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NUL student leader faces suspension

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

STUDENT leader Thabang Rapapa faces suspension from the National University of Lesotho (NUL) for “instigating and inciting” riots at the main campus on Tuesday and Wednesday.

NUL students rioted over two days to protest the delay in the disbursement of their allowances by the university management and the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS).

The student unrest came just two weeks after the start of the 2018/2019 academic year.

The NUL management subsequently fingered Mr Rapapa as one of the student leaders behind the protests.

The NUL management wrote to Mr Rapapa on Wednesday and asked him to write to the Vice Chancellor, Nqosa Mahao, and ‘show cause’ why he cannot be suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.

“The office of the Vice Chancellor has a report to the effect that you instigated and incited the unlawful students’ riots which commenced on 21 August 2018 and continued on 22 August,” the NUL management states in its letter to Mr Rapapa.

“The said riots have resulted in obstruction, frustration or disruption of classes, damage to university property and has generally caused public disorder on campus and along the Roma public road next to the campus. These acts constitute misconduct in the General Regulations for Students’ Discipline.

“You are invited to show cause in writing why you cannot be suspended from the university pending the institution of disciplinary proceedings against you as an endeavour by the university management to restore law and order among the students.”

Mr Rapapa recently told the Sunday Express that he wrote to Professor Mahao and denied the allegations against him.

“I told him (Professor Mahao) that there was no way I could have instigated the strike because I was not even in the campus on the days of the disturbance,” Mr Rapapa said.

Last Wednesday the NUL management said it had launched an investigation to bring to book those responsible for the student unrest at the main campus in Roma.

In an official statement released on Wednesday, the management said preliminary findings indicated that some of those who participated in the protest were not students at the institution.

“The NUL management wants the public to know that the orchestrated anarchy which started on the 21st of August was not because the NMDS had delayed in the release of the funds. It was rather organised by anarchists, some of whom are not students.

“The university management wishes to assure the public that those who are behind this chaos will be hauled before the disciplinary processes of the university.

“The university management is extremely concerned about a culture of anarchy that seems to embed itself into normal practice during the beginning of every academic year. To pre-empt this disruptive pattern, the university management already addressed the student body on Wednesday 15 August and assured them that working together with NMDS and the SRC, student allowances will be released within the contracted 21 days period,” the NUL management said in its statement.

The students have since resumed their studies on Thursday.

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