Their violent reputation until this murder was limited to unprovoked attacks on students of other halls and universities, attacks on Senior Members of the university management, and a consistent violation of
the Public Order Act, mostly leading to disruptions of the university's lawful assembly, public obscenity and destruction of public and private properties, and threatening the peace of the university community and its environs. For instance, much recently, they were embroidered in clashes on University of Cape Coast campus which saw some students sustaining multiple knife wounds, leading to the suspension of 22 students of ATL (a decision which has since been overturned by the Cape Coast High Court for lack of sufficient evidence). It will also be recalled that on 26th September, 2003, students of Commonwealth Hall ceased the residence of the then Vice Chancellor, Prof Asenso Okyere and rampaged it. This was followed in March 2010 with an attack on the Chancellor of the University, His Excellency Kofi Annan, during a graduation ceremony, which brought international embarrassment and condemnation to the university. At the time, Joy news reported that, "the students heckled the former UN Secretary General, who is also Chancellor of the University, and chanted songs in his face. He suffered this along with his guests." The list is inexhaustible.
Sadly, these clear breaches of the law have consistently been carried out boldly, in broad daylight and mostly in the presence of law enforcement officers without sanctions. On few occasions when people
are sanctioned to serve as deterrent, there are always state institutions and persons of influence who overturn these verdicts, emboldening the vandals stronger. It will be oversimplified to assume that these are some silly acts by overzealous young men who have extra energy to spare. No. Not least. In fact, vandalism in Commonwealth Hall is a well established and resourced spiritual organization, fronted with students, but as its main victims too, and has influences which extend to every facet of the Ghanaian society where power is exercised because former students of the hall are well placed in society. For instance H. E .John Dramani Mahama, former President of Ghana, Nana Ato Dadzie, former Chief of Staff, Justice Modibo Ocran of the Supreme Court, Nana Akuoko Sarpong, Omanhene of Agogo Traditional Area and former Inspector General of Police, Mr Peter Nanfuri, are all past members of the hall.
The story of vandalism has hardly been told from an honest and insider point of view as this writer wishes to do. For the most part, what is publicly known about Commonwealth hall of the University of Ghana are distorted narratives either from enemies of the hall (who do not wish the hall well) or worse, from fellows and friends of the hall who aim for damage control of what the enemies of the hall have said. In the process, the public is merely left with nothing but extreme views of interested parties.
For instance, on Thursday, 10th October, 2002, the Ghana news agency carried a statement in which the old Vandals had denied a claim by the then Dean of Students, Dr Vladimir Antwi Danso, that Commonwealth hall was practicing occultism. In a reaction, the National President of the Old VANDALS Association,
Mr Kwasi Essel Koomson, indicated: "The Association demanded an unqualified apology from Dr Antwi-Danso to the Commonwealth Hall in particular, the University of Ghana as an entity, and the nation in general for creating an environment for unnecessary panic over his effusions which are nothing less than a quixotic reaction to some phantasmagoric hallucinations."
Unfortunately, as a former JCR president, I regret to say that the Dean of students was right. The Hall and its corporate image must urgently be rescued from the hands of a bunch of occult and evil worshipers, who have successfully passed on their evil practices to successive generations for the last four decades.
History has it that those who started the practice of occultism in the hall are mainly prominent royals of some Akan tribes who today, are respectable chiefs in this country.
Even in their present exalted positions and with the benefit of hindsight, they are still the key figures who initiate new members under the cover of darkness into this practice and also give them their first fetish haircut- 'Santo'. This is done before the initiates of 15 members, known as 'outfit', have been abducted for some days to undergo indoctrinations and rituals, and made to crawl throughout the university in white calico, with the entire students of commonwealth hall following them and chanting what sounds like a dirge. The ritual is climaxed by a week's celebration known as 'minimpimim' and a grand Durbar, where the new members are outdoored. The 15 young innocent teenagers and youths, whose parents assume are learning and pursuing the moral values of their respective families,
after indoctrination are forced to swear an oath of allegiance to an evil power, to ensure that Commonwealth students are spiritually enslaved to live like hooligans and perverts by being initiated spiritually.
That explains why Commonwealth hall students are first matriculated and congregated by the Chief Vandal and his fetish priest before allowing the University to take its turn to do it officially. It was this struggle for power between the university management and the chief Vandal (as to who has the power to matriculate first years)that led to attacks on the Chancellor in 2010 as earlier alluded to. During these processes (matriculation and congregation), specific rituals and sacrifices are offered to father Bacchus, an idol worshipped in the hall, to commit the spirit of students into his care and to bless them. Whereas the innocent students assume that these activities and their auxiliary rituals such as the occasional purifications of the ponds in the hall, baptising of all fresh students in these ponds and the lying prostrate of students anytime a chief vandal is addressing them are mere youthful exuberance, the casual observe will be able to observe a trend: the adhering to specific time for this practices, use of specific incantations, the involvement of respectable persons of our society, the resources spent
on it and its share power and influence of people cannot be just for fanfare.
As a result, over the years, brilliant young men, who are admitted into the hall, become hooligans and social perverts characterized by bing drinking, womanizing , extreme foolishness such as eating faeces to demonstrate ones foolishness during 'PAWA NITE', profanity, nudity and sexual escapades. These are certainly the core traits of father Bacchus, the Greek god
of immorality whose statue is worshipped by students of the hall and occasional sacrifices of food, drinks, and worship are offered to it from the shrine of the CHIEF VANDAL, an exalted member of the 15young men initiated.
The chief Vandal, enjoys more powers than does the traditional chiefs who established it in their paramountcy. He is neither regulated by the laws of the university nor those of the country (so it seems), and the university cannot sanction him. He neither attends lectures nor university gatherings. He is always indoors. He moves in great escort, no student must cross his path when he is coming and neither must be heard even breathing when he is talking. It is a punishable offense to challenge his edicts, and everyone must lie flat on their belly while he is talking. The Chief Vandal has the power to declare boycotts and strikes and he names university facilities and roads. He has a standing Militia who execute violence at his command on anybody who threatens his power.
Anybody who wants to contest any elective position on campus, including student offices, university management positions and members of parliament for the Ayawaso Wogon constituency(where the school is located) must come and see him with drinks and money for his 'blessings'. Indeed, when presidential candidates come on campus, they first seek his approval in his palace and at his behest, they proceed
to campaign to students. I should also add that it is one of the most corrupt and morally bankrupt organization you can have in the world. The chief vandal trades his power for sex from female student politicians, and only supports the highest bidder. They don't support student interest.
Unless it is convenient to do so. For them, it is who has the money to pay.
This will explain why legitimately elected student leaders are impeached and reprisals against university administration are so rampantly spearheaded by the chief Vandal. It should be understood that even though most of these agitations are fronted with legitimate student concerns, in most instances, they are self serving, initiated
because persons in authority (student and university management leadership) have failed to induce the chief vandal with bribes and recognition. That also explains why very corrupt student leaders and university
administration have had successful tenures even though they were worse than Adam in their perversions. Unfortunately, it is these attitude and persons who graduate to form
the Old Vandals Association. At these levels, it is an association of past students of the hall who were members of this cult while in
Sadly, some are leading light of our society. They use their positions to ensure that this occultic practice is perpetuated on campus and to lobby for key positions in society for their members after school. On the first agenda, they work hard to constantly ensure that whoever holds key position in the management of the Hall or the university administration is somebody who thinks like them.
With that, they are able to make leaders of the occult group comfortable and escape the law when they faulter. That explains why even in the face of scarce student accommodation regime, the outfit (leaders of the cult) has extra large rooms for a shrine, palace (the dark room) and workers of the chief vandal. It also explains why students of the Hall always get away with very serious offences in the face of compelling evidence. Because the university management was installed by the old vandals through lobbying vandals in high places. But in the unlikely event where
university authorities who are their own, fail to shield offending VANDALS, they have prominent lawyers and even judges ready to favor them as indicated supra. In fact, at the very extreme, there will be a political figure, a journalist or a chief, whose connection can stop any punishment against the offending student of the hall. So in the context of the above narrative, it is reported as indicated above that a vandal has been stabbed to death in the presence of OLD VANDALS, who claim all they could do was to become spectators to the fight of death between two youth. Hmmmm
While I stand with the family of the bereave and Ghanaians in this moment of grieve, I dare say this death should be the least that the public should worry about. Instead, Ghana should be concerned that the over four thousand young men who are annually being admitted into the Commonwealth hall of the University of Ghana for the last 50years are being initiated into occultism directly and indirectly.
Even most troubling is the fact that these practices, which started from the premier University, Legon, has now infested every public University in Ghana and regrettably, most senior high institutions are now also practicing Occultism. Consequently, today's students are less competent. Rather, there is a surge in immorality such as homosexuality, alcoholism, violence, womanizing, vulgarism, plain stupidity, etc in our students. Even worse, our universities have not only become ungovernable but den for strange sicknesses, evil forces and deaths. The resultant effect of enslaving the educated minds of a country into Occultism and such
moral bankruptcy are that we should not expect morality and principled lifestyle in any facet of our society. If students mature with these attitude, it will crush our politics and ruin families. It will muddy our professional integrity and create enmity between a man and his God.
In conclusion, I make the following proposals as a way out.
First, I propose the immediate disbandment of vandalism and such
cultic groups from our campuses. This has nothing to do with
suppressing academic freedoms. Vandalism is anti student activism and
governance. It has betrayed it time without number. Instead, I
recommend that the Visitation Panel Report of 2007 led by Sir John
Daniels (google it to read) should be implemented fully, especially
aspects which bother on student Representation at every level of
Secondly, parents must immediately actively investigate the extent of
the involvement of their wards and help them.
Thirdly, Spiritual exercise of Christians on campuses must be intensified.
Fourthly, persons found still practicing this evil worship on campus
must be branded as anti Ghanaians and punished.
Akyena Brantuo Benjamin
Broadcast Journalist, former President, Commonwealth Hall