I have no regrets for my role in Prof. Avoke’s removal – Afenyo-Markin
NPP Member of Parliament for the Effutu Constituency, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, has mounted a strong defense for the role he played in seeking for the removal of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, Professor Mawutor Avoke.
According to Mr. Afenyo-Markin, he has no regrets whatsoever over his conduct adding that everything he did was in the interest of the University.
Mr. Afenyo-Markin disclosed that he decided to look into the UEW issues as far back as 2013, as a result of some “disturbing governance issues”
The Member of Parliament however denied that he instigated the removal of the UEW Professor because of his personal interests, citing calls by students, lecturers and other members of the University community, calling on him as a Member of Parliament to help resolve their differences.
Mr. Afenyo-Markin accused Prof Avoke of entertaining ill-advice in managing the University and also accused the former Vice-Chancellor of deliberately avoiding resolution talks even when the then Government wanted to intervene.
Speaking in an interview on Citi TV’s program, Face to Face, the legislator said the former UEW Vice-Chancellor was removed as a result of his own negative actions and inaction, adding that he did not have anything personal against Professor Avoke.
“I took up UEW matters as far back as 2013, the governance issues there were disturbing and the same Professors were bringing this issue to my attention as their member of Parliament. I wrote several letters to the then Minister of education drawing her attention to some irregularities particularly on the appointment of the governing council and the subsequent appointment of the former VC.”
Prof Avoke himself, in my days as the Presiding member every opportunity was there for us to agree on the disturbing issues but he wouldn’t make himself available to the extent that when Government officials wanted to intervene, I don’t know who his advisors are, but he pulled back so it wasn’t an issue of anybody wanting to take him off his seat, perhaps he fell on his on sword. Personally I don’t have anything against him,” he said.
When asked by the host of Face to Face, Godfred Akoto Boafo why he decided to go court in his capacity as a Member of Parliament, the Effutu MP replied and said taking such decisions is based on choices and discretion.
He explained that his actions amounted to an intervention and not an interference in the University’s statutes and processes.
He stated emphatically that he has no regrets of his action and also vowed to resist any individual whose actions contravenes that of the University.
“The number of petitions I received from students, somebody has been marked down. They [Students] were not even given a fair hearing. Do not confuse intervention with interference….
It depends on the gravity of the situation. Taking a particular decision is a matter of discretion and choice, if you live with a problem, you know how it affects you, therefore if you ask me, whether or not I have regrets regarding my intervention, I will say no. If you ask me whether I have issues with certain individuals, I will say no. If you ask whether I will act the way I did yesterday against any person in management and at the helms of affairs today in the interest of the community, I will say yes.”
Mr. Afenyo-Marko also said he is confident that posterity will judge him fairly adding that he believes he will be remembered by the people of Effutu as somebody who fought for their collective interest
“If you are a leader, it is for you to exercise discretion on matters of concern. If you decide not to take action, it will come back to hunt you.. Any day the people of Effutu will remember me as the one who fought for their interest at the University and to that extent, I have no regrets.”
Rev. Fr. Prof. Afful Broni
The genesis of Avoke’s woes
The Winneba High Court in 2017 ordered Prof Avoke, to step aside until the case brought against him and the University’s Governing Council was determined.
The case was taken to court by one Supi Kofi Kwayera, who insisted that the Vice Chancellor and the Finance Officer, were operating under the institution’s defunct governing council.
The plaintiff argued that University’s Council’s mandate had expired in November 2013, but the Education Ministry failed to constitute a new Governing Council for the university and rather allowed the defunct Governing Council which had no mandate whatsoever to continue in the functions of a properly formed Governing Council.
Supi Kofi Kwayera also alleged financial and procurement irregularities on the part of the Prof Avoke.
The court, in July 2017, then ordered Prof Avoke to step aside until a case brought against him and the University’s Governing Council was determined.
Supreme Court quashes High Court ruling
The Supreme Court on October 31, 2018, overturned a High Court decision which led to the removal of Professor Mawutor Avoke as Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba.
According to the unanimous ruling, the High Court in Winneba failed to take evidence from the parties in the case before granting judgment.
The court also stated that the High Court breached the rule of natural justice by failing to give the defendants a hearing.
New VC inducted
Rev. Prof. Fr. Anthony Afful-Broni was subsequently inducted into office as the 4th Vice Chancellor of the UEW despite Prof. Avoke’s case in court.
President Nana Akufo-Addo attended the induction.
Prior to the induction, Prof. Avoke’s former lawyer, Raymond Atuguba, warned the President he would be abetting an illegality if he went ahead with the induction.
This is because of the case that was pending at the Supreme Court challenging Avoke’s removal.
Prof. Atuguba said he was alarmed by the President’s involvement given his “admirable Rule of Law credentials.”