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Opinions of Sunday, 26 February 2017

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Professor Amoako-Baah should appeal to President Akufo-Addo

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

The politically vocal and well-known sympathizer of the presently ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Richard Amoako-Baah, who is also former Chairman of the Department of History at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, has been reported to have bitterly complained about being given a raw deal upon his official retirement from KNUST recently (See “My KNUST Exit ‘Politically Motivated’ – Amoako-Baah” / 2/20/17).

According to Professor Amoako-Baah, who also established the graduate program at the History and Political Science Department at KNUST, it is a routine practice for retiring senior faculty at the University to be offered a two-year teaching contract upon the official expression of their intention to exit from the academy, but he clearly appears to have been made an exception to this practice which also appears to have effectively become the rule.

I am deeply inclined to suspect that there exists a handbook of contractual guidelines governing hiring policies, conditions of service and the general code of conduct and the rights and responsibilities of KNUST faculty and staff by which Dr. Amoako-Baah could hire a lawyer to grieve his case.

The man with whom yours truly once appeared on a news and current affairs program on Kasapa-Fm Radio, also says that his job was once obliquely threatened by Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, the longtime General-Secretary of the then-ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), who sarcastically asked him whether he, Dr. Amoako-Baah, thought he had any good reason to believe that he was destined to hold himself off as a KNUST professor in perpetuity.

I believe the plaintiff because I vividly recall him turning down the offer of a Mahama deputy cabinet appointee from the Ministry of Education to become the Chairman of the Board of Trustees/Directors of one of the tertiary public academies in the Kumasi Metropolitan Area, because the proper procedure had not been followed. Dr. Amoako-Baah had been abruptly and rudely asked to hurriedly proceed to Accra in order to be confirmed for his new position on the red-eye, which he had promptly and flatly refused. It was obviously a strategic move aimed at silencing this vocal critic by the Mahama government.

The decision not to advance him a courtesy two-year contract, a routine practice at KNUST, may well have been a punitive political payback. Fortunately, it is a new day on the political horizon and terrain in Ghana, with the auspicious installation of the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party, an unquestionable democratic party whose leadership has great respect for academic freedom in much the same way as the key operatives of the now-opposition National Democratic Congress are equally notorious for their pet aversion towards the same.

Indeed, as he aptly and poignantly observes, his denial of a two-year courtesy contract by the KNUST administrators comes at a time when the nation’s major higher educational institutions are woefully understaffed. Which is why I partly fault Dr. Amoako-Baah for refusing to blame the new Vice-Chancellor of KNUST for not having promptly reversed this lurid act of political vendetta, once it was brought to his attention. Dr. Amoako-Baah also says that “a good friend” of his who got wind of his impending raw deal had not apprised him of the same. Well, if this latter claim has validity, then he had better revise his definition of just who qualifies to be described as a good friend of his.

Then also, what if it turns out that, indeed, his good friend had actually connived with his “bad friends” and downright detractors to carve and cook him such a raw deal? I mean, it is quite possible.

English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
February 20, 2017

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