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Opinions of Friday, 21 December 2018

Columnist: Kabu Nartey

My earnest attempt to solve the impasse at NUGS when I was Second-in-Command in 2018

Few days ago, I reached out to two of the current embattled NUGS Presidents and admonished them to save the Union. But before today I was a part:

I had run a nationwide campaign even as there were two cohorts of NUGS who run parallel student movement activities in this country. I ran on the tag-line #The Revolution #StudentsFirst. It wasn’t for the fun of it since I had just come from another bruising student movement fight on my campus, the Ghana Institute of Journalism , 2016 |2017 Academic year; and I had made many political enemies who were eager to ensure my failure.

Myself and few other student activists had won from all angles, an electoral freedom and transparency for majority of the Candidates in that year’s elections and our generation. GIJ was somewhat purged. And so bustling in that patriotism, I thought NUGS could be the same story.

A year on now, and the situation has even compounded after ironically coming closest to achieving unity for students of this country and those living abroad. We now have three sects of NUGS despite the individual efforts to fostering Unity at the largest student movement front in this country.

But before you judge how true these efforts were on my part as an embattled General Secretary 2018, I have dusted out from my library one of my speeches I delivered from a research-memoir I delivered at the first-ever secretarial conferences held at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) in March, 2018. I must confess many didn’t like me for this ; but many others appreciated as I stand to be exonerated.

I called it A Guerrilla Secretary: the Memoir of the General Secretary of a Sick Union, the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS)

This paper captures a brief research on the virgin subject of Secretaries and Student Activism in Ghana. It notes the lack of local literature on the subject as well as a more customized one which reflects the journey of the National Union of Ghana Students.

Furthermore, with empirical projects, cases and bravery, it highlights some major transformation in the office of the Secretary of the Union during the 2018 | 2019 leadership under the embattled watch of (Ld) Frank Amoakohene
Kabu Nartey in subsequent chapters introduces some new terms in student activism like “Frivolouscacy” as the maligned and misplaced from of Advocacy.

He introduces perhaps the first ever Secretary activism jargon The Guerilla Secretary, one who is critical of the status quo ascribed to secretaries; one who is not comfortable in just sitting and typing letters for dispatch; one eager to impact his generation with the use of the pen and paper and speech ; one ready to walk the talk as well as confront the one major issue that almost every elected student leader runs away from in office, as experienced in previous leadership ; sometimes except when approaching Congress – the feud and partisan division within the largest student movement in Ghana, the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS.

It also subjects four constitutions representative of the four major professional and sub-regional student blocs under NUGS to discussing in discussing the limitations of secretaries. He cites constitutions of University of Ghana; the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ); the Ghana Union of Professional Students (GUPS) and the mother Union, NUGS.

In the last chapter that highlights the challenges and recommendations, Kabu Nartey argues that future of secretary activism might decline in efficiencies and relevance if the people who occupy this office would not subscribe to the guerilla ways of getting results. This is because there are more and more portfolios being created depending on the jurisdiction or organization and this may render this office redundant or practically non-existent. Also the usual circular and press statements as it is being witnessed in recent times may soon become a weak means cutting through the iron of accountability and justice for students.

By this I hope to complement the diverse angles that would be shared by my co-panelists today; some of whom are not only my seniors in the field but mentors in the said field.

Mr Chairman, Colleague Secretaries, Senior Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I first want to thank the Student Representative Counsel of the University of Professional Studies (UPSA) who through this conference gave me another cause to research on a subject that I have dedicated my non-academic life to doing – Student Activism. A special thank you to the UPSA General Secretary, Sheriffatu Iddi under whose office this first ever conference to discuss the role of the secretaries in ensuring activism in the student movement is being held. There is no better a time in the history of our student movement to have such discussion than the transgenerational curse of division era currently affronting the largest student cohort in Ghana, the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS).

Mr. Chairman, I will try not to confuse myself with the two common phrases which have been used in many social media briefs in the lead up to this conference - “General Secretary” and “Secretary General” as the latter is likened to a CEO of an organization or the Administrator. On the other hand, “General Secretary” as I find myself serving in that capacity, works closely and sometimes under the President of the Union who per the Constitution is the official mouthpiece of the Union and hence, is in charge. I am accountable to him, the National Executive Council (NEC); the Central Committee (CC) and Congress.

That said Mr. Chairman, permit me to run us through some key findings I made from existing literature on Secretaries and Secretarial duties in general:

The International Employment Studies, IES, an independent body that researches and renders consultancies for human resources, planning and development conducted a study about the skill requirement within the major occupational groups in UK especially within secretaries drawn from 20 top organizations. The research used exploratory interviews with key players in the secretarial fields. I was curious to use this research by the IES because I discovered that though the research was dated as far back as Autumn 1995 and Spring 1996, the findings published still reflected today’s secretary and highlighted the status quo. IES reported that:

• Overwhelming majority of secretaries are women and they work full time. The part-timers are specifically employed to meet a short term changes or vacancies in businesses.

• At high levels, Secretaries provide administrative support on one-on-one basis but at lower levels, they serve a team of managers and a wide range of professional staff

• Salaries for secretaries vary considerably ranging from 7,000 pounds. May I add Mr Chairman that this very finding (which I have just read) may be alien to our discussion because the Ghanaian secretary earns a minimum of about 1,000 or a maximum of about 2,500 cedis. ( an interview with a secretary, 2018)

The research further argues there are three broad functions or requirements of both the pre-modern and post-modern secretary:

1. The Secretary as a Support Worker

2. The Secretary as a Team Worker and

3. The Independent Secretary

The Support functions explains that one must have good oral and written communications skills, interpersonal skills such as tact and diplomacy and a complete knowledge and understanding of the organizational structure of the business, Union, school, etc.

The Secretary as a Team Worker demands of us to be collaborative and co-operative with our co-workers. Be assertive in order to manage pressure and conflicting demands. Have undemanding of group dynamics. Be the link between other co-adjustors
The Independent Secretary is one who has developed her own area work and responsibility. Call it a niche perhaps because of her experience, the exigencies of time or the evolving nature of the organization. Such secretaries have a rich expertise in a particular area and do not only act in those capacities, but double in many fields as well as train others in those areas.

The last typology is quite rare in Ghana. Most of our organizations are used to the support workers and often the team worker. In fact, the IES research captures it this way “Our findings show that in the sample organizations, the traditional secretarial role as support worker is still predominant”

Ladies and Gentlemen, this leads me to what I call “The Guerilla General Secretary ‘, a type I am still struggling to associate my brand to after becoming the General Secretary of NUGS last year.

The Guerilla Secretary for the purposes of this paper shall be a blend of all three above – the Support Worker; the Team Worker and the Independent Secretary. I chose this name to tell the story of NUGS because of the tabloidization of student activism in Ghana in recent times. The Guerilla Secretary must therefore adopt unconventional way and the only way is to adopt all the typologies that this research work reveals.

Colleague Secretaries, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Guerilla Secretary in more relatable terms is one who is very critical of the status quo ascribed to secretaries; one who is not comfortable in just sitting and typing letters for dispatch; one eager to impact his generation with the use of the pen and paper and speech; one ready to walk the talk as well as confront the matters facing the largest student movement in Ghana, the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS).

The above definition should create a virtuous template for every Secretary who finds him or herself in a generational curse of division among co-workers; mediocre; less innovation and the perennial problem of weak activism and advocacy of any group or body.

Ladies and Gentleman, the decision to put on this guerilla skin is for no ill political intent. I met a NUGS badly injured and sharply divided on many purpose lines. Injured because the faction that is revered as the legitimate group of student leaders hence have and should have the support of the majority were been vilified by some political bootlickers. I met a NUGS that couldn’t resolve its own issues with even the court being a third party.

Unfortunately, this sacrosanct body couldn’t and still hasn’t brought finality to the crisis. I met a NUGS that found its fate in the unfortunate hands of some dignified youth demons called politicians and the likes who continue to render some student activists empty vessels for their grand political agenda.

I met a NUGS with no direction and passion. There is therefore the need to adopt an unconventional means of fostering peace and unity and this I have also started discussing with my leader and the few on the other side of the divide. It shall take a Guerilla Secretary to do this despite a sick Union.
The IES research argues that some factors have changed and continue to change the secretarial roles of many organizations. Among the three factors that have led to the changing patterns of the roles of today’s secretary, two grabbed my attention:
Changes in organizational structures and Changes in organizational cultures and working practices. In the case of NUGS, these changes have manifested in two areas; not only in its leadership where every year, a new sect of leaders subscribe to different ideologies and leadership practices and principles, but also the ailing challenge especially on the Administrator of the Union – in the person of the General Secretary.

Today, we feel the essence or otherwise of the office of the General Secretary of the Union because of the chronic division that prevails among the two factions. Hitherto, it was only about minutes taking and this among other things was due to the constitutional architecture of the duties of the NUGS Secretary. This same prominence has bedeviled the secretary with a lot of functions; both the conventional rhetorics and the unconventional guerilla duties to bring about the major change in the Union – Unity. I shall discuss these duties in subsequent chapters.

Colleagues, It is important to note that there isn’t many exhausted literature on the subject of student activism in Ghana. And therefore the theme, which seeks to establish the role of the today’s Secretary in student activism in Ghana, is equally a virgin area. The common and widely referenced ones are NUGS in Coma by Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Student Activism and Democratic Quality in Ghana’s Fourth Republic by Van Gyampo. In fact the arguably exhaustive literature that I have come across by Van Gymapo as stated above didn’t record any single case of crediting the efforts of the General Secretary in the various activism recorded in the famous past.

Activism as defined by Luescher, 2005; Albatch, 1966 are all activities either in support or in opposition to regimes and their leaders pursued by students of tertiary institutions. Such activities may be formal or informal; may occur both at the local and national levels. Edward Van Gyampo 2013 sees these activities as pillars to high quality democracy and youth empowerment. I add that these activities are not always the guerilla style but can also take a diplomatic or a dialogue approach.

These activities, revolutionary or diplomatic or a hybrid, are dependent on the government of the day: the regimes of Nkrumah; the Busia and second coming of Rawlings saw very harsh activism from students in the wake of the attempt to stifle their rights of education, their independence and their welfare.

Once upon a time in this country, the passage of the 1961 University Act which sought to make the Head of State, the Chancellor of all Universities; the re-introduction of payment of school fees during the regime of Busia after it was abolished in the previous government; and the less consultation of students in the lead up to the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution are few cases of how hostile regimes have equally met and called for rebel from the student movement!.

Harruna Iddrisu, a former NUGS President in a private interview cited by Van Gyampo 2013 justifies that the struggle and pockets of nonviolent acts in the 1983s which resulted in many clashes and in the deaths and the arrest of many activists like Kwaku Painstil, the then President, was due to the demand for respect of the educational rights of students.

Mr Chairman, NUGS has always believed that high quality democracy is a Ghana that doesn’t only listen to the grievances of students; implement measures to solving them timely but moreso, a conscious abstinence from the interference in the daily running of the Union.

Mr Chairman, the absence of classic literature on the office of the General Secretary of this Union makes it difficult to assess the performance of past secretaries, as stated earlier. I am also happy a senior and mentor in this areas is with us here – Hon Iddi MU-HA-YU -Deen. I shall therefore limit my comparison and assessment to the immediate past officer from whom I took over – Akwasi Agyemang. For no fault of his, the legal tussle of the time reduced the efficiency of the General Secretary office.

Without prejudice to Akwasi Agyemang, I met an office that had no research team. This meant that communications lacked content and strong advocacy. The less structured nature of the communications also meant very little administrative strides and a compounded confusion of the crisis at then. The court case even worsen the activism of NUGS during that time with little to do.

However, such office was also expected to rise above the challenges to work or contribute to solving the matter. It was expected to do two basic things among the rhetorical duties which was largely needless in the midst of the heat.

1. As Administrative Head of the Union, it was expected of him to initiate or contribute to solving the one major crisis – the impasse.


2. Educate the constituents about the crisis that persisted during the time if it wasn’t able to do the above. At least this gives students a fair take and understanding of the issues confronting the Union.

But Mr Chairman, ladies and Gentleman, one would say the baton fell into my hands and hence I have the opportunity to do what Akwasi Agyemang was not able to do. Clearly a herculean task it has been with the division still persisting. But may I now share with you how despite the attempt by political parties and by some of our comrades in the student movement to suppress the voice of the Union, I have still ensured the relevance of this office in student activism

1. Today’s Secretary Must Go Beyond the Rhetoric of Minutes Taking and Arm-Chairing:
Minutes-taking, serving the president coffee or only reading about the injustices of the student movement should certainly render the Guerilla Secretary uncomfortable and unsatisfied with his duties of just mere rhetorics.

Research must therefore be a hall mark of such secretary. Activism and advocacy in the crisis times like that of NUGS demands onerous research, critiquing and identifying the issues that confront and may have contributed to the impasse. These researches must be reviewed, or explained to constituents for proper understanding.

Also on research, one of the passiveness of today’s secretary to ensuring a sharp activism and advocacy is the lack of knowledge on issues of or with precedence. This has called for the creation of the first –ever Research Desk called the NUGS Official Research Desk (N.O.C.O) which has focused on the history of our activism as a student force, reviews of some of them ( like this paper seeks to do in the area of secretarial duties) and the documentation of some landmark activities of the Union.

The office of the Secretary and the Research Desk collaborated to publish the first ever research paper on the assessment of youth democracy in Ghana‘s Fourth Republic dubbed “25 Years On…: 60 Years Back”.

The outbreak of the H1N1 Virus also demanded that I moved from my comfort zone to furnish stakeholders and players with steps and policy documents to complement their efforts. But this wasn’t on a delivery function as that has been the traditional role of the Secretary, it was a function of research and documentation.

The office followed keenly and documented the volunteering process of the health graduates who were undergoing a health outreach to help curb the epidemic under the joint supervision of NUGS and NAHSAG. This called for a yet another first of its kind - an action document the NUGS Emergency Intervention Programme Against the spread of the Outbreak of Swine Flu and Meningitis (N.E.I.P FluMen).

These documents were not only published on social media but copied all stakeholders including the international community, the World Health Organization. Before they could get the needed attention, they demanded a touch of professionalism and the use of certain jargons in the areas of medicine; and this needed research and cooperation from the office of the President, Leader Frank Amoakohene.

I recall having to move round the city of Accra to petition offices in the health and education industry ; keeping in touch with them through emails and telephone calls in order to reinforce the advocacy that we sought to ensure in the matter of the outbreak. Our persistence finally led to WHO replying our letter and further copying the Ministry of Health to act accordingly.

Also, the nonconventional approach of creating compelling contents by the office of the secretary following the outreach through led to the Ministry collaborating with us in finding out the numbers of students who died in the tragedy which was to influence the vaccination stages in the affected SHS schools.
NUGS now has its official communications outlet (NOCO) that serves as the official media outlet for the Union. It is under the watch of the Press and Information Secretary and myself.

2. The Today’s Secretary of NUGS must be an All-round Administrator
It is of no coincidence that this office is called stressed General Secretary. There are other Secretaries like the Education and Democratization Secretary; the Financial Secretary; the Programs and Project Secretary; the Press and Information and the Coordinating Secretary. The General in living up to its jurisdictional mandate should have a fair idea about all these offices. He is a team worker and a support worker; for this reason, he should have a bit of knowledge of all other Secretarial duties.

I was once test in this regard. In cases of emergencies when the Press and Information Secretary is indisposed ; or the International Relations Secretary may not be in a good position to represent the Union in press statement or a media encounter, the President challenges me with this responsibility. I should therefore act as a middle ground authority and show versatility in all matters arising, be it local, national or international.

In my case as a student with a communication background, there is a more pressing responsibility of coordinating the various communications that come out of the Union. I have suggested with justifications the angles of stories that leave the communications outlet of the Union. These suggestions were arrived at after sharp analysis of issues emerging.

My function as the deputy leader of the largest student movement in Ghana is emphasized more in the NUGS Constitution. Whilst I shall dedicate the last chapter of this paper to the legal or constitutional mandate of the secretary and how it limits certain conventions for the Guerilla Secretary, may I hasten to add here that the Article 41 of the NUGS Constitution clause b stipulates that the Secretary acts in the stead of the president in his absence? The Secretary must therefore be as well briefed and ready as the President would be at all times a case of my recent trip to the Volta Region of Ghana. I was on a national duty to supervise their Regional bloc elections abling representing the collectiveness of the Union.

As the 2ic of the President, he need to suggest and sometimes render counsel to the other executives on ways of diversifying the aluta!

3. The Guerilla Secretary Should Challenge the Status Quo

Mr Chairman, it is difficult being a student activist in Ghana. Even if you strive to be objective, some who perceive your analysis of both national and student matters as too objective to be true, tend to ascribe your activism to a particular political party. Soon, student leaders who begin on a neutral slate are forced by the status quo to either accept in order to shut the many mouths who speak without facts or begin to corrupt their analysis with biases due to the pressure from the political talkers. There it therefore the need to null-hypothesize the status quo.

The Guerilla Secretary may belong to a political party or may have intentions of joining a political party, but he believes his duties to the students of this country remains an issue of patriotism. Every NUGS Secretary is misconstrued to be aligned to a political party. And in recent times no matter how you justify your independence even if you belong to a political party , you are still coloured.
There are those who argue under the Hippocratic theory – ie treat the disease but don’t attack the patient in the process.

In context, there are those who say, the student activists political affiliation doesn’t really matter as the content of his activism, whether fair or unfair, reasonable or nonsensical, should be the factors to determine whether an aluta is quality and genuine and not the hear says.

These unhealthy and sometimes unreasonable tags has a strong coercion to make the activist restrain from commenting on very legitimate concerns of students addressed to the government. The impression created is that you are programmed to vilify the ruling government.

Contrary to the above, I have together with Leader Frank Amoakohene and of the rest of the other Executive eagerly maintained pure objectivity in calling for justice and probity in the affairs of governance as well as adding our voices to the national discourse.

Secretaries of such ailing Unions should not add to the injuries by sharing political circulars; taking political stance and indulging in partisan activities that would smear biases on their objectivity when they need it the more.

This also highlights The TRUTH and ACCURACY in demanding accountability in governance. The recent initiative of the government on Free and Accessible Education is a classic case. I recall that was major project this Administration took up few days in office. It was a truth and an accuracy that the flagship program was to enroll thousands of students into schools. It was a truth and an accurate assessment that parents would now have n worries in paying their wards’ school fees and other utilities.

However it is also an apolitical truth and an accurate assessment to state that the initiative has major challenges of the lack of infrastructure, and quality access. Some media reports showed images of some students being served with food without protein parts; other cases alleged some heads pf schools exhorting from parents. NUGS therefore had to lead a strong advocacy to call on government to address the challenges; and I was called to action was more. I argued on many platforms that NUGS wasn’t even consulted in the preliminary and consultative stages of the projects.

In ensuring objective activism, your conscience of independence must be a guiding principle in all moves.

4. The Guerilla Secretary should be a Legal Gorilla

The hazards in activism are very deadly and sometimes life-threatening. My story as the secretary of NUGS today isn’t complete without the chapter of when I was contesting. A year ago, I was threatened with a law suit by one of the factions of the NUGS impasse. My crime was for lashing at both of them to come to the negotiation table. It was during these stages I learned of spies deployed to keep an eye on me.

I share a painful story of not sleeping home because I gathered a writ was about to be served to me and my legal advisor had advised I delayed the serving of the writ. The threats also dates back during my activism days in GIJ; where I was chased with broken bottles and experienced my emaciated skin days. I have also heard of the many stories of my senior activists who aside the myriad of challenges facing the students of this country, the national maters that demands the voice of the Union multiple each day.

Depending on how you absorb the pressure, your speed and your composure, you would either keep pace or fizzle out. Once more, this feature of the Secretary speaks directly to the Team Worker that the IES research talks about. However, I add that the secretary of today’s NUGS should not only a Team Worker but a revolutionary; one I liken to a guerilla. Such officer need to have a thick skin. He should be driven by this personal conscience and remain positive despite the many logistical and administrative challenges.

But Ladies and Gentlemen, the radicalism of this secretary would find its root within the law. The unconventional approach used must respect even his closest of enemies or those who would further divide the Union. He should always look for a legal grounds to do what is right.

We inherited a legal case that sought to bring finality to the debate and mafia episode of which sect of executives are legitimate. The case is traveling unending. But still pursuing the legal truth and vindictive instinct, we shall use the same law to bring the transformative change that we wish to see. In the meantime, those who do not understand the truth and those who have fallen on the wrong side of information as well as those who have fallen prey to premature partisan politics will continue adopting the many malicious and diabolic means to stop the purging process. It certainly demands a heart of a gorilla.
5. The Guerilla Secretary Should Be Realistic of the Curse of NUGS:
On 23rd January, 2018, I arranged for an exclusive media interview with GTV on Moomen’s Tonight, a current affairs program. This was to celebrate our three months in office as executives and the strides made so far as we also discuss the role of NUGS in the activism of this country.

The was another notion of that media encounter that many weren’t aware except among we the exe cutives and the host, Abdul Haye Moomen – To discuss the ways to solve the feud between the two factions. And the mission of this interview though seemed like an ambush on air, was completely achieved. A thank you to Abdul Haye Moomen for his courage, tenacity and leadership.

I must add, he suffered many attacks even from my mirror officer Mercedes Asamani as well as the mirror-officer for the Coordinating Secretary John Charwe, but Abdul maintained his composure and remain decorous. He later publicly and cautioned Mercedes to stop the dastardly act by announcing on air.

I have never run away from the fact that there are two of me (General Secretary) – myself and one lady also claiming to be the legit NUGS General Secretary. I have never run away from the fear and confusion that there are two of my Leader, Frank Amoakeohene, the other with the name Elisha Essuman Bosheba. And so have I never run way from the two’s of every officer at the national secretariat.

I have argued severally on many media platforms that all the good works we this sect of executives are doing, will come to a naught ; would carry no weight if we do not address the major issue of unity. The past administration attempted it but worsen it because they did that in the name of elections. The call for unity and peace should be a long-standing order in our administration at its infantile stages. It is important to note that the less cooperation of the Luqman Abubakar and his cohort in the 2017 NUGS was partly to be blamed for this passed-on curse. It therefore demands a concerted effort from both factions.

In view of this, I have taken upon myself to have extensive talks with my Leader about the need for unity. He has agreed with me on many levels of analysis and it seems there is readiness on our side. It is very important to note that going into negotiation or calling for unity is not to illegitimatize our sect of executives.

In fact from prima facie evidence, and if one would want to get bias on any day about this feud, it can be concluded with many documents and signs that the Frank Amoakohene NUGS I the legitimate NUGS, period. However it is the love for tranquility and an awakened revolution that we Have decided to initiate this talks if only the other side would also listen to the cry of students and stakeholders who are suffering from the fatigue of this confusion.

I have subsequently taken counsel from lawyer friends on how to solve this issues in the ambit of the law if negotiation fails. The activism of NUGS on the national scale is practically week if we can’t ensure Activism and Unity at the student level! Anyone who runs away from this truth is a coward.

The Challenges & Recommendations: The Future of Student Activism from the Perspective of a Guerilla Secretary

|The Law|

Mr. Chairman, permit me at this stage to get more paralegal as I can’t exhaust the subject without looking at where the Secretary derives his her force and legal backings. But I first caution that I am no lawyer or a paralegal; the closest I have come is to study an international human rights law course and later became a researcher at the African Centre for Criminal Justice (ACICJ). But for academic purposes, I subjected some constitutions of our student movement to some critical studies. I choose the Constitutions of GIJ, GUPS, NAHSAG and NUGS to represent university schools, blocs and the mother Union, NUGS. I then draw out a similar “Constitutional limitation” of the General Secretary which hinders his ability to foster the needed guerilla change for Unity.

Critically speaking, some of the deeds of the Guerilla Secretary may be unconventional averred the constitution. But this doesn’t make it illegal rather daring and responsive to the current state of our Union. A less assertive shepherd cannot call himself the leader of the herds if he cant be wild and untamed for once go into the thicket to rescue his flock. Similarly, we can’t have a secretary take only minutes in these perilous times of NUGS. Let us start with the Constitution of GIJ. I must confess I went after the UPSA Constitution for the purposes of this forum but I was told it wasn’t available yet.

The GIJ SRC Secretary derives administrative powers from Article 7 clause 6 of the Constitution. The GUPS Secretary derives hers from Article 18 of their Constitution. The national secretary (NUGS) derives his from Article 41.

After a critical analysis of these provisions, would would appreciate the traditional orientation of the Secretary to minutes taking, documentation and releases of communiques countersigned by the President. Even not the last clauses of these Articles could save this tragedy because of its vagueness gives room for its weakness and voidness. A sample states:

“Perform any other duty as may be detailed to him by the President, the Secretariat, NEC, G.A or Congress” – GUPS Constitution, Article 18, h

This reduces, stifles and restricts a Guerilla Secretary who would want to do more to solve the impasse or challenges in our jurisdictions.

Also there seems to be just like that of other officers, very less autonomy of the Secretarial Office. The little autonomy exists only on paper. The practicality shows over-control of the office of the Secretary by the President.

The Constitutions also seem to be assume that every president elected is a good leader and thus would have to sanction almost every release or communique or decision or suggestion from the Secretary. Imagine if the Guerilla Secretary suggests that for the best interest of students of Ghana, we go into negotiation with the other faction? What would be become of such godly and patriotic move if the president for some strange reasons disagree?

Also, in all the jurisdiction that I reviewed, it was noticed that the office was reserved for full time students. The office, looking at its role in ensuring strong activism would demand time and effort. A full time student would therefore have little of such time luxury especially due to academics and examinations.
I argue therefore that:.

1. The office be granted more autonomy based on the current precedence to ensure more activism and not necessary the rhetorics of the office

2. All rhetorical duties of minutes taking, press releases etc should be condensed to give more room for a more categorized activism functions

3. There should be a framework or clause to foster a good relationship and collaboration between the bloc secretary offices and campus secretary offices ; and the national offices with the blocs and individual schools to enhance idea sharing, mentoring and networking

4. Further debate on the full time student requirement should be advanced in order to ascertain a possible repeal. ?

|The Advocacy Vrs “Frivolouscacy”|

We can’t talk about Activism without considering Advocacy which I argue is the lame state of Activism.

Advocacy defines the act of supporting a particular cause. I argue that this cause in the context of patriotism must inure to the benefit of the grassroots and the nation at large. Anything weak in virtue, patriotism or morality is what I term “Frivolouscacy”.

These are impulsive, trivialities and the attention-seeking actions taken by some Activism. So the question is as an activist, which matters should we take up; which methods do we employ to get the maximum utility of our suggestions, views, opinions or education. Also, some issues of advocacy can become frivolous if we do not use the appropriate means. Some injustices do not only require a strong-word release but also a proactive or reactive step to seek justice and vice versa. The guiding principle is advocates or activists should learn to consult at certain times. They should weigh the gravity of the matter at stake and identify the appropriate means of seeking justice.

| Activism Vrs. Passivism|

One major reason for the lack of strong activism on the part of student activists is the lack of understanding of the issues emerging both at the grassroots and on the national level. This has resulted in the odious passivism of the student Unions. Especially matters of economics and health which sometimes demands technical comprehension. A passive NUGS means weak activism and in extension indicates a weak secretarial machinery of the Union.

The way forward is to adopt a bird-dog approach in following and participating in national discourse.

The way forward is going the constitutional and conventional rhetorics of minutes taking and resorting to diplomatic radicalism to foster a good inter personal relationships as well as a framework to advance the accountability and justice calls.


Before this Speech, I called my fellow embattled NUGS General Secretary, Mercedes Asomani about the need for us to listen to the cry of the mass student and restore hope and progress to the student movement by working towards Unity and Unity forever. I assume I spoke to her conscience and we have planned to take this a step higher by arranging for a meeting to discuss the way forward of NUGS.
I promised my little part of bringing a revolution to our ailing NUGS and I am sticking to this scroll.

Clearly, I may not have succeeded on achieving all the above, but its evident of my sleeplessness when given the opportunity to serve the students of this country and more importantly confront the major issue that divides us as youth leaders of this country.

With this same message, I have reached out to the current Presidents, at least two, to restore unity; for that is the little I can still do after giving my all but for the selfish interest of the few.

A Humble Black Salute.


About the Author:

Kabu Nartey is an award-winning Student and Leadership Activist ; a Kufuor Scholar with numerous national and international awards and mentions to his credit. He is currently a final-year student at the Ghana Institute of Journalism studying Journalism.

Popularly known as the Gorilla Secretary in the infamous history of NUGS, he has authored many articles that sought to contribute to debating and addressing the challenges and controversies of Ghanaian student leadership.