UG: I won’t allow third party conduct student elections – Prof. Kyerematen

Nana Kwegyirba Koomson
Nana Kwegyirba Koomson
6 Min Read

The Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Ghana, Professor Kyerematen has assured students of her commitment to maintaining high credibility and efficiency in the conduct of students’ elections after her office introduced a directive to organize students’ elections online moving forward. 

According to her, she will not allow a third-party software voting system to conduct elections in the University since the University of Ghana Computing System is well-equipped to handle that.

Speaking on Campus Exclusive on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 ,she said the University management was committed to ensuring that no single student is disenfranchised in a quest to elect their student representatives.

”The SRC wanted a third party to conduct elections. the university has a whole unit, well resourced that can conduct online elections. So why should we bring a third party from outside to come and conduct elections on University of Ghana campus?. I will not allow a third party to come and conduct the elections. And when UGCS conducted the elections, it went very smoothly. We are all aware that one one of the Vice Chancellor’s  key strategic objectives is to go digital so she together with her team is putting measures in place to make sure that Internet access is good, whichever part of campus you find yourself, you’ll be able to have internet access. And so university management is putting measures in place to make sure that nobody is disenfranchised” she said

Professor Rosina Kyerematen  also explained  the rationale behind the decision to conduct student elections fully online.
She intimated  that after the violent-clashes that have bedeviled the institution in the last 2 years, an investigative committee was set up to review the situation and recommend some pragmatic solutions which brought up the idea of electronic voting for subsequent elections.

”After the disturbances  that occurred around the SRC Elections  in 2021, the then acting Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic and Student Affairs) set up a committee to investigate the clashes and one of the key  recommendations was elections should be conducted online after the clashes that occurred. so when the current occupant  assumed office, she also set up a committee to look into the running of the SRC Elections in general and one of the main recommendations was that, all student elections should be conducted online and managed by the University of Ghana Computing Systems (UGCS)”.

Student activist and former Commonwealth Hall House of Lords Secretary, Hamza Sahadu who also spoke on Campus Exclusive expressed skepticism over the decision.His concerns was bordered on security of the system as he encouraged management and student politicians to consider involving independent third parties to monitor the online voting procedure to avoid breaches.

”It is high time they bring in third parties that  will subject the systems of UGCS to critical scrutiny and students will not be aloof to the shenanigans of management” he said.

On claims that online voting would allow peace prevail post elections due to less human involvement, Hamza Sahadu  said that was not a guarantee.

”Using technology  to augment elections on campus is no guarantee that there won’t be any chaos. let us remind ourselves  that during the elections that brought Prince Asumadu and Wisdom Ndukwe into office, it was online and it was papable to everyone what transpired then  and it even degenerated into something else. if not for the intervention of security agencies, by now people would have lost their lives. the paramount reason for coming to campus is to gain knowledge and  not put our lives at risk”.

Deputy Minority Leader of University of Ghana Parliament House, Agyemang Livingstone Scott encouraged students to hold a balanced analysis on the online voting directive. According to him, every mode of conducting election has its pros and cons.

”Any form of democracy, whether at the national level or at the student level is of concern to the stakeholders. The letter that emanated from the Office of the Dean of academic affairs office was involved with the UGCS as the EMB when you’re talking about the EMB, it means the electoral management board, elections, my money and their arguments against holding elections are like a student remarks to a balanced analysis  of the pertinent issues. In my considered view, I would prefer  electronic voting  to elections being held manually. But what is of utmost importance is that the election should have an effective machinery in helping to consolidate what our democratic traditions” 

The University of Ghana has recently undergone a change in the way student elections are conducted. In 2021, the university adopted a hybrid election system, which combined both in-person and online voting methods in an effort to mitigate potential clashes on campus.

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