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Opinions of Friday, 14 July 2017

Columnist: Alhassan Salifu Bawah

The actions of educated Illiterates

University of Education Winneba University of Education Winneba

The 1992 Constitution is the supreme law of Ghana, and any other law, found to be inconsistent with any provision of the constitution, shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void (Article 1(2)). Simple and plain English!

The former assembly member, Mr. Supi, exercised his right under Article 41 of the 1992 constitution, which confers on Ghanaians the duty to protect public funds and property.

He didn't get up and marched to UEW with like minded individuals to barricade the offices of any of the UEW officials, alleged to have misappropriated public funds. But rather, he used the law court to protect the public purse, and this is someone who don't even have a first degree.

Now you have a UTAG President and Secretary, who hold PhD's or something along those lines, (I say this because, UTAG UEW never called an emergency meeting of UTAG members, after the court hearing on Friday the 14th of July 2017, to get a resolution before declaring their two-man show of power strike), who are aggrieved because of a court order, and instead of using the due process to seek redress, rather resorted to radical actions that Mr. Supi, who has never completed university, never contemplated doing.

Maybe some people need re-education regarding an Act of Parliament serving as an enabling Act of an institution or organisation. Being established by an Act of Parliament doesn't mean that the state should fold its arms and allow illegalities to go on in the name of some people misplaced interpretation of autonomy.

Even the Electoral Commission (EC), whose independence is guaranteed under Article 46 of the 1992 constitution, cannot claim autonomy. When laws are breached, the courts and other agencies empowered by the constitution and other laws have to come in and hold the individuals responsible, accountable.

EC is currently under investigation by EOCO. So, what autonomy are some members of UTAG talking about?
If anyone does not want the laws of Ghana to apply to them, nothing stops them from creating their own country outside the shores of Ghana.

Even Judges whose job security is guaranteed under the 1992 constitution, have been removed from office, as a result of misconduct (Justice Derry & others). Under which provision in the 1992 constitution or Act 672, is the position of a VC or Finance Officer, guaranteed?

There is a law in this country called the Public Procurement Act (PPA). All contracts in the public sector, must follow the laid down procedures as spelt out under this Act. UEW is a public institution, and therefore, any contract awarded must be in conformity with the provisions of this Act.

Mr. Supi is alleging among several others that, some contracts were awarded by UEW, which did not conform to the provisions of the PPA. UEW only have to go to court and prove that, those contracts were actually awarded in accordance with the provisions of the PPA, end of story!

So if someone decided to sidestep the PPA and awarded contracts according to their own guidelines, and not according to the provisions of the PPA, what business has UTAG got in that? Is UTAG now saying that, its members are above the laws of Ghana? Even the President of the Republic is subject to the laws of Ghana.

The injunction placed on the VC and Finance Officer, will not be lifted because of the strike declared by the President and Secretary of UTAG UEW.
I can clearly foresee some individuals who have no respect for the laws of this country, being tried for contempt of court! No radical action by UTAG can compel the court to rescind its decision. It is only through a court action that UTAG may get the injunction lifted.

If a court should vary its decision, simply because of the radical actions of a Trade Union, then Ghana would be worse than a failed state!

No wonder the standard of graduates being churned out by the country's universities, falls below employers expectations!

I will restrain myself from mentioning the visit to an ex president to impress upon him to talk to the current president to intervene in the ongoing UEW litigation. We come back to the same ignorance of the law. A President has no power to direct a court to discontinue a case! Anyway, if you haven't done anything wrong, why lobby for a case against you to be dropped?

Again UTAG is disputing the legal basis of the Pro VCs powers to run UEW, by churning out class one chap arguments. Just to shred that argument to pieces, a President is elected to office with his running mate.

The running mates picture or name does not appear on the ballot paper, but if the President is either forced out of office, resigns or dies, the Vice President takes over, even if the President lied to get elected (the case of Delma Rousseff of Brazil).