685 Ombaci Students Sent Home After Strike

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In short
All 685 students of St. Joseph’s College Ombaci in Arua district have been suspended after they went on strike on Sunday night.

All 685 students of St. Joseph’s College Ombaci in Arua district have been suspended after they went on strike on Sunday night.
The students were sent home after the district education officer Nicholas Tembo and police decided that they should first go home because leaving them at school could lead to more destruction.
Before the school was closed on Monday morning, the students had wanted to drag their head teacher, Andrew Tumwesigye, to district education office after they accused him of tribalism, corruption and mismanagement of school resources.
The agitated students hurled insults at the school administrators until anti-riot police arrived and threatened to teargas them. The students also abused the head teacher.
Several plain clothed policemen were deployed in the school compound.
Dan Byaruhanga, Arua district police commander, says they reached a decision of closing the school because police has been deployed in the school for the last four days but the students could not calm down. He says the administration and board of directors have to organize themselves before the school is re-opened.
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DEO Nicholas Tembo described the students as indisciplined adding that they refused to listen to him when he attempted to address them on Monday morning. He says before the school re-opens, they want a serious screening to investigate reports that students are being used by the teachers who are against the head teacher.
He also accused the school administration of failing to address the demands of students because before the strike started students had informed the administration that they were not happy with food that was being given to them.
In a similar strike in 1994 at the time when the school’s performance was at its peak, the students marched their head teacher, the late Hercules Abiriga to the District Education Office.
The second strike was in 1998 when the students rejected first term examinations. This forced the school administrators to prematurely close the school to avoid destruction.
When contacted over the strike Tumwesigye declined to comment saying the DEO has instructed him not to talk to the media because it is the Board of Governors who are authorised to speak.
In 2010, about 16 Senior Four students of the school were dismissed for starting a violent strike


About the author

Ronald Batre
Ronald Batre is so passionate about journalism that he did not wait to finish school before he started his career. This is how he started with Radio Paidha, The West Niler, Daily Monitor newspapers and later with Radio Pacis as Assistant News Editor.

To be allowed to practice his passion, Batre had struck a deal with his parents. He would complete his education. He kept his word and went through school while suporting himself with his journalism.

Entering the workplace so young attuned Batre to the plight of the youth and those who seek employment. Apart from that, he is interested in reporting about politics, local government, business and the environment. A witness to some of the destructive impact of the Lord's Resistance Army rebellion in northern Uganda, Batre is interested in reporting about peace building efforts too.

Uganda Radio Network's former Gulu bureau chief, Batre is now based in Kampala. He is URN's main politics correspondent. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.