22 March 2019

Uganda: Kasese Officials Grilled Over Sidelining of Minority Tribe

Kasese — The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOP) has ordered Kasese District leaders to produce all records regarding allocation of jobs and education opportunities to the Banyabindi community.

The instruction by the EOP tribunal chaired by Justice Joel Coax Ojuku came amid allegations that the minority group is being marginalised in the district that is dominated by Bakonzo.

The district inspector of schools, Mr Wilson Bwambale, while appearing before the tribunal in Kasese Town on Wednesday, explained that they follow thematic teaching in the lower primary schools in line with government policy.

He also explained why they do not teach Runyabindi, the language spoken by the Banyabindi.

"We teach Lukonzo and Runyoro-Rutooro in the schools dominated by Bakonzo and Runyakitara-speaking languages respectively and only Runyankore-Rukiga in Kanamba Primary School in Kasese. We don't teach Runyabindi in any other school because their numbers are few and the policy requires 70 per cent of the language spoken in a particular area," Mr Bwambale said.

Mr Joshua Miramagho, the district service commission secretary, did not satisfy EOC when he testified that the commission is composed of only the Bakonzo.

"Our commission is not fully constituted; we currently have three members who are all Bakonzo but jobs are given on merit since the Public Service Form Three does not require for one's tribe. It is mere allegations for Banyabindi to complain of discrimination and marginalisation. We have many of them recruited in different positions," Mr Miramagho said.

But when asked to provide evidence, he said he had no records.

Justice Ojuku ordered the district authorities to present all necessary documentation regarding the treatment of the Banyabindi.

"I must note that justice delayed is justice denied. I want to instruct the district officials here to avail the commission with the local language teaching policy, all staff records and Uganda Bureau of Statistics data concerning the Banyabindi not later than Friday [today], without fail," he said.

Justice Ojuku set April 3 as the last day for hearing from the district.

About the case

Claims. In 2017, the Banyabindi dragged government to EOC in 2017, complaining of discrimination and marginalisation both at local and central government levels in social, political, economic representation.

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