KNUST saga: An open letter to Otumfuo Osei Tutu II
His royal highness, Otumfour OSEI-TUTU II, Asantehene, Krobea Asante Kotoko hene, Nana Tumfo? Osei Tutu a ote krawe3 ne brawe3 so, Sikadwa Kofi somfo, Amoawisi a owo abaduasa na osane nso gye aba y?n, krobeahene, kotokohene, Asanteman wura, Osagyefo, Yiad?m Nana a y? de akobo gye wo taataa, Asanteman Kyeney3 k3se3, otekokooso, Nana I sing you Kwadwom (appellations) and bring you greetings from your ‘children’ in the land of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). I am overwhelmed with brim-filled ocean of honor to write you this letter. Sir, I do believe in your competent majesty and hail your monarchical exuberant majesty. I posses no scintilla of doubt in your intellectual and knowledgeable prowess possessions, though I may not be privy to the full description of your idiosyncrasies.
Nana, for the past few months and days, your ‘children’ in KNUST believe they’ve suffered a suffering fate, been drowned in a muddy atmosphere which even the drown of the media, government and some people of higher salvation instruments couldn’t salvage, been flushed in a flashy decomposition, and been walked on and dirtied like the doormat at the door of a dirty mad man.
These students, your children, decided that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, embraced themselves and braced their boots with the armory of bravery, marched like the Ashanti warlords who fought for our freedom, gingered themselves like Okomfo Anokye at his expectation of the GOLDEN STOOL, empowered themselves like YAA ASANTEWAA ready for war, and in a gallant locomotive enchantment, moved round the campus of KNUST to demonstrate to the administration. These, students (like myself) I’m informed, carried the intentions of pouring out their grievances, just their grievances, in the form of a petition, and it ended up a vandal-like. I’m informed students thought they had exhausted the workable status of dialogue. People described the acts differently from where they’re stood. Maybe, some of those people would need a little elevation to see the full description of the triggers of the actions of the students. Depending on where observers stood, some could define the demonstration as an unbridled buffoonery, a necessary evil, an evil itself, the best option, the last option left et al.
Nana, I’m also well informed that your royal countenance has finally fallen on us, you’ve decided to come in and settle the shambling feet of KNUST firmly. I know certainly, as an Oyokoc member in the Ashanti, that In our traditional homes and palace’s bosom, dialogue is hailed as the most paramount accoutrement for saving and settling problematic issues.
Kr?bea Asante Kotoko hene, Nana Tumfo? Osei Tutu a ?te krawe? ne brawe? so, I’m of the firmest conviction that your decision to reconstitute the Management Council of KNUST is motivated by the hope for a better KNUST. I’m not here to justify the necessity or not of your intervening step,even though the president of Ghana has aired his view on how he thinks the situation could be saved. I’m not here to question why you kept so long, as some people are quizzing. I’m not here to ask you where the petition students sent you sometime ago on the conversion of Unity and University halls reached. My interest is in your willing willingness to solve issues in KNUST, heal and cure KNUST of its crippling and paralyzing State of instability.
Sikadwa Kofi somfo, Amoawisi a ?wo abaduasa na ?sane nso gye aba y?n, please, pardon me and consider this my (our) ISSUES LIST; WORTH ADDRESSING in expediency! I hope I am permitted to call it ‘THE STATE OF AFFAIRS’? These, our SRC is aware, but I believe that even the ocean is open for and accepts more drops when it rains, hence the need for me to script this note.
I’m convinced of your love for KNUST, either than that you wouldn’t have considered yourself officially as the CHANCELLOR of the school. We, the students of KNUST, love you too. I believe in your highest gusto-benevolent prowess. Please, help save your people in your land from further distressful grief, at least we aren’t the ‘GRIEF CHILD’ in Lawrence Darmani’s book. Help us free ourselves from the alleged academic unfreedom we’ve been baptized in. KNUST, is becoming a laughing stock. Nana, please, when uttering your advice to the to be reconstituted council, let them know and address these issues in rapt apt vehement responsiveness;
The issue of converting the single sex hall, especially Unity and University halls (and Africa hall), have generated a lot of controversial controversies. The decision to convert and accommodate these two halls has been twinned with constant and unflinching dialogues, court petitions, government petitions, demonstrations and such like. Students, sympathizers of these halls, have shown their disgust towards this decision. Residents believe(d) that the traditions and foundation of the halls would be broken and downtrodden when the conversion is implemented. When students mentioned tradition, I quickly remembered my royal home and the uphold of the tradition there. Students believe that though they’re still, but run deep. They also believe that the masculinity of their halls showers them a certain power of advocacy, student activism and the zeal to forge forward (which has evidences in existence), and that maintaining them would fast track their course. And other reasons too.
Kctckchene, students, your children, have been crying bitter cries, cries which are equivalently equidistant that of losing a dearly mother, for a reversal of the conversion of the single sex halls. Please,help serve them that.
Nana, following the conversion of the halls, some constitutionally mandated executives have their power/authority, accommodation and others shred off them. In a similar vein that the Vice Chancellor, lecturers, Dean of students and other people of authority could not undertake their roles off the dispensation of the jurisdiction they have their authority on, so should student leaders in those halls be accommodated and showered their necessary reliefs that come with their positions.
Brutality has also become a slogan of the campus security personnel. At the little ‘breath/shout’ of students, brutality would be served them. I don’t believe an injured child should be calmed with lullabies of flogging and beating of mob injustice. Even if students wrong, appropriate headquarters should be consulted and deal with the issues. The royal kingdom of the Ashantis frown on this, that’s why even in our primitive epoch of the Ashanti history, we send issues of people who kill, rape, steal et al to the royal palace for adjudications and declarations of justice to be served them, like meals. I believe the paradigm hasn’t changed for justice to be batter-traded with injustice. Krcbeahene, please, help us restore and eschew such happenings on campus, since students have fiery furnace burning desire within them. The security personnel should be well oriented and put where they belong.
Your royal highness, Otumfour OSEI-TUTU II, I have been following your conduct and speeches most often. You seem to be an endorser of innovation, initiatives, talent development and capacity building. I also am of an optimistic conviction that, you cherish the entertainment and edutainment aspects of our academic lives as students. Students resort to hall week celebrations of the various individual halls in KNUST as avenues of selling their innovative ideas, showcasing their initiatives, entertaining themselves and progressively exhibiting their talents.
These avenues, which students had from each hall weekly and independently celebrated in tandem with academic works, have been squeezed like washed handkerchief into just a compressed single week. This, students believe infringes certain aspects of their life’s development and betterment. Also, students use ‘morale’ (a song singing session) and accompanying procession as a source of entertainment. This is also partially banned in KNUST. Students believe this is a ‘Joy Killer’. Nana, we would need your voice on this matter, putting things in place for the previous situation to be restored. I know students would also have a benchmark as to the extent of their actions during those periods.
Consolidated accounts have also hit the chest of student leaders like the thunder that struck when sikadwa Kofi (Golden Stool) was descending in its glorious glory. Students’ dues’ accounts have been force-pocketed into a single account which the Dean of students is ultimately signatory to before money could be withdrawn for student activities. Students have been singing a song that, whatever been the reason for the force-pocketing, they do not cooperate with this decision. Sir, in your highest glory, students would like you to help through your to be reconstituted council restructure the structure of students’ fund accounts.
Osagyefo, we believe that security is paramount in our lives, that’s why we have those Security personnel (Adarkwa Police) on campus, otherwise they would’ve been sacked by now. Out of this necessity, a certain ‘JERICHO WALL’ has been built recently in KNUST, not that of the Joshua-Israelites, but that of KNUST. This wall stretches to cover the entire Ayeduase side of the KNUST campus. It is coupled with some incomplete bridges at Ayeduase, which nearly killed a lady in early September (it has also been given an assurance of completion by the end of this month; we are looking forward to that). This wall is good in whatever point of view, but lacking a GATE at the FLINT HOSTEL-JECADO HOSTEL- KSB (KNUST School of Business) side of the school makes it nothing but a wasted resource to disadvantage students. This cry has been going on for a while since this semester began, assurances have been given as usual. Students would like you to advice your to be reconstituted council to expedite the process of building the gate at that end of the school for the benefit of students.
Off-campus security has been an age old problem of the school, your highness. Students, your children, are feeling the heat of rape, robbery, beating et al off-campus. Students have cried out loud, more than that of a widow whose husband has died. Students have cried and lost their voices too. Security off-campus needs a pragmatic remedy. We are always assured assurances of deploying police and other security officers there with measurable measures, but that has never been sighted. Not long ago, the Vice Chancellor declared the place likened to a BOKO HARAM CAMP as part of his reasons to convert Unity and University halls (to promote female security off-campus). Sir, the rest of us, even though in a similar BOKO HARAM CAMP, want security. We’ve sought it for long. We believe your royal countenance shall fall in its acme illumination on us when counseling your advice on the reconstituted council. We plead for this our plain plight pushed off us.
Sir, maybe lastly, the adequacy of tables and chairs in class rooms too are problems students have been dining with for the past years, especially at this moment that intake in admission is skyrocketing. We do not need a PhD in rocket science to fathom the necessity for more chairs and tables, looking at the fight for chairs by students when class is in session like the Second World War. Students have poured this out, assurances as usual have been given. We would like you to prompt your new council to look into speeding up processes in delivering that to students.
I believe that, academic freedom, in this our jurisdiction is a paramount tool to get us to where we want to reach, especially at this our level of democratization and your monarchical prowess.
Otumfour OSEI-TUTU II, as a loving father for all, I do believe you would have a listening ear for the cry of your grievous children in KNUST through this tiny single entity, Richard Amoh. I wrote a similar letter to the Interim Management Council, but since the power of reconstitution is going to now be ushered by you, I thought it wise to greet you with the ‘STATE OF AFFAIRS IN KNUST’.
Nana, I would also admonish that University Management considers the voice, issues of students’ welfare, and grievances of students as a paramount fuel and engine for starting and sustaining the existence of the life of the university. Without the students, the university ceases to exist! Some students even whisper that they can’t live with the Vice Chancellor, following the numerous unfavorable occurrences.
My name is Richard Amoh, a third year undergraduate student of KNUST, reading Geography and Rural Development. I believe that, sometime, the tenant may be richer than the landlord!
Columnist: Richard Amoh