Contrary to an earlier suggestion by the KNUST that President of the local chapter of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), Prof Charles Marfo never stated on Pure FM that lecturers of the institution, for fear of being attacked by some unscrupulous students, have decided to go to campus with their guns, an audio clip which captures the lecturer’s interview says otherwise.
The Chronicle newspaper had reported that lecturers were yet to recover from the shock they had last year following the violence which ensued during a demonstration by students to register their displeasure as regards management’s decision to convert University Hall (Katanga) from an all-male hall to mixed.
The said publication quoted Prof Marfo to have said on the Kumasi-based radio station that some lecturers, including himself, had decided to carry their registered weapons anytime they go to the campus to lecture, because they are afraid of being attacked.
“Do you know that after that, there are lecturers who come to the office with their weapons in their cars? I’m telling you today. Yes, if I have registered my gun, then if I’m coming to class, I have to bring it along because the child I thought was a kid says he isn’t, he can set my car ablaze. Kwame, are you saying we need to celebrate? I can tell you confidently I am one of them. I feel like every student involved must apologise. I know a lecturer who still fears for his life. What kind of life is this?” he reportedly said.
Dr Daniel Norris Bekoe, University Relations Officer, KNUST, in a statement expressed disappointment in Chronicle for publishing “a story with such a misleading and exaggerated headline”.
Backing his claim with ‘evidence’, Dr Bekoe noted that “it is on record that the radio station where the statement is alleged to have been made has issued a disclaimer stating the news was untrue.”
Checks by Ghanaweb, however, have revealed that the publication by The Chronicle is not misleading as KNUST is suggesting in the statement.
Below are the facts:
Mypurefmonline.com, the online news portal of Pure FM where the comment was made, made a publication to that effect a week ago with the headline ‘Audio: Aftermath of KNUST demo, some lecturers carry guns to the office – Prof Charles Marfo’.
As indicated in the headline, there is an audio clip of Prof. Marfo’s interview, where he is heard furiously making the claim without any equivocation. The lecturer among other things noted that there is nothing to celebrate about the fight against the conversion of the hall as it was chaotic.
The story quoted Prof. Marfo to have said “Do you know that after that, there are lecturers who come to the office with their weapons in their cars. I’m telling you today. Yes if I have registered my gun then if I’m coming to class, I have to bring it along because the child I thought was a kid says he isn’t, he can set my car ablaze. Kwame, are you saying we need to celebrate this? I can tell you confidently, I am one of them. I feel like every student involved must apologize. I know a lecturer who still fears for his life. What kind of life is this? Are you saying this is what we need to celebrate?”
The story by the Chronicle had these words also attributed to Prof. Marfo. The headline of Chronicle’s story read: ‘Guns rule at KNUST: Lecturers carry registered weapons for fear of attack by students’.
Pure FM indeed released a disclaimer. However, it was not released to counter the Chronicle’s story. It was concerning a publication by mynewsgh.com. The portal had a story with the headline, ‘KNUST riot: We have decided to shoot and kill stubborn students – UTAG’ – a publication which was made from Prof. Marfo’s interview.
Meanwhile, KNUST management has assured students and the general public that, “The university community is very peaceful; all students and staff are busy going about their normal activities, without any hindrance.”
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