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NUL students’ leader suspended

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

THE National University of Lesotho (NUL) has suspended student leader Thabang Rapapa indefinitely for allegedly instigating and inciting riots at the main campus a fortnight ago.

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

The NUL management accused Mr Rapapa of masterminding the students’ unrest and requested him to explain why he could not be suspended from his studies.

Mr Rapapa, who denied having anything to do with the students’ riot wrote to the NUL Vice Chancellor, Nqosa Mahao’s office, and refuted the allegations on the 23rd of this month but failed to convince Professor Mahao’s office resulting in his suspension pending a hearing.

The Vice Chancellor’s office accused Mr Rapapa of failing to make “representations whatsoever why you cannot be suspended is acknowledged”.

“In an effort to restore and maintain law and order on campus, you are suspended from the university pending institution and finalisation of disciplinary proceedings against you,” part of the letter from Prof Mahao’s office reads.

“Your suspension is pursuant to the powers vested in the office of the Vice Chancellor under section 16(7) and (8) of the NUL Act No 19 of 1992.

“Your suspension is effective immediately and you are expected to vacate the campus by 1700hrs on the 27th August 2018. You are suspended form your studies and physical presence in any of the university premises or facilities.

“By copy of this letter, the Director of Security is directed to ensure that you vacate the university premises as herein directed and that you do not enter expect for purposes of attending your disciplinary hearing when you have a written permission of the of the Vice Chancellor.”

Mr Rapapa told the Sunday Express on Friday that the NUL management is yet to alert him on the hearing date.

Meanwhile, NUL students who feel Mr Rapapa’s suspension was uncalled for have petitioned Professor Mahao to revoke the decision.

In a letter submitted to Professor Mahao’s office on Wednesday, the students defended Mr Rapapa saying he had nothing to do with the unrest two weeks ago.

“This is to petition the Vice Chancellor of the National University of Lesotho on his decision to suspend one of our members from the university and all its premises or facilities. We therefore engage in this petition as members of the student union to condemn the Vice Chancellor’s decision of suspending Thabang Rapapa from the university,” the students’ petition.

“The rationale of this petition is to put to the office of the Vice Chancellor that Thabang Rapapa did not instigate and or incite[d] students’ riots which commenced on the 21st August and 22nd August 2018. Furthermore, Thabang Rapapa is a student without any charismatic qualities that the entire student’s union would listen to him and comply with his command so easily when there are people bestowed with such prerogatives such as the members of the Student Representative Council.

“We demand an immediate reinstatement of Thabang Rapapa so he can continue with his academic work. In addition, we believe that it is the interest and willingness of the university to provide anyone accused of frustrating, obstructing or destructing the university normal functions and activities a fair trial for no one is guilty until proven so,” the student’s letter reads.





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