Another chapter turned in the history of the University of Liberia on Wednesday when students of the state-owned institution turned to each other’s throat as they inched closer to holding another election later this week.
One of the contending parties, the Student Coalition for Change said it will not allow the debate to go ahead unless the administration clears its candidate for the post of Student Representative to the University Council, Gabriel Saydee.
The Elections Commission had disqualified Mr. Saydee on grounds that he did not meet the necessary academic benchmarks to be a candidate in the ensuing student government elections. But Saydee supporters contend that members of the Student Unification Party must have manipulated the process leading to the denial of Saydee.
Saydee, a student of Geology said he is qualified for the process but said the administration had interest in the process.
The stalemate continued for most of Wednesday with the contending party holding on to the main auditorium where the debate should have taken place until members of the Student Unification party stormed the venue to in their words break the standoff which lasted more than four hours.
One student believed to be supporter of the Saydee was seen bleeding profusely after the stalemate had been broken and Mr. Saydee whisks away.
No official of the University of Liberia was prepared to speak on the matter as the Associate Vice President for UL Relations Dr. S. Momolu Gaytaweh said only that the University President Dr. Emmett Dennis could speak on the subject under discussion.
The University of Liberia since its formation in 1951 has been a major source of agitation in the country. Students are either at each other’s throat or engage in tussle with state authorities on the administration of the country. The latest incident will no doubt trigger intense debate as yet another student elections comes into play.
Students at the University had bitter engagement with the government of William Tolbert over the exclusion of some members of the population for the decision making process of the society.
When Samuel Doe took over in 1980, student again challenged the regime over corruption and dictatorship leading to the imprisonment of more than five student leaders at the notorious Belle Yalla prison and some students lost their lives in university politics including Momolu Lavela and Tonia Richardson.
Students suffered some of the worse form of attacks under administration of now detained war crime suspect Charles Taylor with more than 20 students fleeing into exile after persistent witch hunting on the part of the regime.
While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability – Bernard Gbayee Goah