Youth activist, Abdul Salaam has expressed his displeasure at the suspension of the University of Ghana Students Representative Council (UGSRC) General Assembly (GA) elections.
This is in response to an earlier notice from the Dean of Student Affairs to the GA which suspended its speakership elections due to the disruptions that obstructed the electoral processes at the Mensah Sarbah Dining Hall on 22nd October, 2023.
In an interview on Campus Exclusive, he opined that the process the Office of the Dean of Students Affairs adopted in addressing the turbulence was not a commendable step, adding that indefinite suspension of the elections would cause ulterior motives to be pushed.
He rebuked the alternative of making the SRC’s executive committee (EXECOM) take the GA’s position in interim, explaining how it has made the student leadership, as he described, ‘condensed’.
“How they are handling this situation is not the best way possible. The fact that you are investigating supposed violence does not mean that the whole institution should be suspended. If you suspend the election of the speaker, then variably people will say that the general assembly has been suspended. People will say that without the speaker, there is no GA. Even with that, the GA has a structure and the constitution is clear about that. If the university management is suspending the activities of the GA and is suggesting EXECOM should work in the interim, how long will it last?”
“You have cut off the legislative assembly and moved to a more condensed form which is the EXECOM. Some of these actions cause people to perpetuate their ulterior motives.”
Abdul suggested an online election to prevent the possible occurrence of violence at the general assembly. He added that if management continued to suspend activities of student leadership, there would be an extinction of student leadership opportunities in the school.
“Is there a way we can still form GA while protecting the culprits? Can we do the elections online to avoid another occurrence? If yes, let’s do it. Can we do it concurrently? We have to look for innovative ways to handle problems like this rather than push everything away. If we continue like this, the next three or four years there will be no student [leaders].”
The disruptions that took place at the GA speakership elections were marked by snatching of ballot boxes, violence and harm to some attendees at the event. The SRC Electoral commissioner later blamed the SRC General Secretary for the disruptions, explaining that she took over the proceedings of the elections, which she was in no jurisdiction to conduct. There was also a request for retraction of the SRC’s president’s statements, where he rebuked the EC for the violence at the event, along with an apology over the statement.
Story by: Michelle Lartey | univers.ug.edu.gh