Campus – based Students Unification Party (SUP) Standard Bearer Martin Kollie has accused the Government of Liberia of allegedly interfering with students’ politics here.SUP is one of the student political parties at the state – run University of Liberia (UL).
Mr. Kollie told a local broadcaster in Monrovia Wednesday, 9 January that the Liberia National Students Union (LINSU), for instance, has turned in favor of the government instead of working as an independent student body.
He announces plan to launch a parallel umbrella student body over claims that LINSU is being manipulated by the ruling establishment.Mr. Kollie requests government officials to stop interfering with students politics and focus on national issues.
“Those Ministers have bought the LINSU, STUDA, and SIM over. But they will not buy SUP over because in no part of the world the student body is part of the National Government,” he warns.
He believes that due to their critical stance against the ruling establishment, LINSU is pressured to call for elections at various universities and schools.Mr. Kollie expressed concern that President George Manneh Weah’s pronouncement of free tuition at UL and all public universities and colleges is affecting UL.
He says fees that were initially collected from students were used to contribute to buying of stationeries, fuelling the buses to transport instructors to school and address other matters.But he observed that the President’s declaration has cut off these collections and government is yet to fill in the gap.
He further notices that during former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s regime, UL’s budget was at US$16.2m, but the Weah administration has not gone beyond this amount despite suggestions that more money is needed to facilitate the provision of quality education at UL.
Due monetary situation, he says UL’s two campuses are going through challenges, saying teachers are now paying their own transportation.According to him, bathrooms on the campuses are always closed because there is no money to buy water.
He urges President Weah to live by his words by paying the tuition to help the various public universities.Meanwhile, LINSU executives are calling on various academic institutions across the country, particularly the Stella Maris Polytechnic University for the reintroduction of students’ politics.
“By Directive of LINSU Executive Committee all universities and colleges as well as high schools in the country are hereby mandated to peacefully conduct smooth and democratic election on their various campuses in the [next] sixty days,” LINSU says.
LINSU issued the mandate recently at the AME Zion University on Benson Street.LINSU says failure on the part of any institution to abide by the mandate, LINSU will not hesitate to suspend the member institution. But SUP sees this as being masterminded by government.It says the decision of the Stella Maris Polytechnic University to close student politics has the ability to undermine students’ learning process, especially those that are studying political science.
By Ethel A. Tweh & Lewis S. Teh–Edited by Winston W. Parley