General News of 2014-03-18

Kpessah Whyte: Is the University of Ghana a State unto itself?

Presidential Staffer Dr Michael Kpessah Whyte says the University of Ghana is behaving like a state unto itself with its recent unilateral decision to close its roads to traffic, except for cars bearing its special sticker.

Only one point is available for free entry for the 16,000 cars that use the campus as thoroughfare daily.

The special stickers, some of which cost about Ghc400 a year per private car, guarantee entry through the closed points.

The University says the decision is aimed at reducing thoroughfaring on its campus as well as improving security and serenity for academic work.

Dr Kpessah Whyte says the University must back its reasons for the road closure with empirical evidence.

“On Saturday I passed through the University and what I saw was completely hellish. It shouldn’t have been allowed to happen in the first place,” Dr Kpessah Whyte told XYZ Breakfast Show host Moro Awudu.

Speaking in his personal capacity, the former Lecturer of the same University said: “As a policy person, I’ve been asking myself: ‘what is the motive? Is it about revenue? Is about control of cars? Is about Security? Or a combination of all; and what factors in the most recent past may have informed the dramatic change?’ Then beyond that I asked the question: ‘Has the University become a State unto itself that it could basically inconvenience the larger citizenry?’”

The road closure has sparked uproar among parents of pupils of the University’s primary and Junior high schools. A member of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), Kenneth Obeng said the University is abusing its semi-autonomous status by unilaterally charging extortionist fees for thoroughfaring.

The University has however defended its action through a statement. It said as a private entity situated on a public property, it has the right to implement such protective measures. But a private legal practitioner, Yaw Oppong said the University of Ghana cannot refer to itself as a private property.