By A University Staff
Readers will recall the continuing saga at our country’s only university, University of The Gambia, ravaged by corruption, nepotism and legal wrangling in the past which has reduced this important national institution to nothing but Jammeh’ stool. To say the least, a situation not helped by a chequered five year long administration by a self-proclaimed Professor Muhammadou Kah, whose rating in the academic scale is at rock bottom level. Evidence of his American University of Nigeria purported letter suggests Kah’s alleged forgery of his Professorial ranking ( Kaironews.com of May 4th 2014) and his own posted online Curriculum Vitae even throws in limbo and ominous doubt his Doctoral qualification. Kah has claimed to have attained both his Ph.D and a Master of Science Degree in the same one year 1999 at different Universities, (Stephens Institute and George Washington University, USA). Any sane person knows that this is not only an impossible academic achievement but at the most a preposterous claim.
Now let me return to my topic. University of the Gambia has been without a Vice Chancellor going to four months now. Kah’s disappointing five-year term of office as Vice Chancellor officially expired on the 30th April 2014. But interestingly enough, he still occupies the position without replacement, daily running the university’s administration and callously abusing its meagre resources with impunity. At UTG Kah easily finds sustaining support from his cronies in the likes of retired Mr Jenung Manneh as the University Secretary (Kah’s creation), Mr Kwadwo Kojo, his Ghana born Director of Finance; Mrs Mariama John the university Auditor without any financial qualification, his cousin Mass Alieu Kah, VC Kah’s appointed Budget Director and weak personality Dr Pierre Gomez who prefers to whittle all progressive academic staff in his Department for his better advantage. From reports close to top management of the university, Kah has most recently been spending time in Saudi Arabia for unexplained reasons costing the Gambian tax payer a staggering D800, 000.00. Many university staff and students are quite disgruntled with Kah’s excessive lust for wasteful spending and per Diem claims in the glaring eyes of Jammeh, making Kah the untouchable rare Gambian.
Indeed Kah’s constant bluff in the campus is nothing new saying that no matter what, Jammeh will reappoint him for another five-year term since he (The President) is well in his pocket. He is of course referring to university funds from overseas students paying in foreign currency Dollars and the lucrative student tuition fees which have almost doubled during Kah’s tenure ship. He is now frantically engaged in intense lobby backed by heavy weights such as his cousin businessman Mohammed Jah of Q Cell who monopolises all UTG technology contracts given by Kah, his friend Mr Edi Jobe of Elton Petroleum, and the powerful Amadou Samba of Gamcement. Of course to any onlooker familiar with the politics of the country, having these three strong personalities as your lobbiyists, only the sky is the limit for Kah to achieving anything he so desires in The Gambia of today.
Why has it taken so long for the position of a new Vice Chancellor be advertised and appointed from suitably qualified academics? What is the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology under whose umbrella falls the university is doing? What is the University’s Governing Council doing about this mess? Perhaps nothing is being done since no given body dares to do anything without the direction and approval by Jammeh. Such is the state of affairs at UTG that without timely decision, the situation not only spells disaster for UTG but doom for the entire country since a university is the symbol of national development in a country and by far greater than Kah as an individual.
Already the climate at UTG is one of frustration from among staff and students clouded by an ominous state of uncertainty and lack of progress. More and more staff are resigning not the least to mention the latest ones including Mrs Lawson, an able Sierra Leonean who heads the English Department, Mr Susso, Father Jarju, Ngegba Stephen, and Madam Adama Cole, another Sierra Leone who passed away, making the attrition rate during Kah’s tenure in office the worst in UTG history. Recent exam results have been abysmal denoting to constant falling academic standards due to Kah’s style of administration, giving lesser role to a University Senate that should be pivotal in safeguarding academic standards.
Yahya Jammeh may well be appointing Kah for another five-year term but let him know that any appointment of Kah would be rocky and bleak for the university and will certainly have untold consequences for the entire country.