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Opinions of Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Columnist: Abdul Razak Bawa

Why I cannot shed tears for Prof. Gyampo?

Prof Gyampo was implicated in BBC's documentary on allegations of sexual harassment and abuse Prof Gyampo was implicated in BBC's documentary on allegations of sexual harassment and abuse

A teacher’s responsibilities are countless; the society expects him to be a teacher, a counselor, a trainer, a saint, a book, a mentor, an imam, a pastor, a friend, a parent a dictionary, and a disciplinarian.

In Ghana, we have a popular but an unacceptable saying that, have you seen a man, who rears Chickens and eat Lizard.

The BBC documentary, titled ‘Sex For Grades’, which has become a subject of debate, has only brought to light, what has been happening in the dark.

Anyone in Ghana, who has been lucky to progress beyond secondary school, is aware of what happens in our tertiary institutions.

Until Anas Armeyaw Anas, went undercover to expose the rot at the Ghana Football Association (GFA), as well as with the expose’ on Judges, it was a open secret that, all were not well with these institutions.

In Ghana, we like playing the ostrich, even in the face of glaring evidence. The only way to make an issue useless in this country is to give it political colour.

Two Professors from the University of Ghana (UG), were among the four, who were the subject of the investigative piece.

Prof. Ransford Gyampo and Dr. Paul Kwame Butakor, were indicted in the BBC Africa Eye’s “sex for grades” exposé.

Acting true to type of all criminals of our time, Prof. Gyampo, is all over denying and threatening to drag the BBC to court.

Truth is constant. It does not need colour or sweetener. The triumph of truth over falsehood is always a matter of time. And the truth Prof. Gyampo, should know is that, not many people are buying his story.

There is no smoke without fire, as the saying goes. This is not the first time an allegation like this, has been made against Prof. Gyaampo, except this time around, there is some video of evidential value.

Since the BBC released its expose’, I have read some funny write-ups online, as well as followed some discussions on social media platforms, I happened to belong to in defense of Prof. Gyampo, and some trying so hard to discredit the work of BBC.

Now the truth is this: Prof. Gyampo is capable of defending himself and he is already doing that, including issuing threats of pursuing legal remedy available to him. What I have been reading about this drama online is totally uncalled for. It is ridiculous, shameful and at best, childish.

I am not interested in whether Prof. Gyampo, put himself in a position to take advantage of the young lady or not, whether he is guilty or not, I am fed up with the rotten system that has allowed some lecturers to take advantage of our ladies and get away with it.

Professor Ransford Edward Gyampo is the Head of European Studies at the University of Ghana (UG), he is no stranger to the media, the reason why although, two of them have been caught at UG, he is the only one who has been trending since the video was release, is because a certain standard of behavior is expected of him.

Prof. Gyampo, has been a voice of reason in the country, he has subjected people who hold positions of trust to scrutiny. He expect them to live above reproach and the same was expected of him.

Sexual harassment, according to Wikipedia, is a type of harassment technique that relates to a sexual nature and the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. Sexual harassment includes a range of actions from mild transgressions to sexual abuse or assault.

The body of evidence collected during the undercover work, validates the fact that Prof. Gyampo, sexually harassed the lady.

Responding to the allegations after the excerpts of the video went viral, Prof Gyampo said: “My lawyers have prepared my suit even long before they aired, you saw the documentary. So, tomorrow morning, we will sue them [BBC] and go to court”

According to the lecturer, the “BBC must sit up, otherwise, they are as useless as any other media outlet that is not worth its salt”.

In his opinion: “The BBC of yesteryears that was independent and looks into matters from all angles is now the BBC of a few people who are paid by some politicians who do not like people who are independent-minded. They get paid and they get pushed to do their bidding”.

On the allegations of sexual misconduct, the lecturer said: “I have not slept with her and I didn’t sleep with her. I didn’t touch her; I haven’t done anything untoward”.

He continued: “I don’t care, once I haven’t done what they said I have done, my conscience is clean. I will continue to do what I know how to do best; I will teach, treat my students with love and respect, I will say my mind on all national issues at all times, damn the consequences”.

“I don’t care about them [BBC], I care about my nation – Ghana – I will continue to live a life of ingenuity and serve my nation”.

Prof. Gyampo, will try very hard and will use every means to fight this off, but it is going to be very difficult to talk his way out of.

The issue of lecturers taking advantage of their students, is based on historical antecedents and borders on ethics and credibility and when Prof Gyampo was baited, he was caught pants down.

I am told that stupidity is knowing the truth, seeing the truth but believing in lies.

We need to stop this aberration that is demeaning and ridiculing certificates from our universities.

Institutions of higher learning in sane societies, have well documented policies on sexual harassment. It is considered a serious offence in these institutions. Everybody is well-protected – both the lecturers and the students. Apart from their well-articulated policies, they also provide counselling services for traumatised victims. Despite these provisions, students are still complaining and asking for better policies. They want the universities to review their working documents in conformity with the latest dynamics of the problem. Many of them believe their institutions’ policies on sexual harassment is out-of-date.

It is high time our institution emulate their counterparts elsewhere. The undercover work by the BBC has provided us the opportunity to formulate policies and procedures for responding to cases of sexual harassment.

Institutions should establish formal channels of communication, where students can report cases of harassment.

It is not enough to suspend erring lecturers once in a while as a response to public outcry on the malady; there should be a system in place to curb the activities of predators and provide a conducive environment for everyone to study without any form of harassment or sexual assault.

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