I share the view of John Stossel express in the article titled; There Ought Not to be Law. Indeed, when there is a problem, people resort to the cheapest and easiest solution by passing a law. Once a law is passed, one will need all machinery to enforce the law, and then what next. The application of force rarely brings change or make things better. Frederic Bastiat simply puts it, law is force, and that, the proper functions of the law cannot lawfully extend beyond the proper functions of force. My good friend, Miss Aku H, will agree someday, when I say Laws in itself, does not solve a problem.
Our freedom and right are gifts man enjoys because he is born a sovereign being. We do not enjoy life, liberty and pursuit of happiness because laws exist, in fact it is a gift from God, as most scholars have mentioned.
KNUST management used the easiest way for far too long that, university management became drunk in the formulation of laws to solve every problem. The conversion of University Hall (Katanga) and Unity Hall (Conti) to mixed was to solve the problem of low female population in the university. There was banned on Morale (usual Friday entertainment by students of both Katanga and Conti), it was illegal for affiliates of Katanga and Conti to visit the halls, as if that was not enough, it was even illegal to entertain a visitor in your room after 10pm.
In fact, economic decisions were sometimes made for students. In my popular article titled; KNUST Bus Service, A Disservice to Students And Limitation to Students Economic Freedom, you will realize that management are quick to provide effective billing system for services but fail to follow up on whether students really benefit from the services or not. It was not surprising, when the University Relation Officer, admitted that his outfit was not aware of the abusive language campus bus drivers used on students. (This admission occurred during a studio discussion on Focus FM, a campus-based radio station, on the eve prior to the demonstration on Monday, 22nd October, 2018). My popular article, landed me in the Dean of Students office during my final year at school. Next time, I will tell you what transpired at the office.
KNUST management want to force their own morals on students. It is true, when they say, a deep look into the past, help one to understand happenings in the future. When the colonial power failed to recognize traditions of our forefathers by installing their own chiefs, our forefather rebelled against colonial power, using their bear chests as against gun powder, the odds were high, yet our forefathers’ rebel. This didn’t serve as a guide to university management in the exercise of power.
As I stated earlier, one will need all machinery to enforce the numerous laws by University Management. I always have the view that, a good law enforces itself, in the quest of enforcing bad laws by university management, the results; a series of brutality meted out to students, leaving many injured and others hospitalized. Students were at the receiving end of every brutal action by KNUST security. Newton’s third law will have it that, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Students reaction was not for everyone to applaud, especially with regards to the destruction of properties. Martin Luther King Jr. mentioned that, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. Howard Zinn added that, protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it. The students demonstrated for their claimed rights. St. Augustine’s prayer guided the students, however between civil disobedience and violence, students went in for both. No wonder, in the demonstration, students attacked school’s administration and Dean’s office.
Bastiat cautions us to abolish law without delay when the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong, and when the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.
I cannot conclude without mentioning UTAG KNUST branch. UTAG, is an association one joins compulsorily for being a university lecturer. The definition fits perfectly in my view. What was preventing them from speaking against student brutality. However, they are quick to kick against government intervening act of dissolving management council after students protest. Anytime you hear about UTAG, it is about, election of Executives, collection of Dues and threatening strike actions. The association in general should take steps to save its face and future occurrence of sex for grade scandals. I owe to that fact that, some members are bold and speak against university management flaws, keep it up and your courage rewarded.
All in all, the university should allow students to function freely. Too many regulations and laws will bring us to a deadlock, let’s avoid it, whilst we can. Conversion of halls needless, it curtails freedom of choice, the choice to be in a male hale is enjoyed because one is a sovereign being.
Nathaniel is a graduate of Atlas Leadership Academy, (USA), and Programs Manager at Young Africans for Opportunities.