GOMBA, Uganda: He is the Fountain of Honor, the First Citizen and the currently sole flag bearer of Uganda’s Vision. He is the Alfa and Omega of the dos and don’ts of the country’s entire citizenry and oh yes, he’s the Court of Last Opinion. His word is FINAL.
And it’s these powers that President Museveni exercised on January 8th 2010 at 4:00Pm at Kigezi trading center in Maddu, Gomba. On his way from visiting a friend, a one Kaitare’s farm, the son of Kaguta made a stopover in this trading center, particularly at an education facility called Queen’s College Maddu. Synonymous of him, the President patiently listened to the villagers’ issues at hand.
Upon listening, the fountain of honor declared to the community comprised of widows, widowers and stand-alone orphans that he would pen a full stop at their troubles. He was to pay for their children’s school dues at this particular school in the first place. “Education first,” he observed. He henceforth announced his government’ takeover of Queen’s College Maddu for the purpose.
Later, calculations were made and a figure of Shs340M, covering school fees for the intake at the time, was reached. Now that the First Citizen had directed, a follow-up on implementation of his word commenced. His then PPS, Grace Akello took over by communicating to the relevant authorities, the presidential decision. A sum of Shs40M was released and that seem to have closed the chapter.
After one year, the hitherto owner of the school, Nnalongo Jayne Kalumba penned a letter to the President. This is when parents had jammed to pay school fees and she had realized roadblocks were being mounted in the community’s efforts to own the school. “It is very difficult to maintain your students without school fees being forwarded to us in advance. Each student pays 340,000. We are in second term now and the students are all boarders,” she wrote.
Documents before us indicate that the process stagnated when, some officials in the Ministry of Education stepped onto it. The education ministry is currently ministered by Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni, the reigning First Lady and wife to the President Museveni. It is yet unknown why she can’t prevail over the Mafioso roadblocks and have the Principle’s promise implemented.
Kalumba tells the President how former minister Jessica Alupo ignored the Principle Private Secretary to the President, Grace Akello’s letter on the school takeover. “I have been directed by H.E the President to request you to look into the possibility of taking over Queen’s College Maddu Senior Secondary School as a government School. The School could be useful acquisition for USE,” Akello had written to Alupo.
According to documents in our possession, a verbal agreement was reached for Kalumba to lease the school to Government for 20 years but the same never lived to have ink scribbled onto it. “Further to my letter of 21st September 2011, on the matter of taking over Queen’s College Maddu as a government USE School. I write to clarify that the owner wishes to lease but not sell School. The period of the lease she finds acceptable is 20 years with effect from 1st January 2012,” Akello wrote to the ministry PS.
Alex Kakooza, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education wrote to Kalumba, putting the value of the school at Shs900M upon whose approval, the official agreement would be penned off to the effect. Nevertheless, we understand Kakooza has since shifted goal posts, even to the tune of dust-binning advisory letters from Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs as well as the Attorney General.
In an interview with the Investigator last night, Kalumba said the Community took over the School upon the Presidential directive but running it is next to impossible. “I am not in control of my own property and hence I can’t gain from my investment. The parents took over the school but they can’t run it. All efforts to have the president’s word implemented have turned futile,” she cried.
Efforts to reach PS Kakooza were futile as his known number went unanswered all the time we tried him. We however understand that some elders are lobbying for a meeting with the person of the President whom they want to explain why he took over a school he can’t run and or pay for. Watch this space…
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