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Politicians urged to Hands off FBC Politics
By Sayoh Kamara
Jun 25, 2009, 17:08
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As students of Fourah Bay College patiently await the release of the official date for the holding of the election that would usher in a new president to steer the state of affairs of students in the next academic year, allegations suggesting that certain members of the present government are seriously engaged with a select group of students on campus with the aim of manipulating the elections in their favor have started surfacing.

Students from the Black Family on FBC campus have expressed "serious concerns" over what they claim to be "the direct interference of certain members of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party in the politics of FBC students." They further claim that these politicians are so neck-dipped in their surreptitious plans that their rivals, the White man Camp are using this disadvantage ploy to win to their side the votes of unsuspecting first year students.

Hon. Minkailu Turay, Minister of Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations and Hon. Minkailu Bah, Minister of Education, Science and Technology have been named as master minders of the suspected manipulation schemes of the FBC student union election."

"Both men have been seen in close liaison with the Whiteman camp members at different times and in different locations around Freetown," Kadiatu Thullah of the Peace and Conflict Department disclosed, therefore insinuating that these Ministers could not be in such liaison with members of the Whiteman camp if not for the purpose of rigging the forthcoming student union election.

"This is unfair," notes Sahr Kendema, a student of the Political Science Department, adding, "Students election has nothing to do with national politics. As a matter of fact were all supposed to be treated by these politicians as their sons and daughters for which we should all be treated equally. For some to be treated more importantly than others to the extent of disadvantaging the unsupported ones is morally unjust and politically inexpedient," Kendema stated. He said it would be good for the APC to ensure that its members, irrespective of their rank within the party, are advised to hands off the FBC politics.

According to Edward Turay Jnr., son of the Majority Leader in Parliament, Hon. Edward Turay, the notion that all the members of the Blackman family are sympathetic to the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) is "unfounded, baseless and deceptive to the very SLPP", noting that there are as much APC supporters in the Blackman family as there are of SLPP supporters. He went on to make this eulogy:

"The Blackman family is a conglomeration of all shades of opinions, inclusive of tribal, political and regional leanings. We are not connected to any political party, and we are not representing any political ideology other than our familys ideology of love for one another, togetherness, and discipline, and academic excellence, maximization of students welfare and the overall socio-infrastructural development of Fourah Bay College. Erroneously aligning us with any political party in my opinion is a disservice to the realization of the felt needs of the students of Fourah Bay College, which the Blackman family is so desirous of addressing," Edward Turay junior said.

Moses Kanu of the Social Science Department alleged that it was this same kind of interference by some administration officials and government in last years elections processes that resulted in the disturbances on campus because the students their votes did not reflect the result that was announced.

"Let the politicians leave us alone to chart our direction. The APC has a lot of outstanding issues of national concern to address which does not include students elections. They should be thinking about those issues now instead of indulging in ways activities that would divert the peoples attention from their deficiency," Kanu stated.

Isatu Kendema-Wai of the Engineering Department noted that she is optimistic that this years students election at the FBC would be violent-free. According to her, events of last years violence and its consequences still linger in the minds of students, and therefore would not want a repeat of it. She however called on politicians "to see reason and distance from students politics."

The results of last years FBC Student Union election which ushered the reign of Alhaji Komeh of the Whiteman camp was marred by violence following the announcement of the result. Observers of last years FBC election attributed the outbreak of violence in the aftermath of the election to "the frustration of students as a result of the unwarranted interference of people such as politicians in what was entirely a students affair."

A senior civil servant who spoke on anonymity expressed pessimism of the outbreak of similar incidents if politicians do not refrain themselves from the body-politic of student unionism.

"Once they are seen to be involved in the process they would not accede to any result that is not in their favor and that could be a recipe for violence," Mr. Sulaiman Sangarie noted.

However student factions on FBC campus including the Blacks and Whites were part of peace and reconciliation conference at the Mary Kingsley auditorium under the auspices of the outgoing students administration where it was resolved never to resort to violence as a means to an end for whatever grievances either of the factions may hold either against the colleges administration or either of the student groups.

A total of twenty-four students were rusticated last academic year by the FBC administration for allegedly participating in the violence that ensued after the Alhaji Komeh election.

It is hoped that this years election would be free from such political interferences, intrigues and manipulations so that FBC students would enjoy the sweetness of voting in someone they truly believe would represent their collective interests.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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