Proverbs 29:12 KJV – If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked. This proverb of King Solomon has come to life in the Ministry of Education and Sports where, some unscrupulous officials are peddling lies to the First lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Ms Janet Museveni, that private teachers are ‘disorganized’ with a view of defrauding them of their Shs20bn grant given to them by President Yoweri Museveni.
President Yoweri Museveni extended a Shs20bn grant to over 350,000 teaching staff and another 250,000 non-teaching staff in pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions to bail them out of the effects of closure of schools.
However, the release of the money has hit a dead end after the teachers were branded ‘disorganized’ and therefore not fit to manage the fund. The teachers were branded ‘disorganized’ after some hitherto briefcase private teachers’ associations and unions from Kampala and Wakiso claimed to have been left out of the process to manage the Shs20bn.
According to documents in our possession, after failing to find a credible organization to manage the fund, the Ministry of Education and Sports instructed Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) to help private teachers to form associations at school, district and national levels.
“Following the December 8th 2020 communication, teachers formed associations and elected their executives. From the school executive, the Chairman and the Secretary were sent as school delegates to the district assembly,” a frustrated Chairperson of the National Private Schools Teachers’ Association, (NAPSTA), Peter Paul Etiang narrated the process that ended in June 2021, which the Ministry used to organize private teachers to national level.
District Assemblies were created at District, City and Municipality levels. After the district level, district delegates met at Kololo with guidance from two officers from the Solicitor General’s office, a representatives of District Education Officers and School Inspectors to form NAPSTA.
“After registering NAPSTA, on August 30th, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the MOE&S to manage the money. We (NAPSTA) proceeded to source the Microfinance Support Centre as the fund Manager,” Etiang explains.
On August 25, Minister Janet Museveni wrote to her counterpart in the Ministry of Finance, Hon. Matia Kasaija introducing NAPSTA as the apex body of private teachers to manage the Shs20bn fund.
However, the money release process was frustrated by an October 14th letter from a coalition of eleven private teachers’ associations and unions objecting to the release of the money to NAPSTA. This development pushed the Ministry of Finance to seek clarification from the Ministry of Education and Sports.
In a calculated move to defeat the very process spearheaded by the MOE&S that led to the creation of NAPSTA, on September 29, the Permanent Secretary, MOE&S invited the NAPSTA executive to meet members of the lose coalition of private teachers associations and unions at the Ministry.
After realising that they had an upper hand to run the fund, the coalition proposed to have three of their members be joined by two members from the NAPSTA executive to form a committee.
Regardless of the whole process, undertaken by the MOE&S to create NAPSTA, the Permanent Secretary also backed the coalition’s proposal and therefore stashing the earlier process into the bin in preference for a new committee to manage the money.
“We demanded to know who they were and show their membership. We found that these were from Kampala and Wakiso. Between them, they did not even have 1000 members,” Sauya Nanyonga, a Representative of Central region on the NAPSTA executive wondered how they could adopt people who were not even electedfrom the grassroots.
According to Nanyonga, when members of this quasi coalition realised that they were no pushover, they resorted to insults, branding them as suffering from village to town excitement. During the meeting, MOE&S succeeded in showing the two groups as ‘disorganized’ and briefed the Minister as such.
During the interview with our writer, Etiang denied being disorganized but called on the Ministry to stick to an earlier process. According to Etiang, after receiving a request for clarification, the ministry should have clarified not to invite us to meet the coalition.
“Instead of the Ministry writing clarifying that they had found these individual organisations not representative enough of private teachers countrywide and therefore decided to organize private teachers through Local Governments to create NAPSTA, they invited us to talk with the coalition,” Aidan Aineomurokozi, the Vice Chairperson NAPSTA explained.
It’s this coalition of private teachers’ associations and unions, chaired by a one Godfrey Bushobozi, a Director of an unknown private school in Makindye and therefore not a teacher, who wrote a complaint to the Ministry of Finance. “We are in negotiations,” Bushobozi said when asked of the private teachers he allegedly represent out of NAPSTA.
On October 20th the NAPSTA executive petitioned Parliament in a last attempt to salvage the Shs20bn fund.On hearing these developments, a private teacher in Wakiso urged the NAPSTA executive to abandon their pursuit of the Shs20bn fund.
“Right from the start it was clear UNATU through their Walimu Sacco was trying to get it’s hands unto the fund. They (Walimu Sacco) don’t feature anywhere in the process but their intentions are clear they want that money,” the teacher revealed adding it’s UNATU posturing as a coalition of private teachers’ associations and unions.
Walimu Sacco is a business arm of the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) that separately received Shs25bn from President Museveni to create a fund for teachers in government primary, secondary and tertiary institutions of learning.
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