KNUST Students’ Parliament nails SRC President on the executive instrument signed for institution of temporary executives with 12 constitutional violation charges

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It was earlier reported by Thrillernewsgh.com that, SRC President of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Master Adu Baah Charles has signed an executive instrument for the institution of an Interim Students’ Representative Council (ISRC) to manage the affairs of the Council until an election is organized to elect substantial executives.

Many students have shared their view on the decision of the SRC President, describing it as unconstitutional.

Remarkably, the Speaker of KNUST Students’ Parliament House (KSPH), Rt. Hon. Robert Kumi Adu Gyamfi, and members of the KSPH have attempted to challenge the decision by the KNUST SRC President to invoke an act which provides the establishment of an interim committee for the purpose of students representation.

According to a statement released by the KNUST Students’ Parliament House, the very power with which Master Adu-Baah Charles signed the Instrument is questionable as his tenure as the SRC President ended some days ago.

Among other things, the KSPH challenged the SRC with seven (7) days, beginning Monday, 6th July, 2020 to repeal the Instrument and do the needful.

“Within the first three (3) days of the seven day period, the SRC President should come out to apologize to the entire student populace and then go back to apply the rule of law”, the statement added.

The following are the 12 constitutional violation charges discerned by the KSPH

1. In the description of the supposed Act under its title, it reads, “AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF AN INTERIM COMMITTEE FOR THE PURPOSE OF STUDENT REPRESENTATION AND ORGANIZING OF THE STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL ELECTIONS ACCORDING TO ARTICLE 22(1) AND (2) OF THE SRC CONSTITUTION, 2011 (AS AMENDED).” The said clauses as stated in the SRC constitution reads; (1) There shall be a President of the SRC who shall be the leader and chief spokesperson of the SRC in all matters coming under his jurisdiction and shall be the Commander- in Chief of the University Cadet Corps.(2) The President shall take precedence over all other persons under the SRC and in descending order, the Vice President, the Speaker of Parliamentary Council and the
Judicial Council Chairman. We wish to state that we do not find any provision in the above-mentioned clauses that empowers the president of the SRC President to pass the said Instrument. It is rather unfortunate that the stakeholders, including the SRC president would deliberately invoke a wrong provision in the SRC constitution as the foundation of this Instrument, rendering it illegal as that provision does not grant such powers.

2. Paragraph two (2) of the letter from the SRC President, that which accompanies and seeks to
explain the rationale for the Instrument reads in part, “…I Master Adu-Baah Charles Jr, President of the SRC (2019/2020) after necessary consultations with relevant stakeholders, have signed an instrument to ensure the continuance of the SRC.” However, the law is titled “AN INSTRUMENT ENTITLED THE INTERIM STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE ACT, 2020.” We
would like to remind the SRC that an Act is different from an Instrument and as such a single document cannot be both at the same time. Perhaps the SRC would prefer that we school them on the distinction between these two; there are three types of Instruments namely, The Constitutional Instrument, The Legislative Instrument and The Executive Instrument. Generally and in relation to this subject, an Act is one that has seen the floor of parliament, gone through the necessary
debate and all relevant processes before being approved and sent to the President to be assented. An Executive Instrument on the other hand derives its powers from an Act of Parliament.

3. Unfortunately, in as much as the SRC President failed to state whether or not it is an Act, we wish to state categorically that it does not qualify as an Act because it was not laid on the floor of the SRC Parliamentary Council for the necessary scrutiny and approval. Given the circumstances that Covid-19 has put us in, one would have expected that at least, members of the council, whom we believe are on a common platform, would be informed about the decision. We are reliably informed however, that members of the SRC Parliamentary Council were not given any official
notice of the intention to execute the said Instrument.

4. Following the presidential assent given, KSPH supposes the SRC purported to create a resolution. Why we think so is stipulated in Article 44(1) of the SRC constitution which reads; “The power of Parliamentary Council to make resolutions shall be exercised by resolution bills passed by Parliament and assented to by the President.”It is thus clear that even if the SRC President sought to pass a resolution, it should be one that is
‘passed by parliament’ and only assented to by the president. Sadly, that is not case of this
Instrument as members of the parliamentary council were not officially informed about it.

5. Let the SRC, perhaps the Judicial Council and all stakeholders of this Instrument, take note that the very nature of the draft does not reflect neither does it befit an Executive Instrument as they have confusedly sought to call it. Also, there is no provision in the SRC constitution that authorizes the SRC President or the Parliamentary Council to enact an Executive Instrument.

6. The next question is, assuming all procedures for passing a resolution as stipulated in Article 44 of the SRC constitution was duly complied with, can a resolution of parliament create new offices
in the SRC? The answer is obviously in the negative sense. The most flexible law would have been the power of the SRC President to create ad hoc committees under Article 6 (h) (i),however, it still cannot be interpreted to mean that the president can create offices to be carried out as representatives of students at the university council. The purported ISR Committee is therefore alien to the SRC constitution. The supremacy of the SRC constitution under Act 2 of same must be defended and the said Act/Instrument must be an abrogation of the SRC constitution and same must be resisted as urged in Act 4 of the constitution.

7. The very power with which Master Adu-Baah Charles signed the Instrument is questionable as his tenure as the SRC President ended some days ago. The university officially ended the
semester on 30th June, 2020 and by extension, the tenure of all student leaders technically came to an end. It is thus appalling the blatant disregard Master Adu-Baah Charles showed for rule of law in signing the said Instrument.

8. In bizarre events such as the one we currently find ourselves in, the only reasonable thing would have been for the outgone SRC President to exercise a supervisory role in the formation of an interim committee if need be.

9. The very composition of the supposed Interim Committee is as well questionable as it does not reflect the choice of the masses it seeks to represent. Article 2(1) of the Interim Students Representative Act, 2020 spells the category of persons to form this committee as representatives from Elected College Executives, Elected Hall Executives, Elected Non-Residential and ISA Executives, Institute of Distant Learning (IDL) and Clubs and Societies. In as much as we appreciate the efforts of the SRC in trying to get every student represented, it is instantly clear
that the students, whom the SRC seeks to represent with the committee, did not have a say in who represents them. Indeed, no evidence of the SRC consulting the student body regarding this Instrument currently exists. This gross imposition of ‘the leader’s choice’ on the student body cannot and will not be tolerated by this House.

10. Article 12(1) of the SRC constitution reads; “The Executive Committee Officers of the SRC with the exception of the Vice President shall be elected through secret ballot by the students governed by the SRC.” Indeed, aside this provision, there is no other provision in the constitution that stipulates the manner in which the entirety of the Executive Committee Officers, the vice president excluded, be formed. We then find it strange how the said Instrument, naming representatives at the executive level for the student body, came about. We say the students must have a say, one way or the other, in all issues regarding their representation as mandated by the
constitution.

11. Article 2(2) of the Interim Students Representative Act, 2020 reads, “The Chairperson of the Committee shall be appointed by the SRC President, in consultation with the SRC Speaker of Parliament and the Judicial Council Chairperson, from the representatives presented under clause 1.” The duty that Master Adu-Baah Charles seeks to confer on himself here is the most absurd move ever. We wish to reiterate that Master Charles technically ceased to be the SRC President after 30th June, 2020, days after which he signed this Instrument, rendering this provision and the entire Instrument illegal. Even if the student body opts for an Interim Committee, it is only right that the chosen representatives elect a leader from amongst them and not have one imposed on them by an outgone president.

12. Article 3(2) of the same Act in question stipulates the mandate of the Interim Committee as, “To continue with the organization of the SRC and NUGS Elections within the first 14 days upon the commencement of the new academic year for continuing students.” Clause 4 reads, “To
ensure that power is properly transitioned within seven days after the elections, to the duly elected SRC executives.” Indeed it is general knowledge that most students do not report early upon resumption due to varying reasons ranging from financial constraints to accommodation issues. Hence, we find it impossible that elections can be credibly held within the first 14 days upon resumption, given that this time, the Covid-19 has already rendered many families financially incapacitated, suggesting that it would take a while for students to gather the necessary funds before reporting to school. The results of such an election will not reflect the true
choice of majority of the student populace. The five days addition that could be granted by the
Dean of Students as provided for by Article 3(3) of the Act will not make any difference.

Source: www.thrillernewsgh.com


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