not be disclosed at this time,” Nkrumah said. But he did reveal that all parties have been “cooperative.”
Nkrumah added that all parties have yet to come to a resolution into the matter and each party involved is currently working to gain a clear understanding of what caused the clashes.
“Unfortunately, things have gotten out of hand, but that means we must come together and tackle this,” he said.