7 December 2018

Uganda: Committee Formed to Probe Lira Schools Conflict

Lira District has set up a six-man committee to probe the ongoing conflict over ownership of 11 primary schools in Lira District.

The district chairman, Mr Alex Oremo Alot, yesterday confirmed that his administration has set up a committee to look into the matter with the aim of resolving the dispute. The committee shall be headed by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Mr Mark Tivu.

The Ministry of Education and Sports said it had received complaints that the foundation status of 11 government-headed primary schools in Lira had been tampered with.

The affected schools are Boke, Adekokwok, Abunga, Ongica, Lwala, Abala, Akany, Omito, Ayago, Te-Okole and Ayamo primary schools.

Mr Mukasa Lusambu, the ministry's official, however, expressed concern that the dispute might affect the relationship between the government and foundation bodies (churches).

"This misunderstanding is likely to affect the running of the schools and later cause social instability," he said.

Acting on behalf of the ministry's permanent secretary, Mr Lusambu asked Mr Tivu to prevail over their education department.

"The purpose of this letter is therefore, to request that you prevail over your education department, to consult the elders in the area and also check all the available documents that can help establish the rightful foundation bodies of these listed schools," he said in a letter dated August 7.

"Meanwhile, from the ministry side, we shall check for the periods when these schools became government-aided," he added.

Mr Lusambu said the ministry of Education and Sports recognises these foundation bodies through their continued partnership.

However, the former minister of Lands, Mr Daniel Omara Atubo, has revealed the ownership dispute over church founded schools has been complicated by politics and the colonial regime.

"Before the British colonised us and imposed their administration based on religious division, Lango was one united tribe based on clan system. Now, we are most sadly divided calling ourselves Protestant Lango or Catholic Lango. We even fight over resources, offices and leadership based on religion," the former Lands minister said.

He noted the Lango tribal group has much bigger problems which they must resolve immediately other than extending the fight to schools. He added that they should focus on the rampant poverty, immorality, domestic violence and backwardness.

"Furthermore, churches these days reject head teachers and staff who do not belong to their faith. Some churches have even grabbed community and government founded schools and institutions," Mr Atubo added.

He appealed to bishops in Lango to resolve their conflicts before rushing to courts of law.

ownership

Most of the schools in the country were either founded by the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church or the Muslim community

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