High Court interdicts NUL students’ leader’s suspension

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

THE High Court has ordered the National University of Lesotho (NUL) management to allow student leader, Thabang Rapapa, to attend classes pending his hearing.

This week Mr Rapapa entered the university premises for the first time in three weeks since his suspension after his lawyer successfully acquired a High Court order for the university management to lift his (Mr Rapapa) ban pending the hearing.

Mr Rapapa was three weeks ago suspended for allegedly inciting students into rioting at the institution and requested him to show cause why he could not be suspended from his studies.

NUL students rioted for two days last month protesting over the delayed disbursement of their allowances by the university management and the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS).

Mr Rapapa refuted the allegations but was nonetheless suspended after failing to convince the NUL Vice Chancellor, Nqosa Mahao’s office why he should not be suspended.

After the suspension, Mr Rapapa was banned from entering the university premises or having access to its facilities pending his hearing.

In an interview with the Lesotho Times this week, Mr Rapapa said he was relieved that the High Court had ordered the university to lift the ban so that he could catch up on his school work.

“I am happy that my lawyer secured the court order for the management to let me back at school,” Mr Rapapa said.

I was idle for three weeks and a few days. I have a lot of catching up to do on my school work. I missed assignments, tests and lectures. I was academically prejudiced.”

The NUL management has since set the 28th of this month as the date for Mr Rapapa’s disciplinary hearing.

In a charge sheet dated 13 September 2018, the NUL senior management charged Mr Rapapa with misconduct for contravening the NUL General Regulations on discipline.

“You, Thabang Rapapa (2001503003) a male student of the National University of Lesotho, are charged with committing a misconduct by contravention of the General Regulations on discipline as started in the NUL Student Handbook,” the charge sheet reads.

“It is alleged that on or about the 21st August 2018, by use of social media, you unlawfully incited the NUL Student Union to go on an unlawful and unauthorised demonstration on campus, thereby causing public disorder and or disruption, obstruction and frustration of classes. By this act, you contravened Regulation 16.1.15 (e) (i) of the General Regulation on Discipline.”

“You are hereby called upon to appear before the Senate Committee on Discipline on the 28th September 2018 at 9am to fully answer to the aforementioned charge.

“Please note that if you do not make an appearance as aforesaid, an adverse decision may be taken against you. You are further reminded that you have every right to engage a legal representative (a person who is a student or staff of the NUL) should you wish to do so,” said the charge sheet.

A group of fellow students who feel the suspension was uncalled for last month petitioned Professor Mahao to revoke the suspension.

Mr Rapapa also maintains that he had nothing to do with the students riots.

Mr Rapapa refuted the claims that he used social media to mobilise the students to embark onto a strike.

“For lack of a softer word they (NUL management) are lying. I have never used any social media channel to instigate the students’ riots. I bet they will fail to produce proof because I have never done any of the things that they are accusing me off,” Mr Rapapa said.

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