Varsity students appeal to PM

MASERU — Limkokwing University students want Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili to intervene and help solve their dispute with the varsity’s management.

The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) wrote to Mosisili last week asking him to intervene in the dispute that triggered violent protests at the campus last week.

The four-page letter, which is riddled with incoherent sentences and grammatical errors, was written by SRC secretary-general Setloke Lekhela.

It was handed to Mosisili’s office this week.

It was however not possible to ascertain what decision the prime minister’s office had made on the request.

In the letter Lekhela tells Mosisili that the strike was a desperate measure by students to pressure the management to address their concerns.

Lekhela said the students would not resume classes until four senior managers were fired.

The four are deputy registrar Moroka Hoohlo, corporate secretary Tefo Macheli, head of academics Mpapa Seme and students’ service manager ‘Malesemelo Sefotho. 

“Because of the prevailing situation students say (they) will not return to school until the mentioned people are released of their duties from the university,” Lekhela said in the letter whose sections are at times difficult to understand because of the jumbled syntax.

“We still hope there are some of the people in the senior management who can run the institute rather than this ones who are recommended not doing so well for the future of Basotho and Lesotho (sic).”

Protests started last week after the management expelled SRC president, Moeketsi Pholo, for allegedly disrupting examinations.

This is the second strike at Limkokwing University in two months.

In October the students also refused to attend classes claiming management had refused to deal with their grievances.

They complained that the university had failed to provide internet connection for students.

They also accused the university management of hiring “unqualified” lecturers.

Last Monday police shot and injured seven students and two female security guards as the protests turned violent.

A police officer was also injured.

The students allegedly damaged university buildings and smashed cars belonging to staff members.

A police vehicle also had its windscreen damaged as the angry students went on the rampage.

After the clashes police arrested 32 students and charged 21 for allegedly holding an illegal meeting.

The students were however released on free bail a day after their arrest.

In a statement last week, Education Minister ‘Mamphono Khaketla said the students would not get their monthly allowances from the government unless they resumed lectures.

Lekhela told Mosisili that efforts to resolve the dispute had reached a “deadlock”.

He said the management had “kept promising and not fulfilling their promises”. 

“We are the future of this country and the majority of us are members of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy and we wish it well but it seems as if someone want to sabotage or jeopardise us with the failure in the next coming elections (sic).”

The letter describes Hoohlo, Macheli, Seme and Sefotho as “threats” to the university.

“Moroka Hoohlo and his management are failing dismally to provide quality or even standard or basic education to students (sic).”

“Few months before first highly anticipated graduations, almost nothing of the following has been met though they form core requirement for on Institution of this magnitude (sic).”

Lekhela said some students had been victimised for protesting against the poor service delivery at the university.

He said Hoohlo “failed to take charge and make positive supreme decisions that could have prevented many accidents pertaining to the students’ grievances”.

Macheli, he said, “failed to advice (sic) the management towards positive direction and development hence buying into the down draining of the university”.

Seme was being used as a “perfect tool” to victimise students.

Seme is also a member of the university’s disciplinary committee.

Sefotho “has made herself enemy for students for her actions and vocalist for the malicious management tricks,” Lekhela claims.

Lekhela also accused Khaketla of being biased against the students.

He said Khaketla had failed to resolve the students’ grievances when they went on strike in October.

“Following your meeting on October strike which was not fruitful and the speech you released on 24 November 2010 which does not have transparencies as we have mentioned that some of the contents are not truth. We truly request you to intervene with a hope to better Limkokwing University not to add salt to an open wound (sic).”

Khaketla’s allegations that Pholo disrupted examinations were false, Lekhela said in the letter.

“We would like to assure you that the quoted statement above is the defamation of character,” the petition said.

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