Management of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has suspended, until further notice, all activities leading to the 2021 Students’ Representative Council (SRC) elections.
The decision, the authorities said, was necessitated by a clash between supporters of two aspirants from the University Hall and the Unity Hall. Residents of the two halls are known for their long-standing rivalry.
A statement issued by the authorities, signed by Dr Daniel Norris Bekoe, the University’s Public Relations Officer, said a committee “is to be constituted to thoroughly investigate the matter.”
The committee of enquiry, the statement said, would make appropriate recommendations for the University to act on.
It said investigations revealed that the vetting for the SRC elections, which commenced on Saturday, July 03, at the Great Hall, proceeded smoothly, until it got to the aspirants for the SRC presidential slot when the clash occurred.
Misunderstanding allegedly broke out between some members of the University Hall (Katanga) and the Unity Hall (Conti) in the early hours of Sunday, July 4, 2021.
The incident occurred during a vetting process for the Students Representative Council (SRC) elections at the Great Hall of the University.
According to the school, “one student is officially known to have sustained minor injury in his palm from a broken bottle and is undergoing treatment at the hospital.”
Additionally, some chairs, flowerpots and glass doors at the Great Hall were damaged.
According to an eye witness “it all started with the usual processions by the two halls in support of their various candidates from the halls to the Great Hall before the vetting starts.”
“When the ‘Katangees’ arrived, there was some sort of confusion between them and the ‘Continentals’. One gentleman, believed to be part of the management team of an aspirant from Conti, was preventing the ‘Katangees’ from entering the hall. This caused the first chaos between the two sides,” he narrated.
He added that the ‘Katangees’ allegedly beat him up for preventing them from entering the Great Hall with their procession.
Report says the clash resurfaced when the Electoral Commission decided to postpone the vetting due to the rowdy nature of the two sides.
While the vetting of one of the aspirants, who is said to be neither from the camp of Katanga nor Conti, but a top aspirant in the elections, was in session, the process was being disrupted by the excessive noise from the chanting of both the Conti and Katanga procession groups who had massed up outside the auditorium.
“……it is believed that the Continentals first threw a bottle of urine in the direction of where the ‘Katangees’ had gathered. So, the ‘Katangees’ also retaliated. The exchange was followed by the destruction of chairs in the Great Hall,” the report said.
“The fight broke, it was very bizarre. Someone even threw a machete, which is suspected to have hurt someone. There were knives and other weapons that were used to attack members of the halls involved,” the report added.
Security personnel on campus were then moved in to restore calm and prevent further destruction of the school’s property.
Meanwhile, the University assured all parents and stakeholders that calm had been restored on campus and students were going about their normal duties peacefully.
“The University will continue to provide a safe and secure environment for productive academic work,” it noted.