The Role of Student Unions/Bodies in Sierra Leone

By Mohamed Fadlu Bah

All over the world the purpose of student union is to represent the student body of a particular university and make their voices heard within and outside the university.

The union addresses wide range of issues that benefit students, and because of that most governments and university authorities in Africa tend to either ban the student union body or not allow their elections to take place.

In the case of Fourah Bay College for over decades elections have been cancelled because students stone each other during campaigns. The violence is most times caused by the camp that senses the defeat of their candidate.

It is important to note that the usual thing is that just throwing stones makes for the elections to be cancelled, and because of that, students take the opportunity to throw stones when there is a campaign so the elections could be cancelled

It is not worth for the ministry to ban the elections of students just because few students who do not want the elections to hold. They are expected to beef up security so as to help the elections to hold.

For most people the issue is that they have witnessed in this country much political violence by stoning, stabbing, killings, burning of vehicles and houses etc. during and after the national elections and even at bye-elections but there has never been a cancellation of those violent elections

Is it that students bodies of Fourah Bay College are no more formidable to peacefully tell the authorities concerned that it is their right to be governed by a student body that will work towards their concerns, or is it that the student has compromise their right because of their political affiliation or there political attachments has washed away their true spirit of selflessness

At this juncture it is important to note that the violence perpetrated at national politics by far outweighs that of student politics in every form.

How can the central government not able to give security to six or twelve thousand students in an election but can do so when it comes to national politics that involves the entire countries population.

Is it that both past and present government and university administrations have special interest as not to allow these elections to take place, as asserted by some students to this medium?

Foday Kamara a student of the political science department of Fourah Bay College said to what they have observed both government and the university do not want these elections to take place because they don’t want a formidable student union body which will hold them accountable on many issues ranging from tuition fees, accommodation, welfare and many other things that are not accounted for.

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