BUSHENYI – Residents and stakeholders in Bumbaire sub-county, Igara East, Bushenyi district are in a heated disagreement over the governance of the newly obtained Kabushaho Seed School project even before construction is complete.
The stakeholders are disagreeing over what they call illegal appointment of the members of the Board of Governors (BOG) and teachers at the Church of Uganda, West Ankole diocese founded school.
This comes at a time when the government has revamped the seed school by handing over new classroom blocks, a science laboratory and modern toilets worth Shs 2 billion.
This is part of the campaign by the government to improve the quality of education in seed schools since the beginning of the year 2020.
Similar projects were extended to districts of Buhweju, Sheema, Rubirizi and Mbarara among others that have benefited from the school program.
The disagreements have raged on with the most recent development being a petition written to the Bishop of West Ankole Diocese, Rt. Rev Johnson Twinomujuni by stakeholders, who are against the proposed appointment of any of the former board members on the new board.
The charged group has also cited loopholes in staff appointments, calling for action from higher authorities.
According to the petition seen by theCooperator, the petitioners hold that the six-member board comprises of individuals whose integrity does not measure up to the required standard and should therefore be barred from being appointed to manage the school.
“These individuals lack the requisite integrity and engaged in unethical conduct regarding the affairs of Kabushaho Seed Secondary School when they were board members before the government took over the school as a seed school and the same unethical behaviour continued during the selection of the teaching and non-teaching staff,” the petition dated 18th August 2021 reads in part.
The petitioners accuse the outgoing acting headteacher, Mr Edison Tugume of submitting his name for appointment when he is on the payroll of another government school, Karungu Seed Secondary School in Buhweju district.
Our investigative desk understands that the stakeholders have previously complained to the Ministry of Education and Sports about the selection of teaching and non-teaching staffs at the school.
They have also copied Col. Edith Nakalema, the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit asking her to investigate cases of corruption and abuse of office at the school.
According to Mr. David Kakama, the Bumbaire sub-county councillor and chairperson of Education and Social Services Committee, Bushenyi district, a committee from the district carried out investigations and found that most of the applicants submitted to the ministry for interviews and later appointments were relatives of the headteacher.
We could, however, not verify the authenticity of this allegation.
“Some of the staff members are his siblings while others are wives to the siblings. The district committee even visited the school to make more investigations and the headteacher himself admitted that they were his relatives, but said they had initially been at the school,” said Mr Kakama.
“The appointment of these people from the previous board contravenes the law because they have served beyond the recommended time. They should have served three years and left for others to do the work. Also, that very board was taken to court because it made appointments when it’s time had expired already. So, it is illegal having them come back to work. The government and the diocese, which is the foundation body that even provided land for the school to be built, should in the public interest pave way for selection of new members,” Mr. Kakama said.
When contacted, Mr Edison noted that the complainants have other hidden motives aimed at tarnishing his name and that of the school.
On staff recruitment, Mr Tugume said that the recruitment exercise was guided by the policy.
“We followed the recruitment policy which required that we appoint staff that have been on the school. Besides that, we have not had any parent or teacher complaining. Those individuals are just tarnishing our name,” he explained.
Call for action
Given the flow of events at Kabushaho, the stakeholders want the outgoing board replaced with other people who will serve interests of the school and community, not “championing their own” individual interests.
“Instead of having people who want to front their interests, why doesn’t the church or diocese nominate other members who have the school at heart without having to take bribes. We have good people who can come in and do the work effectively. That board should be replaced in public interest,” Mr Kakama noted.
Rev Bernard Mushabe, the Education Secretary, West Ankole Diocese, who said he was yet to know about the petition, treated the matter as unfortunate saying that they thought the school was progressing well.
“I am getting the news of the petition from you because they did not give me a copy. It would be better for me to first get enough information and give a comment. But it would be unfortunate that after we have obtained such a benefit, there are some people complaining. In the beginning, the Kabushaho issue had many people with different interests, who we thought were good,” he said.
Located in Kabushaho cell, Bumbaire sub-county, Bushenyi district, Kabushaho Seed Secondary School was founded as a pure girls’ school by West Ankole Diocese in 1985. It suffered the politics of the time and collapsed, but got a provisional license to run as a community school in 2010.
In 2017, after the government of Uganda took over the school and turned it into a government seed school in the area, West Ankole Diocese, which was also the lawful proprietor of the land offered approximately five acres for construction of Shs 2.3 billion structures comprising of two class room blocks, ICT block, administration block, library, science laboratory, three staff houses, and a playground.
It was agreed through the Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) that the government of Uganda shall be responsible for all the administrative roles of the school and it shall be managed and run-in accordance with the laws of Uganda regarding government schools.
The school has an enrolment of 302 students and 25 teaching and non- teaching staff.
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