MASERU — National University of Lesotho (NUL) students have threatened to go on strike this week if the police officer who fatally shot their colleague during last October’s riots is not arrested.
NUL student leaders told the Sunday Express yesterday they had waited long enough for justice to be done.
This comes amid revelations that a report into the investigations on the causes of the riots that left one student dead and scores of others injured will be released on Friday this week.
But the students say the arrest must be done by Wednesday, two days before the report on the riots is made public.
First year student Matséliso Thulo was killed on October 22 when police fired pellet bullets into a mob of students protesting the late disbursement of their grants at the campus.
The cause of death, according to a postmortem report, was a “gunshot wound with perforation of lung and heart.”
Student leaders yesterday said they were angry that the police were dithering on the arrest despite getting crucial information from students who witnessed Matséliso’s shooting.
Students’ Representative Council president, Caston Thaanyane said students had decided to go on strike to protest the delay in justice. Thaanyane said the students would not rest until the person who killed Matséliso is “brought to justice.”
“Students say they will carry on demonstrating until the police bring the person who killed Matséliso to justice,” Thaanyane said.
“Up until now, we are still awaiting the outcome of a Commission of Inquiry that was set-up by the university following the riots.
“But if we feel the commission has not done enough to see to the arrest of the person who killed Matséliso, then we will take to the streets.
“We will petition the police commissioner and request that the criminal be arrested,” he said, adding the students want the killer arrested as a matter of urgency.
NUL acting vice-chancellor, Professor Molati Sebatane, announced at Matséliso’s burial on November 7, the appointment of a commission to investigate what could have sparked the demonstrations.
Deputy Prime Minister Lesao Lehohla, who is also home affairs minister, also said investigations were underway to establish how Matséliso had died.
Matséliso’s father, Lesotho Correctional Service commissioner, Mojalefa Thulo, had also told mourners no effort would be spared in trying to bring his daughter’s killer to book.
But Thaanyane said the students believe the process is taking too long, hence their latest resolution.
Meanwhile, Thaanyane said students want the National Manpower Development Secretariat to pay their grants by Wednesday this week.
Thaanyane said the NMDS had failed to pay their second semester grants on Friday as promised.
“If we do not get our money by Wednesday, we are going on strike. It is amazing to note there is no improvement at Manpower even after the strike which ended in such tragic circumstances,” he said.
“We were supposed to have received our money yesterday (Friday). No one has said why the money has been delayed. Most of us desperately need that money for food and rent.
“Some students are from destitute households and they rely entirely on that money. Students say they cannot wait any longer for that money; they are prepared to demonstrate if they have to.”
There was no immediate comment from the NMDS.