Uganda: Church, School Clash Over Compensation Money

11 January 2019

A row has emerged between St Paul Aterai Church of Uganda and Aterai Primary School over Shs97m that was given as compensation for the land encroached on by Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) ahead of the tarmacking of Kumi-Pallisa Road.

In a meeting held on Tuesday at the school to solve the dispute, the church leadership accused the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) leadership for claiming custodianship of church property, well knowing that it is the church that founded the school.

Mr James Peter Ongodia, the chairperson of Christian's committee at the church in Southern Division, said there is no way the church would cede its powers over the land to the school by allowing it to dictate over the use of Shs97,550,100m paid as compensation by UNRA.

"We have to complete the house of the reverend at Shs9m, the church also needs to be expanded at more than Shs24m, and also have sound enhancement to be purchased at Shs20m. As church, our needs must be honoured," he said.

He added that they are in hold of the money and they need to withdraw it from their bank account only for the intended use very soon.

However, Mr Thomas Oluka, chairperson of PTA, said they as school management committee were left in disarray after the leadership of the church refused to accept their proposal that the money be shared equally since the school is also cash-strapped with a lot of gaps to fill.

Joint account

"Without our knowledge, the church opened up an account which ideally the school and the church should have shared with the purpose of using the money for the development of the two institutions," he said.

Mr Oluka said as PTA committee, they sold the idea to the church that each institution takes Shs45m, while the remaining Shs7m be used to survey both church and school land to protect it.

"We expected that the church would use a goodwill gesture to allow the school use the money to put up teachers' quarters, pit-latrines and acquire solar panels for candidate classes, but the ideas have not been taken," he added.

Mr Oluka said they are not aiming at antagonising the church, but that their demands are based on the fact that the school has no pit latrines, teachers have no staff houses and the classrooms are equally limited.

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