MR CHANCELLOR: YOUR CHILDREN ARE CRYING
By Papis Lee, Banjul
The euphoria that followed the landmark judgment in the matter between the IGP Vs Gumbo Touray has now subsided. Having praised the Gambian Judiciary for its impartiality and independence, our great expectations have been dashed to the ground. Lack of action or inaction on the part of the executive to take the VC to task has made us vulnerable, disadvantaged and incapacitated. To further add insults to injury, the VC is in possession of a letter signed by the Secretary General, Office of The President reassuring him of government’s unflinching support at all times. The letter indicated amongst other things government’s directive for the AG Chambers to appeal the verdict. This letter has been shown to few trusted lieutenants of Kah including Jenung Manneh, Dr Omar Jah, Mr Kojo and John Jatta. The rest of the University community have not seen the letter. Indeed this letter has divided the opinion of both staff and students as to what the executive is up to. If this letter is genuine, then it means The VC has been armed with a rifle, a cutlass and a machete to chop off the head of any perceived or real enemy. This wounded lion of a VC will be too glad to silence his opponents.
Mr. Chancellor, we fully respected your decision of issuing directives for the appointment of the VC in 2009. However, the Governing Council fell short of scrutinizing the credentials of the VC in the first instance. This is the genesis of the current problem. What the verdict revealed pointed to these issues, namely insufficient publications to have warranted him promotion to the rank of a Professor, and secondly the letter of promotion the VC tendered in court was fraught with simple grammatical errors that a class six student could have noticed and corrected. As long as VCs credentials are not scrutinized in accordance with prescribed regulations, the murmuring, gossip, disenchantment and frustrations will continue gripping UTG
Sir it is not the skeptics and saboteurs who wrote that terribly flawed letter of promotion to Dr Kah in 2007. Instead it was purportedly written by the VC of the American University of Nigeria. Whenever people want to deceive you, they will wave the flag of skeptics, detractors or opposition elements at your face in order to get at your nerves. They know it will always work in their favour. UTG has graduated seven cohorts and this means it is here to stay.
Sir, it is not skeptics and opposition elements who tendered co-authored publications of mediocre quality before the court. It was done by Kah himself.
Sir it is not CJ Agim who presided over the case. The case lasted for over a year and the truth prevailed. What Kah and his supporters are saying are mere concoctions of their imaginations. Nowhere in the world does one apply to the Vice Chancellor to become a Professor. There are established committees that handle such matters. If Agim indeed applied for Promotion, Kah should have submitted same to the appropriate committee for consideration but not to act unilaterally by dismissing the application.
Sir the interest and support demonstrated by Fatou Lamin Faye in this matter is understandable. The Ministry of Basic Education provided over D28 Million to UTG to procure equipment and other accessories for the Science Park at Faraba Banta. This development necessitated the opening of an Account with the Central Bank of The Gambia. Interestingly enough, the two signatories to the Account are VC Kah and Yunus Hydara. Yunus is brother-in-law to Dr Omar Jah and by extension a family relation of VC Kah. The supplier of the equipment is Muhammed Jah, a cousin to VC Kah. These equipment were not tendered. Sir, you are at liberty to request for the UTG Statement of Account with the Central Bank. As if that is not enough, MOBSE, recently spent over $500,000 in the training of Science teachers. Instead of using classrooms in one of the tertiary institutions, they chose VC Kah’s College at Bijilo as the venue for the training sessions. Kah was handsomely paid.
Sir, UTG cannot attain world class status with VC Kah at the helm of affairs. When it comes to global ranking of Universities, key issues such as publications, qualifications of academic staff including the Vice Chancellor are put into consideration. The situation as it stands revealed that VC Kah has not
distinguished himself as a Professor in his area of specialization. He has not singlehandedly published in any journal of international repute. This is a shame. As it stands UTG is the only University with a Vice Chancellor with doubtful qualifications. Sir I hope you remember the last time when UTG was ranked second to last by the OIC. In the same vein, Dr Senghore is not fit to head the Law Faculty as Dean for the simple reason that he has not been called to the Bar. This means during assessment of University rankings, UTG will score zero when it comes to Professional competence of the Dean.
Sir UTG is a national institution. It is bigger than all of us and VC Kah should do us favour and redeem himself. Firstly, he should present his credentials including publications to a properly constituted academic panel to determine his eligibility for Professorship as prescribed in the UTG Conditions of Service.
Sir it is the norm all over the world that if Mr A. for example was appointed Professor at University of Oxford, and he subsequently took up appointment at University of Bulfaleh, Mr. (A)s credentials will be assessed and evaluated by University of Bulfaleh to determine his eligibility. What is stopping VC Kah from doing this to save himself and the national institution? When Professor Steigen was appointed VC in 2005, he was an Associate Professor at Bergen University. But upon submission of his credentials for scrutiny, he was adjudged to have met the requirements for Professorship by UTG standard and was promoted accordingly.
Secondly, VC Kah should formally bring to the attention of the authorities at AUN that the letter of promotion issued to him in 2007 has raised doubts in court and an amended version to be submitted to the Chairman of the UTG Council who in turn will make it public.
The issue of DUMALEN FALLEH-(I will not mind them) will not solve the problem. Universities are symbols of independence and national prestige, and to allow Kah to erode our national sovereignty should not be allowed.
Sir strings of resignations are in the offing as staff could no longer put up with the carte blanche powers conferred on VC Kah. Mark my words.
Sir for three years now, all the Deans, the Registrar and Directors are all serving in acting positions. This is a violation of the General Orders. In other words, there have been no promotions. So you can sense the frustration and disenchantment.
Sir VC Kah singlehandedly amended the University Act to suit his convenience. Never in the history of Universities is a VC directly answerable to a President. The VC is normally answerable to the Chairman of Council who is the representative of government. Again, when our governance structure is being assessed we will score zero. How and when shall we become a world class University?
Sir the students have raised legitimate issues bordering on the signature on their certificates. Since VC Kah’s Professorship is still not out of the woods, they want to know whether it will not raise credibility issues if VC Kah signs their certificates as Professor Kah. This is why Kah should redeem himself in public for the greater national interest.
Sir the so-called threat of student is just a diversionary tactic. Kah has blown it out of context to infuse fear, anxiety and insecurity into the minds of the powers that be. He knew full well that once insecurity is mentioned, Oga will forget the real issue at hand and focus on security. UTG students are the most law abiding and have never planned any demonstration. In 1999 when things were tough and sceptics abound, there was no incitement or demonstration. There were few classrooms and some lectures were held in the open. Ekong, the founding VC never had cause to suspend or initiate disciplinary action against any student or member of staff. During the period of Steigen, things moved on pretty well. Now that we boast of achievements of the millennium, staff and students are disenchanted. Sir the problem lies with the UTG leadership
Sir, VC Kah is hell bent on removing all the founding members of staff who did the spade work for UTG to be where it is today. He is slowly Americanising the processes and procedures which he alone understood. He has brought folks from America and created positions which did not exist in our nomenclature.
Sir VC Kah unilaterally relieved Dr Ousman Nyan of his position as DVC Academic on the pretext that Nyan is not a full Professor. Is Kah a full Professor?
Sir, the close to 40 members of staff who testified against Kah at the NDEA are crying. They are now at the mercy of Kah. Since news spread around campus that Kah has been issued a letter from State House
Commending him for the good work, everybody is in tenterhooks.
Sir, indemnifying Kah is not the solution. If one is privy to a coup plot and one decides not to report the matter, one could be guilty of concealment of treason and face the same penalty as the plotters. The people who testified against Kah therefore, did a patriotic act by tendering evidence at the NDEA. Because of the apparent inaction from the executive, Kah is busy purging the University. Momodou Bah, Dr Sidibeh, Yusupha Dibba and Kanji Drammeh have all fallen victims. Dr Sidibeh, the only qualified psychologists was replaced by an inexperienced young lady whose Masters degree is not psychology. Currently, the lady is pregnant and will leave anytime. When this happens, the Psychology Department will be pronounced death and students will suffer.
Sir at the height of the Gumbo Touray trial, Kah hired a marabout from Mali and lodged him at Carlton Hotel. Kah was spotted ushering the marabout holding a LEKET-gourd. He was in the company of Edi Jobe of ELTON. In the evenings, the Marabout will patrol the Law Courts Buildings, the State House perimeter fence reciting incantations to render you impotent and powerless. This is what the Wollofs call ‘JATT”. When a Zimba is “JATTED”, it is rendered impotent. This is what happened to you. You are at Kah’s mercy.
Sir Kah is bragging that his father is an IMAM and has WIRRDA and therefore nothing will happen to him.
Sir your children are crying.