NUL MEDIA STATEMENT ON STUDENT UNREST AT ROMA CAMPUS
On Friday, 12th August, 2016 a certain Makhaola Thienyane called an unauthorized meeting of students at the Students Centre (Mzalas). While students have the right to convene meetings, there are procedures to be followed to do so. In writing, the Director of Students Affairs [DSA] advised Thienyane against the unauthorized meeting and especially warned him against possibly adverse consequences that might emanate from such a meeting.
On Monday, 15th August and without any prior warning to the University Management or any complaint of whatever kind a crowd of students invaded teaching facilities; hurried lecturers and students out of classes thereby disrupting the normal activities of the University. They further went about trashing the campus, damaged property and made a born fire at the main gate with timber material bought to renovate the University yogurt factory. The unrest at Roma Campus went till Tuesday the 16th August 2016. On the afternoon of Tuesday Management addressed the Student Body and urged them to return to classes.
“When the unrest started on Monday Management met the Student Representative Council who informed Management that they were not involved in organizing the unrest. Management further summoned the said Thienyane who confirmed that he convened the unauthorized Friday 12th August meeting that triggered subsequent events. Thienyane further voluntarily furnished the Management with the statement with which he called the unauthorized meeting. He informed Management that he called the meeting because he was campaigning for the SRC elections. In the discharge of its duty to maintain good order Management excluded Thienyane from University property while investigations possibly leading to disciplinary or criminal action are underway.
It has since been established that the said Makhaola Thienyane is not registered and he therefore does not have bona fides of whatever kind to convene a meeting of students on campus or to campaign for SRC elections which are not even underway. It has also transpired that Thienyane having failed his year of study can only come to campus as a repeating student. As a repeating student he is not even entitled to an NMDS bursary and therefore cannot pretend to be one of those aggrieved by the delay in NMDS processes
For a number of years it has been a practice that individuals within the Student Body eager to draw attention to themselves for election purposes use NMDS payment of students’ stipends as a campaign ploy. Almost every year in the months leading to SRC elections the tactic of disrupting the normal order and the destruction of University and public property is deployed to effective use to project those orchestrating it as heroes who have the capacity to fight for students’ rights and entitlements. Once these anarchist tactics have successfully duped gullible students and delivered their sponsors to office, the circumstances of members of the Student Body often cease to be the priority.
The University Management is truly concerned about the timing of the release of NMDS stipends to students. We are fully alive to the fact that in the present circumstances of Lesotho many of the students come from poverty-stricken families which render their sponsorships their only means of livelihood. The University will continue to work with the NMDS for a more expedient system of payment of students stipends.
As of present, there are standing protocols and practices between the University and NMDS. We note that as and when Makhaola Thienyane convened his incitement meeting, it was ahead of the normal time NMDS stipends are per these protocols paid to the freshmen, not to mention returning students who are normally paid a little later.
The University Management can no longer tolerate the emerging culture of disruption of order and destruction of property as a passport to student leadership. Those who prey on the gullibility of other students in this manner will surely be punished. As an institution we have committed ourselves to “nurturing thought leaders” from whom the future of Basotho and Lesotho can be entrusted.
We unreservedly apologize to the staff, students and the entire University community for the uncalled for behavior and call upon all to continue to focus on the great task at hand of rebuilding this historic institution to glory.
‘Mamosa Moteetee (Mrs.)
Communications and Marketing
National University of Lesotho
P.O Roma 180. Lesotho.
Tel: +266 22340601/
Direct: +266 22340369/52213796