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SNUS HIJACKING OUR PROTESTS - STUDENTS

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MBABANE – Tertiary students in the country have accused their representative body, Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) of using them to push their own agenda.

It has reached this publication that some students have concerns that SNUS was no longer with them in their strife. Speaking to this publication, one of the students, who preferred to comment anonymously, said petitions delivered by SNUS were often not what they wanted as a student body. “SNUS is hijacking our protests and delivering their own petitions,” she alleged. The circulating claim is that, whenever the students resolved to protest, their leadership would appear to support their course, but hijack the exercise and deliver their own petitions. “We want to raise our concerns the same way we agreed during our meetings, as opposed to them coming and shutting us down,” said another student. The student claimed that SNUS members were obsessed with power and media attention.

Petition

She said sometimes, SNUS members would join the students and deliver a petition that was linked to the ongoing trial of the incarcerated Members of Parliaments (MPs) in Mduduzi Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube. “They align our institutional affairs with the ongoing political unrest,” she added. The student further mentioned that the SNUS members must now be called to order. This is because they claimed that some of them were aligned with the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO). About a week ago, SNUS petitioned the University of Eswatini (UNESWA) administration, after the rape incident of three students, where they raised security concerns. SNUS also released a statement stating that they would be leading the students to the Manzini Regional Police Headquarters, which the other students claimed was not part of the agenda.

Disappeared

“When the police closed in with their arms and shields, the SNUS members disappeared and cops dealt with the students,” said the source.  Another impeccable source said SNUS was supposed to attend protests only to support, not to change what the masses had resolved. He said if anyone changed the masses’ interests, then it would be wrong. “The SNUS members went to UNESWA, Mbabane, where the students were on their way to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to deliver their petition. However, SNUS members hijacked this exercise and delivered their petition as SNUS,” said the source. When reached for comment, SNUS President Colani Maseko, was not immediately available. Meanwhile, SNUS National Executive Council Legal Officer Vuyiswa Maseko said SNUS was run by different students from different institutions in the country.

Solution

Maseko said SNUS had branches in almost all the institutions of higher learning in the country, and whenever there were issues in a certain institution, the SNUS branch in that institution engaged with the student representative council (SRC) leadership of those institutions and found a solution. He explained that it was only when the branches found it difficult to neutralise the identified issues, that they invite the SNUS National Executive Council (NEC) leadership to assist in handling the situation. He further said SNUS acted organisationally and the leadership did not just budge in without having been thoroughly updated on the issues and heard what the students demanded. “I think it can only be a matter of misunderstanding that SNUS hijacks demonstrations and delivers its own petitions during demonstrations. SNUS has always worked hand-in-hand with its branches for informed action. SNUS has a good working relationship with all the institutions in the country,” he said.

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