Discontinue Passage Of Public University Bill — Ansa-Asare

A former Director of the Ghana School of Law (GSL), Mr Kwaku Ansa-Asare, has called for the discontinuance of the consideration and passage of the Public University Bill currently before Parliament forthwith, in the national interest.

“It seems to me that the Executive and the Legislature are bent on passing it into law, despite the vehement protestations by many well-meaning Ghanaians,” he said.

In a statement on the issue of the Public University Bill, a copy of which was sent to the Daily Graphic, the former Director of the GSL called on both the Executive and the Legislative arms of government to reflect before embarking on such a risky venture to pass the Public University Bill into law. 

“The question is whether the Executive and the Legislative branches of government have any legitimate authority to do so,” he said.

Moral authority

Mr Ansa-Asare, who is also a former Director of Legal Education, emphasised that the outcome of the 2020 general election was an implicit message from the electorate to all the political parties and the three arms of government.

According to him, the outcome of the presidential and the parliamentary elections, with the resultant rejection and consequential throwing out from Parliament of nearly 50 per cent of MPs, gave an extraordinary clear picture that approximately 50 per cent of the electorate did not endorse most of the policies of the NPP government, including, specifically, many provisions in the Public University Bill.

“In my considered opinion, neither the Executive nor the Legislature has any moral authority to consider the proposed Bill, let alone pass it into law, after the December 7, 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

“The MPs, Ministers and Deputy Ministers who have been voted out had no moral authority to take Executive and/or Legislative decisions directly affecting a cross-section of the electorate who have shown them the red card. 

“It is quite clear that the people of Ghana have spoken loud and clear that they disapproved of most of the policies of the government and decried the almost rubber-stamping of Bills into Law; more so, it has led to a hung Parliament never before experienced in Ghana. 

“This new phenomenon of a hung Parliament is anticipated to face, from the start, overwhelming odds, and that should be sufficient reason for both the Executive and the Legislature to reflect and re-think some of the things they did in the past that led to the rejection of almost 50 per cent of MPs and the loss of about 40 seats by the NPP,” he observed. 

Bill affected election outcome

Mr Ansa-Asare also pointed out that the Public University Bill was injurious and inimical to the interest of majority of stakeholders and, consequently, any attempt to consider passing it into law must be nipped in the bud.

The lawyer and legal educationist said it was surprising how many of the suggestions and proposals made by some forward-looking MPs from both sides of the House and credible stakeholders, including vice-chancellors, the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), the Ghana Association of University Administrators (GAUA), civil society organisations, the clergy, as well as well-meaning Ghanaians, had not been considered by the NPP government.

“I am of the view that the failure of the NPP government to listen to the views of the silent majority on every provision in the Public University Bill contributed greatly to what was eventually the party’s loss of about 40 seats in Parliament,” he said.

He called on the desk officers at the Ministry of Education to consider the views of the opposition and drop the Bill, saying that pushing it at whatever cost would suggest that the NPP had not drawn any useful lessons from the outcome of the December 2020 parliamentary poll.

“I also want to send this message to the few but powerful sycophants who have surrounded the President. You are the cause of the President’s troubles and the woes of the NPP. And the earlier you stopped your praise-singing of the President all day long for your personal gains, the better it would be for everyone,” he charged.