HUYE — Days after authorities at the National University of Rwanda (NUR) suspended guild elections, and disbanded the electoral body, authorities have dissolved the entire students’ leadership.
A press release issued by the University authorities indicates that only class representatives will remain temporarily in office until fresh elections are held in May this year.
The university authorities also nullified all elections done at Faculty and Department levels citing a number of factors that included, ethnic divisionism, rigging, blackmail, negative alliance to win the elections and Genocide ideology during the campaign trail last month.
According to the University Rector Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, the decision to dissolve the entire students’ leadership was part of the recommendations of an investigation commissioned to dig up the irregularities.
The release reads in part, "Following the meetings with the students’ general assembly and students leadership on March 25 and April 22, 2008 respectively and on the basis of the recommendations of the investigation conducted at NUR…all student representatives (old and new) at Executive, Faculty and Department levels are hereby dissolved at NUR with immediate effect."
According to the release the Dean of students will take up all necessary administrative measures for smooth continuation of students’ activities. The Deans of Faculties, Directors of Schools and Heads of Departments will handle academic issues until new proposed measures are communicated early May.
However, dissolving the entire students’ leadership has attracted mixed reactions from the student’s community.
For Joseph Birimoyezu, a student from the school of Journalism, the decision will affect the working of other associations affiliated to students’ leadership body.
"I don’t know why our leaders were sacked. Their sacking will greatly affect the operations of other student associations because of the vacuum that has been created," he said.
Alexander Kayitare, another student said that the university should have sought advice from the varsity’s Centre for Conflict Management (CCM) so as to make informed decisions.
"There are allegations of Genocide ideology prevalent at the university but no research to the best of my knowledge has been conducted on the issue by centres like CCM. This is what the university ought to have done other than relying on rumours," Kayitare said.
For Geoffrey Gasasira, the former President of the defunct executive guild committee, the decision was a welcome move.
"Relieving us of our duties is timely because it paves way for the organisation of the elections of a new student leadership. We had already completed our term and this decision clears the air on what has been wrongly perceived as a desire to cling to power by the old executive committee," said Gasasira.
Efforts to talk to the Dean of Students were futile as he could not answer his mobile phone.