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New Era Beckons As Fresh Leadership Take Over UEW-UTAG

On the midnight of 30th September, 2019, the tenure of the old executives of UTAG -UEW comes to an end. The outgoing executives, led by Dr. Kaakyire Frempong Duku- Outgoing President, Dr Abdulai Jinapor- Outgoing Secretary, and Lani Ashong- Outgoing Treasurer, as well as the vacant position of the Vice-President will come to an end. Due to their leadership style and stance they took on serious and delicate matters, a lot of problems characterized their two-year tenure. They simply lost the trust of majority of members because they displayed a high degree of arrogance and arrogated unto themselves powers that belonged to their members. They took decisions without consulting the generality of UTAG members and became self-seeking and self-serving. In fact, their pre- and post-elections decision making, as well as all matters arising out of the 2017 UTAG-UEW elections, spelt their doom. UTAG-UEW, is unique among other Public Universities when it comes to the composition of UTAG membership. UEW is a multi-campus University, with campuses in Winneba, Ajumako, Kumasi and Asante-Mampong. It is therefore a sine qua non that if UTAG elections should be organised to elect leaders for the association which has branches on all the four campuses, every UTAG member on each campus should have the capacity to exercise his or her franchise. But the Kaakyire Duku led administration thought otherwise and insisted that only members in Winneba and Ajumako were qualified to vote. So after the elections, aggrieved UTAG members of the Asante-Mampong campus took the matter to Winneba High Court and the court ruled in their favour that members of the two other campuses should be allowed to vote. The High Court decision was appealed by the Kaakyire-led executives to the Court of Appeal, Cape Coast, and they had the earlier judgment of the High Court overturned. The reason for the loss of the case at the Court of Appeal, was simply because Counsel for the Asante-Mampong UTAG members, for reasons best known to himself, suddenly became hostile towards his clients and failed to put in appearance during the appeal process. After the loss of the case at the Court of Appeal, Asante-Mampong UTAG members decided that they would no longer pursue the case but would, nevertheless, boycott the leadership of Kaakyire and his team. This meant that the stage was set for the Kaakyire-led executives to run the association with only the members from Winneba and Ajumako- the two campuses they thought were their strongholds. They really abused their power and office with one dangerous, divisive move and decision after the other reaching its apex when the executives openly came out to endorse a ‘coup d’etat’ to overthrow the current and legitimate Vice-Chancellor, Very Rev. Fr. Prof Anthony Afful-Broni and to “reinstate” Prof. Mawutor Avoke as the Vice-Chancellor. This mutinous act was condemned by all, including the Minister of Education, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, who even questioned why the police did not arrest the mutineers. Prof. Avoke himself later had to apologise for this mutinous move and shamefully claimed he was “naive.”

This attitude of the Kaakyire-led Executives actually made members wonder if they were serving the larger interest of UTAG membership or themselves. Majority of the UTAG members who had always regretted the day they elected them, waited patiently for the day when their term would expire so they could vote them out. However, Kaakyire and his cohorts had other plans up their sleeves. They cunningly schemed to use and abuse their incumbency by announcing new elections within a short period. At an emergency meeting held on 18th September, 2019, they scheduled elections to take place on 27th September, 2019, affording interested contestants only some few days of campaigning. To make matters worse and show his diabolical intent, Kaakyire Duku, then sitting President, announced his decision to contest again for the Presidency at the same meeting. This mischievous move irked majority of the UTAG members and they vowed to oust them come what may on the said announced election date. Members were ready to show the arrogant and self-serving executives who really had the power.

So going into the elections of 27th September, 2019, the Kaakyire-led administration were confident of retaining power because they knew that no other candidate could use only 7 days to get himself or herself organised and campaign in both Winneba and Ajumako, their supposed strongholds, and win. They presented Dr. Kaakyire Duku for President, Dr. Abdulai Jinapor for Vice-President, Ali Mohammed for Secretary and Lani Ashong, the incumbent Treasurer, for the Treasurer position. My investigations revealed that majority of members, especially on the Winneba campus, decided they would rather not vote than endorse the incumbent in any form. This was because up to three days before the elections, opponents for the arrogant Kaakyire-led team had not been revealed. However, events changed when on 25th September, 2019-two days before the elections – names came up to contest the incumbent executives. The new constants included: Eric Sakyi Nketia for President, Dr. Mavis Amo Mensah for Vice-President, Pascal Kpodo for Secretary, and Dr. Amanor-Lartey for Treasurer. These new candidates went to the electorate with a simple message of CHANGE for a humble and better leadership that would serve the interests of members. This simple message was like bushfire in the harmattan on the campuses of Winneba and Ajumako.

Finally, on the 27th of September, 2019, UTAG-UEW members went to the polls and humiliated the old Executives. They voted out all the Kaakyire-led team and voted in the new progressive-minded Eric Sakyi Nketiah (President) team with Dr. Mavis Amo Mensah as Vice-President, Pascal Kpodo as Secretary and Dr. Amanor Lartey as Treasurer.

This Eric Nketiah led administration will take over the mandate of UTAG-UEW leadership from 1st October, 2019, and will have a two-year tenure as executives to run the affairs of the Association. In an interview with the President-elect, Eric Sakyi Nketiah, he promised to be mindful of the confidence reposed in him and his other executives by the members and vowed to work towards reuniting all the four campuses, since members belonged to one university-UEW. He further indicated that all members on all the four campuses paid the same dues and should therefore be accorded the rights and privileges due each paid-up member. He was optimistic that, after his two year mandate, UTAG-UEW will see progressive directions. He also promised to pursue reconciliation and assured everyone that he will show goodwill towards all.

Finally, he indicated that his team will work closely with management of the University to ensure a smooth and peaceful administration at UEW.

Kwasi Philips

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