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Opinions of Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Columnist: Iddrisu Abdul Hakeem

Why I support VC of KNUST in the degendering the traditional male halls to mixed halls

University Hall and Unity Hall also known as Katanga and Conti. in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, KNUST respectively, undoubtedly, are the excellent image makers of the university from local to international in terms of debates in university debates competitions and have won a number of accolades for the school in other competitions.

No wonder the leadership of the students fraternity (SRC), has always been alternating between these two "superpowers" of the university.

Since my first year 2015, there have been three SRC Presidents: Samuel Amoaku Kusi (Katanga Hall) to David Dannah (Unity Hall) and from him to Kelvin Sah (Katanga Hall again)!

It is rather sad, however, to realize these same image makers of the university are the "enemies" of the school again dragging the name of the university in the mud with their rather childish, unwarranted, and unintellectual avoidable confrontations which often lead to the reprimand, rustication, withdrawal, and the ugliest dismissal of students who are involved!

I have been in KNUST for the better part of three years going to my final year in this 2018/2019 academic year, and I've witnessed a substantial number of students suffered penalty of dismissals as a result of the "Washington-Moscow" relationship between members of both Halls anytime those unintelligent and reckless skirmishes are generated that often create image damaging scenes casting the name of the university in the bad light!

It was part of my manifesto to de-gender those male halls as a Students' Representative Council (SRC) presidential aspirant.

Perhaps, some of these wild and radical policies in my manifesto drove my running mate away who suddenly refused to run with me again, an incident that disqualified me constitutionally to vie for the hottest office in the students front.

Least did I anticipate colleague students' registration of their displeasure at the policy until it was no longer a rumour on campus when the Dean of students, on behalf of the VC, announced it.

As far as I know, leadership is not about implantation of Free SHS only in order to meet the demands of the people, it is also the implementation of "double track" system that might be displeasing to the masses, but as a measure to sustain it for their benefit.

Leadership is not only the capacity to take the people where they want to go, it is also the exercise of courage and boldness to take the people to where they ought to be though wouldn't ordinarily go by themselves, like president Akufo Addo is doing with the implementation of the "double track" system.

Last year, in an article I wrote to congratulate the Vice Chancellor for working tirelessly like a demon to ensure security of students and their general welfare on campus, I pointed out how his administration was synonymous with the Akufo Addo's government that is walking the talk and attempting to realize the content of their manifesto within the shortest possible time even as Ghanaians gave them four years mandate to govern.

The university has undergone enormous transformation under professor Obiri Danso's stewardship as Vice Chancellor: from creation of pedestrians walkway, renovation of some Faculties' buildings, to the mounting of CCTV Cameras to end iPad snatching and sexual harassments of female students, including initiation of the free shuttle system and their stations, Access Control Machines placed at our entrances, and numerous others the Vice Chancellor did within two years of his administration, must certainly not be eclipsed by one policy.

All that he has achieved points to how concerned he is for the wellbeing of students, and would not take any decision to sabotage students effort.

It is therefore not odd, that the Vice-Chancellor sees the need to put an end to the frequent reprimanding, rusticating, and dismissing of students as a result of needless tensions created by these two male Halls putting the rather Intellectual Shrine on headlines every academic season.

Again, leadership, I indicated to the Vice Chancellor as his student in my congratulatory letter to him, is the ability to provide for the led by creating an environment that is relatively secure for them exactly which he met that excited me to congratulate him.

De-gendering the male halls may be bitter to their members including my humble self, but it is certainly not poisonous for us.

As a proud member of University Hall, I, and certainly, other students, share similar views with the VC, regarding the conversion of the traditional male halls of residence to mixed halls, and it is not out of malice or a calculated attempt by him to amputate the fame of the Hall as the once most influential male Hall in West Africa, but out of his undying love to make the hall an image maker of the university only without being a fifth columnist at the same time in tarnishing the good image it has made for the school.

Fellow Legends of KNUST who live on, both alumni and continuing affiliates of Katanga Hall, it is worthy of note that we are proud "digital leaders" in this laboratory of leadership who are trained to break the yoke of the status quo in Ghana so as to marshal it in the right direction, and we must support any leader with the mindset of crushing the status quo!

Engaging in needless petitions and unnecessary demonstrations simply because the Hall has been 55 years old as male-only hall which, in my view, are capable of sabotaging, defaming, and deconstructing the regime and legacy of another leader (VC), amounts to the maintenance of the status quo that has, over the years, condemned Ghana, and for that matter Africa, to the backwaters of civilization!

I believe it is time we (Katanges) get "married" by embracing the female counterparts into the Hall so as to kiss goodbye to "naked procer" that's dehumanizing.

De-gendering the Hall won't and can never take away our influence and intellectual capabilities in Ghana and beyond.

We must cooperate with the decisions of leaders as future leaders.

I urge all Fellows to Charge and Never Rest, for the Legends Live On.

I also urge all the members of the "Powder" Hall mistaken as "Power" Hall (Unity Hall), to hold their houses and rather channel their efforts to help make KNUST a better university.

God bless Katanga Hall,

God bless KNUST,

And may God bless Ghana.