KNUST suspends SRC election activities; committee to probe Conti, Katanga clash
All Students Representative Council (SRC) election-related activities have been halted by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) administration.
On Sunday, during the vetting of SRC applicants, members of the University Hall [Katanga] and Unity Hall [Conti] fought violently.
During the violence, the students smashed chairs, glasses, and flower pots in the University’s Great Hall, among other things.
All SRC election-related activities have been put on hold indefinitely due to the developments between the two competing halls.
In a Citi News interview, Dr. Daniel Norris Bekoe, the University’s Relations Officer, said, “The University management has stopped all SRC activities up to the SRC elections till further notice.”
He further stated that on Monday, July 5, 2021, a committee will be formed to examine the incident and determine the necessary punishments for those implicated.
“Tomorrow [Monday], a committee will be formed to investigate the exact cause of the incident and then offer suitable suggestions for management to consider. The University cannot penalize someone until a committee submits a proposal to the Vice-Chancellor for consideration. So we’re looking into that.
Only one of the students has formally reported to the University Hospital for medical care for the injuries he sustained, according to university officials.
The pupil in question is stated to be in good health.
The school released a supplementary statement assuring parents and stakeholders that there is quiet on campus and that students are carrying out their usual academic activities in a peaceful manner.
It went on to say, “The University will continue to provide a safe and secure atmosphere for effective academic work.”
“It all started with the two halls’ regular processions from the halls to the Great Hall in favor of their individual candidates before the vetting began. There was significant misunderstanding between the ‘Katangees’ and the Continentals when they arrived. The ‘Katangees’ were being prevented from entering the Hall by a person who was thought to be a member of the management team of a Conti candidate. An eyewitness who requested anonymity told Citi News, “This created the initial pandemonium between 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 thought that the Continentals hurled a bottle of urine in the direction of the gathering ‘Katangees.’ As a result, the ‘Katangees’ responded as well. The trashing of seats in the great hall followed the exchange, according to the source.
“The brawl erupted, and it was weird. Someone even hurled a machete, which is said to have caused injury. Knives and other weapons were used to assault members of the halls in question. I can tell you that there are minor and serious injuries that require immediate medical attention.”
Meanwhile, security agents have arrived on campus to maintain order and prevent more damage to the school’s property.
Both Conti and Katanga are known for their student rivalry, which has frequently resulted in riots.
In the past, fights between these two male halls of residence have resulted in injuries, which is a major source of concern for school officials.
There have been conflicts between the two factions in the past, and the authorities have had to arrest some of the culprits.
The most well-known of the Katanga-Conti riots occurred in 2018, when the school attempted to merge the two halls into one.
The students’ riot and ensuing property destruction cost approximately GHc1.6 million. It also resulted in the university’s temporary shutdown.
The school administration’s decision to turn all-male halls into unisex ones was regarded by some of the disgruntled students and alumni as an attempt to foster a culture of quiet at the institution.
The change, however, was made to increase the number of women enrolled in the institution, according to administration.
The alumni even petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo to intervene in what they called a dilution of their hall customs.