I am writing with great concern as a student of KNUST concerning the impending 2020 SRC elections.
The big question now is: how the SRC elections will happen on time before ending the academic year amid the partial closure of the University and social distancing in response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic?
To me, the Aspirants have done their best to adjust their campaigns to talk with hundreds of potential voters online on various social media since the school was closed in anticipation of an election before this academic year ends. While it’s an important election to us as students, we deem it respectful and duty wise to be kept updated about issues regarding the election.
As students, we need new leaders and we won’t afford having anything done against us.
The rapidly evolving discussion about the elections situation has brought to light certain people with interest hence the Dean of Students, Professor Agyare Wilson, must act and see to it that the elections come off with transparent process in the interest of the SRC Aspirants and the Student populace.
These are not normal times and when the academic year ends on 30th June, we need domecratically elected leaders to still be at post according to our constitution.
As you know, the students have had a long standing expectation that voting will be completely accessible online probably or by any feasible means by this month before the ending of the 2019/20 academic year.
It is also speculating that Dean of Students is aware of this and doesn’t want to act. It is also said that there would likely be an interim council together with some SRC executives till next academic year without any further consultation with the SRC Aspirants and the Student populace. Postponement of the SRC Elections must not be an option we must resort to.
In such a situation, the constitutional and legal parameters should be carefully navigated. Students concern especially,the seemingly perceived politically motivated abuse of the postponement in certain people interest must be taken seriously.
I believe there has been an attempt by an incumbent SRC executives and the Dean of Students to “undemocratically” postpone the election to next academic year.
SRC executives are elected by students to serve as Students representatives on the school’s council and provide students perspectives on policies, procedures, and initiatives that are being adopted by the council. SRC executives also have the ability to begin new initiatives and bring the concerns, questions, and ideas of students to the school board.
The covid -19 has brought the unexpected circumstances, although it is SRC election season for KNUST students, election procedures have been halted indefinitely by the SRC EC.
In an effort to support the best interest of Students, we recommend the Dean, SRC EC and and anybody including the aspirants aim to have SRC executives elected by the end this month as the School ends academic year (June 30th) to enable newly elected SRC executives to get time to acclimatize to their roles and engage in sufficient preparation for the upcoming year to serve our interest.
This also allows incumbent SRC executives to help support and orient new SRC executives into their new roles before term turnover, and give them an opportunity to run for an executive position in executive council, something we didn’t see with ABC and we all saw the results.
The main objective of electoral processes is to deliver credible electoral results. Credibility is achieved through technically, well executed electoral process, broad participation and trusted results that infuse legitimacy in elected officials.
We know the SRC EC together with the Dean of Students Professor Wilson Agyare and the UITS can Implement or further develop alternative voting methods for the seats of the SRC not to be left empty since the incumbent SRC executives will soon end their administrative work.
The COVID-19 pandemic has really changed the face of holding elections which was scheduled for March 26th, 2020 and has been postponed indefinitely. The KNUST SRC constitution as amended in 2011, makes provisions for E-voting and bio-metric through which voting can take place. Decision-making is more straight forward where constitutions or laws clearly spell out the conditions under which elections to be organized in times like this. In extreme circumstances such as the ones triggered by the current COVID-19 in our country, holding elections online will be best.
Elections serves as an opportunity for students to show case their power by electing new SRC executives. A decision to postpone an election suspends political rights, and as such undermines the social contract between SRC executives and the Students since the SRC constitution provides a better way to have elections in times like this.
As the EC and the DOS have not developed a clear election procedure due to the usual procedure being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic , I suggest they use the UITS to organize the election online as the SRC constitution demand from the above reasons stated earlier or whichever mechanism the EC and the Dean opts to use, ensuring that a process exists for elections to be held that SRC executives are able to be formally selected by their peers to serve. The UITS is always ready to work with you and your office, and the SRC EC to ensure that all voters are able to cast a private and independent ballot online for our next SRC executives.
As you are aware, there is only a few more weeks for the election to come off before the academic year ends.
Therefore, we would like to hear from you within the next 3 to 7 days.
By; A concerned final year Student