Schools Close After Kasese Unrest

3127 Views Kasese, Uganda

In short
At least three primary schools in Kasese town have confirmed temporary closure as uncertainty continues following a joint army and police assault on the Rwenzururu kingdom palace at the weekend.

At least three primary schools in Kasese town have confirmed temporary closure as uncertainty continues following a joint army and police assault on the Rwenzururu kingdom palace at the weekend.

Security raided the palace of Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere and arrested him together with some of his royal guards. It is not clear how many people have died in the Sunday afternoon attack, though the previous assault on Mumbere's administrative offices left at least 30 people dead. 

And now schools have had to readjust their programmes due to insecurity.

Kasese primary school,  a major public school in the heart of Kasese town sent the children back home shortly after 9am today.

Longino Muhindo, the deputy headteacher says that when they heard some bullets fired at around 9am, they decided to send the 740 pupils back home.

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Muhindo says that the school will use radio announcements to inform the parents of when to resend the children for classes.

At Aisha Preparatory school that is located opposite the Kasese Municipal headquarters, all classrooms were locked with no teachers in place. Uganda Radio Network managed to catch up with Wilson Mbusa, the headteacher who confirmed that about 10 scholars had turned up by 8pm.

The school has an enrolment of 400 pupils including those in the boarding section. 

Mbusa says that being in the heart of town, it was necessary for the children to be sent back home to avoid being caught up in the clashes should they unfold anytime.

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At Rock primary school, just off Kilembe road, URN reporter found day scholars leaving and some parents were arriving to pick their children in boarding section. Some of the children told URN that they were asked to stay home until Kasese town is safe.

Joshia Kambale Kipura, the headteacher says that an explosion was heard which caused panic in the school. He says that the school may end up closing for the third term and base on the results of mid-term exams to grade the children for promotion to other classes.

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At Unique valley primary school near the round-about, the classes were running by 8:30am when URN visited. One of the school directors who preferred anonymity said that they were to study the situation throughout the day before deciding on the next action as the pupils at the two campuses were already doing end of year exams.

Efforts to get a comment from Laurence Turiganya, the Kasese Municipal education officer were futile because by the time of filing this story, he couldn't pick repeated phone calls.

Meanwhile, several businesses in the heart of Kasese town returned to normal with shops and supermarkets opening.

Julius Kule, a shop attendant on Rwenzori road, however, says that the customers are not coming as usual since people are fearing to leave their villages.

But Kisanga market commonly known as Mawa market has seen a slow start. When URN visited the market, there was no pomp as it has usually been on Mondays and Thursdays.
Scovia Ithungu, a tomato seller says that she just came to the market to sell and return home early.

Godfrey Kiwede, a human rights activist told URN he went to the market to buy enough food that can sustain his family until the next market day. Kiwede says government and the Rwenzururu kingdom should venture into intensive peace talks with a neutral mediator.

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Juba Muhindo, a motorcycle boda boda cyclist says that the slow start of the market has affected his income since there are not enough clients to carry.

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About the author

Thembo Kahungu
Thembo Kahungu is interested in journalism that changes lives. A recent example is when a suspect in state prosecutor Joan Kagezi was held longer than the law states. Kahungu is proud to note that it was his follow up on Geoffrey Kato's unlawful detention that led to the freedom of the boda boda rider.

Previously based in Kasese, Kahungu has been reposted to Hoima town. Kahungu is now the Uganda Radio Network Hoima bureau chief.

Kahungu has been a practicing journalist since 2007. He was a reporter for Radio Messiah and Kasese Guide Radio. He was also the Kasese Daily Monitor freelance writer. He has also been a teacher at Liberty College of Management and Journalism in Kasese district.

Kahungu is deeply interested in investigative journalism. Kahungu has developed a big interest in covering issues to do with Oil, Gas and Mining after attending a fellowship in Ghana in October 2015 under the sponsorship of Natural Resource Governance Institute.