The Education Minister, popularly known as NAPO, in a press release, requested the governing council of KNUST to reverse its decision to convert University Hall (Katanga) to an all-male hall, while snubbing Conti.
The Alumni of Unity Hall in a counter press release stripped the Minister for Education and the Vice Chancellor of KNUST Prof Obiri Danso who were once inmates of Conti, of their alumni status.
The Alumni of the largest university hall in West Africa also cautioned the university that they need the all-male status of the hall back and nothing else.
“We, affiliates of Unity Hall, have argued time and again that Unity Hall was expressly established by a Regulation in 1968 as an ‘all-male’ hall and so, IT is in a different league of its own. And that, any attempt to change its nature by an administrative officer would be fiercely resisted,” a section of the press release reads
“And that from the records of KNUST, Africa Hall is the only hall which was also expressly established in 1967 as an ‘all-female’ and thus, in Unity Hall’s league. Thus, these two halls were expressly established and an ordinary administrative fiat cannot change their nature”.
It would be recalled that the University council took a decision to convert three single sex halls to mixed halls last year; namely Africa Hall (all-female), Unity Hall (all-male) and University Hall all-male).
There was mayhem on the KNUST campus following the arrival of freshmen and this resulted in the destruction of property - continuing students of Unity Hall and University hall led other group of students to resort to violence.
The University was subsequently temporarily closed down and the Vice Chancellor Professor Obiri Danso was initially relieved of his duties, although he was later reinstated upon the request of the Chancellor, Otumfuo Osei Tutu.
A Committee that was formed to look into the cause of the disturbances by students recommend a solution to help avert such occurrences on the KNUST campus in future.
Below is the full press release
PRESS RELEASE BY CONTINENTAL UNITY HALL ON HALL CONVERSION MATTERS AT KNUST
We, the Alumni Association of Continental Unity Hall (Unity Hall) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) at an emergency meeting held on Sunday the 8th day of September, 2019 to address the emerging issues regarding hall conversion on the said campus, where the emerging issues being, a purported letter from the Minister for Education directing the University Council of KNUST to reverse the mixed-hall conversion against University Hall (Katanga) thus, logically presenting the position that, the conversion against Unity Hall can still go ahead.
In our strong deliberations, we present the following as our take on the entire matter:
The University for the 2018/19 academic year sent female students into Unity Hall under a façade of a purported Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) policy of increasing female intake and we say façade because even for the 2019/20 academic year with an intake of 16,888 students, male students accounts 60%. And we challenge the administrators to prove to Ghanaians any significant increment in female enrolment.
The STEM was intended to increase female intake, so the University argued that there was the need to get more accommodation space for female students on campus. So the argument that the University needed extra accommodation space for these future increment but did not build a single structure towards the realization of this pretty agenda in itself, is a mark of poor leadership. Unity Hall has since made proposals as to the way forward regarding these purported extra intakes.
However, the truth is that it is few members of the University administration hierarchy, who genuinely want the obliteration of such structural institutional legacies, and we know this as Alumni because majority of the University staff, who themselves are either Alumni of Unity Hall or Katanga Hall, would appreciate strict reforms than obliteration of monuments.
When the matter started, Unity Hall was the first to petition the Education Ministry but the ministry did nothing.
Unity Hall then went to Court, and applied for an injunction to halt the conversion, for the matter to be determined by the State of Ghana through the judicial system and not to be left to administrative whims and caprices but a judge, who Unity Hall understands went to the KNUST campus a day before the hearing of the application, dismissed Unity Hall’s application and in that occasioned a miscarriage of justice, letting the whole country down and we all know the events that came after.
Ghana must hold the High Court judge who dismissed the injunction application brought by Unity Hall and Katanga Hall responsible for the confusion that we are in, as the said judge showed more excitement in helping the University to alter Unity and Katanga Halls, which decision is responsible for the series of events that came after.
However, when the Commonwealth conversion attempt came up some years back on the University of Ghana campus, notable personalities like Nana Akuoko Sarpong, a Supreme Court Judge, Justice Anin Yeboah and others disagreed with the attempt, including Former President Mahama, who all seemingly, presented that the hall’s legacy, must not be obliterated.
We respectfully believe that the judge should have maintained the status quo, until the court of law had looked into the matter for a final determination as to whether or not the University could convert these two halls. And as this didn’t happen, the intended conversion was thus, blessed by the court, bringing us to this point of confusion.
Matthew Opoku Prempeh and Obiri Danso Stripped Of Alumni Status
Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the current Minister for Education and Obiri Danso, the current VC of KNUST, were all inmates of Unity Hall during their days in KNUST and by extension, took life time oaths to defend the interest of the hall at all times. However, it is clear, these two persons have betrayed the historical course of the hall, as they are the main persons hoping to obliterate the legacy of the spiritual mother that sheltered and nurtured them to be educated humans; you can’t bite the hands that fed you, they ought to know.
In 2008, before Matthew Opoku Prempeh finalized his intention to run for Parliament, he sent his little sister for permission to come pay homage and to have the hall’s blessings, same was honoured and he appeared before the JCRC and accordingly, was blessed for victory, as one of our own.
However, we today by this communique, as the Alumni Association of Unity Hall, revoke the hall’s blessings bestowed on Matthew Opoku Prempeh and wish him the opposite for the rest of his political path; Unity Hall would forever mobilize thousands of Alumni to campaign against him on all occasions and we assure him that we would play roles to end his political ambitions.
And by extension, we send strong signals that his betrayal of the hall that nurtured his political career, would have detrimental effect on his bigger political party’s political fortunes, we assure them.
And for the VC Obiri Danso, he is the main enemy of Unity Hall, as he is the devil in the midst of this whole brouhaha, as the one who started all this confusion. And as true Unity Hall Alumni, we wish for him, same pain and daily frustrations felt by other Alumni due to his betrayal, and that pain in some other forms should befall his future generations, so they also see and feel what pain is.
We hereby, stripe Matthew Opoku Prempeh and Obiri Danso off their affiliation to Unity Hall with immediate effect. And by this, the Old Continentals Association would forever resist any attempt by these two ungrateful and betrayals of Unity Hall to lay claim of affiliation to the Hall for any gain whatsoever, be it moral or any such goodwill that stands in Unity Hall’s glorious name. And not even their future generations would be allowed to make such claim, as their cut off from Unity Hall is made public for posterity.
Disrespect to the Chancellor of the University, Otumfuo Osei Tutu by the NPP Government
Unity Hall believes that since the Chancellor’s verdict on the Committee set to look into the matter is not yet out, the purported emerging communique from the Ministry of Education seeking to give directives on the matter, is an upfront on whatever verdict the Chancellor would bring. And we see this as the government of the day, saying that, to hell with whatever final verdict the Chancellor is about bringing.
And if that is so, then It’s legally a non-starter, as that would be a mark of discrimination against one entity, when there is a matter under review involving two entities. And that the Constitution of Ghana would never bless same on the back of the principles of fairness and justice as enshrined in Articles 17 and 34 of the Constitution and related principles of law.
Continental Unity Hall Was Expressly Established as an All-Male Hall Under a Regulation
We, affiliates of Unity Hall, have argued time and again that Unity Hall, was expressly established by a Regulation in 1968 as an ‘all-male’ hall and so, IT is in a different league of its own. And that, any attempt to change its nature by an administrative officer would be fiercely resisted. And that from the records of KNUST, Africa Hall is the only hall which was also expressly established in 1967 as an ‘all-female’ and thus, in Unity Hall’s league. Thus, these two halls were expressly established and an ordinary administrative fiat cannot change their nature.
Matter still in Court
This matter is currently in Court and was only halted because Otumfuo, the Chancellor of the University stepped in to resolve the matter. So Unity Hall patiently, awaits the Chancellor’s final verdict and would not give currency to the so-called communique from the Minister for Education going round.
Subsequently, it’s after the Chancellor’s verdict that Unity Hall will take the next step, which step would surely be of great national concern.