Nabegereka Pri­mary School – Do we value Ed­u­ca­tion?

By: Isaac Okello

The na­tion has been grap­pling with is­sues of land grab­bing for a long time now, and to some Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, what hap­pened in 2011 to Shi­moni Demon­stra­tion School and the Teacher Train­ing Col­lege for an in­vestor to set up a five-star ho­tel on the land on which the school was lo­cated is still fresh on their minds. This is be­cause the ho­tel con­struc­tion was aban­doned in favour of a shop­ping mall, which has also stalled. It gives the im­pres­sion that there is lit­tle re­gard for ed­u­ca­tion since the most af­fected pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions are schools. There are sev­eral schools that are cur­rently un­der threat, in­clud­ing Buganda Road Pri­mary School, Nakasero Pri­mary School, Natete Mus­lim Pri­mary School, Mus­lim Girls Pri­mary School among oth­ers. The most re­cent is Nabagereka Pri­mary School found in Kam­pala. 

On 4th of Feb­ru­ary 2015 Lwemiyaga MP, Hon. Theodore Ssekikubo, moved a mo­tion in the House within which he stated that the fate of the young pupils is be­ing sealed as they may not be able to trek the in­evitable long dis­tance in search of their in­her­ent or con­sti­tu­tional right to ed­u­ca­tion, hence drop out of school with no prob­a­ble op­por­tu­nity of ever get­ting back to school. Par­lia­ment re­solved to set up a se­lect com­mit­tee to look into the cir­cum­stances un­der which the land where­upon Nabagereka Pri­mary School was sit­u­ated was seized by an in­vestor.

The mo­tion mover was ask­ing for the fol­low­ing :
That Gov­ern­ment sus­pends all al­lo­ca­tions and takeovers of lands be­long­ing to pub­lic schools, pub­lic health fa­cil­i­ties and other Gov­ern­ment in­stal­la­tions.

That Gov­ern­ment takes im­me­di­ate steps to hold all de­vel­op­ment on land hous­ing Nabagereka Pri­mary School and sus­pend all plans ap­proved on the said land.

That Par­lia­ment sets up a se­lect com­mit­tee to in­ves­ti­gate the takeover of lands for­merly be­long­ing to pub­lic schools and make ap­pro­pri­ate rec­om­men­da­tion to Par­lia­ment.

Sub­se­quently, a se­lect com­mit­tee was in­sti­tuted on Thurs­day 19th March, 2015 to in­ves­ti­gate the is­sues sur­round­ing the on­go­ing takeover of land be­long­ing to Nabagereka Pri­mary School and other schools within Kam­pala city by pur­ported in­vestors. “I have es­tab­lished a Se­lect Com­mit­tee com­pris­ing of six Mem­bers to find out who is be­hind the land grab­bing of Nabagereka Pri­mary School,” the Rt. Hon Speaker, Re­becca Kadaga an­nounced in the House.

The mem­bers of the com­mit­tee se­lected were:

  • Robert Mi­gadde (Bu­vuma Is­lands, Bu­vuma),
  • Kas­siano Wadri (Terego County, Arua),
  • Kabaale Olivia (Iganga),
  • Wil­fred Ni­wagaba (Ndorwa East, Ka­bale),
  • Patrick Mulindwa (Kasam­bya County, Mubende) and
  • Math­ias Mpu­uga (Masaka Mu­ni­cial­ity, Masaka).

The house set the terms of ref­er­ence within which the com­mit­tee was man­dated to carry out in­ves­ti­ga­tions on be­half of the House. These were that the com­mit­tee looks into:

  • The cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the takeover of land for­merly be­long­ing to pub­lic schools in Kam­pala Cap­i­tal City Au­thor­ity specif­i­cally Nabagereka Pri­mary School;
  • Whether the takeover trans­ac­tion was in ac­cor­dance with the laid down laws and pro­ce­dures;
  • Whether ap­pro­pri­ate mit­i­gat­ing mea­sures were put in place to cater for the af­fected stu­dents and teach­ers; and
  • Make ap­pro­pri­ate rec­om­men­da­tions to Par­lia­ment.

And re­port back to the House by 7th May 2015.

Whether the time is ad­e­quate for the com­mit­tee to fi­nalise by the set date, is an­other point of con­tention, but as of 31st March, the com­mit­tee com­menced its in­ves­ti­ga­tions, in­ter­fac­ing with the pe­ti­tion­ers who in­cluded Hon Theodore Ssekikubo, Hon Ssewungu Joseph and Hon Ka­si­bante Moses, who tasked the com­mit­tee to look into sev­eral schools in Kam­pala.

On 1st April 2015, the Com­mit­tee met the Man­age­ment of Kam­pala Cap­i­tal City Au­thor­ity, to as­cer­tain their in­volve­ment and com­mit­ment to­wards pro­tec­tion of school land. The Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of KCCA in­formed the Com­mit­tee that out of eighty (80) pub­lic schools in Kam­pala, KCCA only has ex­clu­sive con­trol over five (5) schools and the rest of them are owned by ei­ther re­li­gious bod­ies or other gov­ern­ment agen­cies. She promised to pull down the fence that was erected at the Nabagereka Pri­mary School land be­fore Easter, and that she had given a di­rec­tive ef­fec­tively.

The cur­rent land pol­icy of Kam­pala Cap­i­tal City Au­thor­ity al­lows for mixed land use where there could be a school lo­cated near a dis­cotheque or hos­pi­tal. How­ever, for the sake of the 1443 pupils and 23 teach­ers af­fected by the de­mo­li­tion of Nabagereka Pri­mary School by one in­vestor, the pe­ti­tion­ers be­sought the com­mit­tee to look into the restora­tion of the school.

There are more wit­nesses the com­mit­tee has sched­uled to meet af­ter the Easter break be­fore the com­mit­tee can con­clude on its in­ves­ti­ga­tions. For ex­am­ple the Uganda Land Com­mis­sion which is known to have ac­tively par­tic­i­pated in the award­ing of the Nakasero Pri­mary School land to Pres­tige Apart­ments. The com­mit­tee’s find­ings will e very help­ful and will hope­fully set a trend that will put an end to in­vestors tak­ing ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties for granted.