The leading student political party on the campuses of the University of Liberia (UL), the Student Unification Party (SUP), yesterday accused the Liberian government for its "continued interference in students' affairs in the country" and therefore has called on all of its members and sympathizers to stop doing business with the Liberia National Students Union (LINSU).
The Student Unification Party (SUP), under the chairmanship of Carlos Tingba Edison, said going forward, LINSU is no more the mother student organization they have known over the years and, as such, it is time for the public to know that the government has tampered with the sanctity of its existence.
"Fellow Liberians and conscious students across our Republic, yesterday we listened to one of the auxiliaries of the CDC Youth Wing calling itself LINSU. The Liberia National Student Union (LINSU) that we knew is no more and we call on all students from high schools and institutions of higher learning to give no credence or recognition to any pro-regime LINSU, because those claiming to be 'leaders' of LINSU are puppets... " who care more about "what goes in their deep pockets from the new ruling clique' rather than what affects the generality of the suffering masses in the country.
"When last have they spoken on any serious issue affecting students and Liberians in general? This CDC LINSU cannot represent us," he said.
Edison said the University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU), as the largest constituent member of LINSU, does not recognize the current leadership of LINSU because it is a "dubious" arrangement.
He announced that in the interim, a parallel national student body, styled as the "Liberia National Conscious Student Union (LINCSU)", will steer the affairs of students across the country until official elections are held and a new leadership is given birth.
"Therefore, we now officially announce the establishment of a parallel organization named "The Liberia National Conscious Student Union (LINCSU)", which will now represent the full interest of all students across Liberia.
The full leadership structure for various counties, high schools, and universities/colleges will be released shortly," he assured.
The SUP chairman called on all international and national partners, including local and international NGOs (non-governmental organizations) not to do any business with those who repeatedly referred to in his press statement as a CDC LINSU on grounds that majority of Liberian students do not recognize it due to its "dubious" and "sycophantic" nature.
"We shall enviously safeguard this cherished legacy upon which we have a bonding commitment never to compromise or fall prey to any form of intimidation or inducement from fifth columnists, corporate thieves, petite crooks, and pro-regime capitalists," he said.
The student leader said since October 1970, history has bestowed upon his political party (SUP) a compelling and nationalistic obligation to always remain the moral compass and fountain of consciousness throughout the country.
Edison said he and his colleagues hold this sacred mission in high esteem.
"With this resilient sense of unhindered patriotism, which continues to drive our collective inspiration and aspiration for a new Liberia, we shall remain in this pursuit of social justice, academic freedom, and peace, regardless of what regime is in control of our country," he promised.
According to him, the election of SUP's immediate former secretary general, Martin K.N. Kollie, to the post of standard bearer of the party to participate in ULSU's pending convention or election appears to be threatening the CDC-led government, since Kollie will take a step further in his student leadership role to challenge the government's bad practices.
Kollie is a student, youth activist and columnist who, over the years, has stood firm and challenged the government of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for failing to deliver on its promises of good health facilities, good schools, among others. He is on record as one of the organizers of a rally in demand of the alleged missing L$15 billion.
"There is an ongoing conspiracy to undermine his leadership and we call on all students to stand with, and by us, in times like these." Edison said.
"Except SUP, the government has succeeded in pocketing almost all independent youth and student organizations in the country. SUP remains the last hope and this we must stand to defend against recruitment to national crooks' politics," he said.
Earlier on Monday, January 7, LINSU held a press conference debunking SUP's claim that it (LINSU) has become a stooge for the government to address other issues, including the need for the government to strengthen the justice system and prosecute perpetrators of heinous crimes against others.
In its press statement, LINSU president Mohammed Kamara said: "LINSU was created by a national Legislative Act on January 25, 1957, to serve as the mother student organization for all other student organizations and groupings in the country and is charged with the mandate to seek redress when the rights of students are trampled on."
Kamara said by directive of the national executive committee of LINSU, all universities, colleges, as well as high schools are under that mandate to elect their campuses' leadership before the expiration of sixty days, beginning the day of the press conference.
He said failure on the part of any university, college or high school to conduct its student leadership election, will lead to the suspension of its membership from LINSU.
"LINSU calls on the administration of Stella Maris Polytechnic to stop organizing student programs and to give a chance to all students' representative councils to conduct their own affairs," he admonished.
Meanwhile, Edison said it has come to his knowledge that the government is sponsoring what he called a renegade group to stage demonstrations on the campuses of the UL in the name of calling for ULSU's election but that plan will be repelled by his student political bureau.
"It can be recalled that SUP has been consistently calling on the administration to conduct popular democratic elections since 2013. Sadly, every effort in this regard has failed.
About attacks recently waged against media institutions and practitioners by some government officials of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) regime, SUP said it is a sad experience and a total contradiction on the part of the regime, which over its 12 years as the opposition condemned violence against the media and free speech in general.
He said SUP believes that the media must operate in a free and flexible space void of intimidation and harassment and that it (SUP) will stand with the media any day, anyhow, and anywhere. "We assure all journalists of our fullest support during these very difficult times."
He announced that SUP will hold a mass rally on Friday, January 11, 2019, and the onus is on all militants, ideologues, students, solidarity forces, and its sympathizers to turn out en masse in order to remind the government of the need to stop meddling in student affairs wrongfully.
David S. Menjor