We won’t be used by politicians – Nanso

Home National We won’t be used by politicians – Nanso

WINDHOEK – Despite widespread speculation that the Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) is driven by political ambitions at the expense of students’ interest, the student body’s leadership has dismissed such claims saying they reject being used by politicians to achieve any of their narrow ulterior motives.

“We reject to be used for political expediency. Nanso remains apolitical and under the current national executive committee it shall remain as such because we receive our mandate from the students and learners, and our only highest guiding bible is our constitution,” said Nanso president Ester Simon in her opening remarks for the 2019 academic year last week.

She said Nanso is aware that again this year resources have been mobilised and gathered to advance the political ambitions of politicians and influencers to lead “uninformed and illegitimate campaigns”. 

“We remain resolute in that history will absolve us and remember us as the generation of Nanso that refused to sell the organisation to university owners and politicians to achieve ulterior motives, using genuine student issues to secure leadership positions, jobs and study opportunities,” she noted.

Nanso leadership calls upon its members never to be used, cautioning “own yourself and your thoughts because at the end of the day, you are only left with your conscience”.

Nanso says there is a need to teach young people the principles of loyalty, discipline, hard work and commitment to achieve anything. 

She vowed that if the Nanso national executive committee has to suffer and be persecuted for not selling the organisation and for owning themselves, then so be it.

Nanso says its engagement and relationship with society, stakeholders, government and non-governmental agencies has often been misunderstood as the leadership being influenced and infiltrated by external forces. 
“We categorically put in on record today that the Nanso leadership has refused to be used in the fights for resources and power within the higher education fraternity,” she remarked.  

She says this follows student leaders and members having failed with their coordinated campaigns and attempts to discredit and undermine the leadership of Nanso, through various forms, such as fabricating false corruption charges against the leadership and attempts to lead illegitimate campaigns using student issues.  Nanso informed its members, structures and society that again this year they remain firm on the principle that the organisation is not for sale and they won’t be used as proxies to fight political and personal battles of individuals and factions.  

For that reason, she warned their members, structures and branches, that they should not mix their political views with organisational affairs and student issues. She warned that whoever will be found doing so will be dealt with according to Nanso’s disciplinary policy and code of conduct. 

According to her, the organisation has further succeeded in advocating students’ funding, saying this is demonstrated by negotiations between Nanso and government at the beginning of the year whereafter N$150 million was allocated to institutions.  

Equally, she noted that Nanso and student representative councils in September further negotiated with the government to bail out students, which resulted in government allocating a further N$159 million to the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) to settle 80 percent of boarding students’ accommodation and 100 percent towards tuition fees.   
She said this has always been in line with their sustained point of advocacy, which is access to higher education for the poor and marginalised section of society. 

The organisation, she says, has further been following the development of the new education bill, and participated in regional education forums and several other programmes with non-governmental organisations.

Furthermore, she says 2019 will be a festival of more organisational building, education policy proposals, community campaigns and campus-related work. “These efforts, we believe, are the best strategy to better advance and represent student issues and interests,” she added. 

Nanso promised to continue monitoring the state of education in Namibia and continue to engage both education ministries with the purpose to share policy proposals and perspectives on the transformation of higher education that will ensure a responsive, effective, efficient, functional and world-class education system.