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Opposition demands Janet Museveni resignation over failure to release past school fires report

EDUCATION | The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Betty Aol, has called for the resignation of Janet Museveni, the minister of Education and Sports, over the Rakai School fire that claimed lives of nine students and left other battling for their lives.

A tough talking Aol made the call after State Minister for Higher Education John Chrysostom Muyingo briefed Parliament on investigations on the cause of the fire that broke out and gutted Senior Three boys’ dormitory at St Bernard’s Secondary School Mannya in Rakai District on November 12.

Aol’s issue with the ministry that is headed by the First Lady stems from concerns that the government has not made public previous reports on fire incidents in schools. She said the failure to make public these reports is squarely blamed on the Education minister.

“Actually, Ministry of Education, especially the minister, is tempting us to go a little further than even saying, without the investigation reports of the past fires, then she has no business in this House,” Aol said.

“She has to resign. Why do we have to investigate if the reports are never brought to public? The investigation reports must come.”

Moments earlier, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga had informed MPs that they wouldn’t be in position to debate the report presented by government, saying investigations were still ongoing.

Kadaga then asked Aol to present her statement, where she said that the Opposition had joined the country to mourn with the families that have lost their children.

Aol said that whereas parents take their children to school, it is disheartening for their children to return as charred remains, adding that the fires in Rakai are a common occurrence in Ugandan schools and within a short time, the Rakai fire will be history and it will be business as usual.

“We haven’t been able to receive investigation reports, at least this investigation report should be for the public and probably for us to see the way forward for us to eradicate these fires, especially in schools,” Aol said.

‘Politicising the tragedy’

However, Sarah Babirye, the Youth representative for central, accused Aol of politicising the Rakai school tragedy.

“As a youth member, most of the people who died are my constituents and I know how it feels. Is it in order for a lady for that matter to politicise this issue that is affecting almost every Ugandan to make it a political issue so we can go ahead and censure politicians as if it is the First Lady that burnt the school?” Babirye fired back.

The Youth MP was backed by Kadaga, who reminded Aol that her duty was only to mourn the deceased students, not apportion blame.

In his statement, Muyingo said that preliminary reports indicate that the suspected cause of the fire was arson as per the details of the case reported to Mannya Police Post.

Despite the varying figures of the victims, the ministry put the deaths to nine dead students while a total of 40 escaped with injuries of varying degrees, and are hospitalised at various health facilities.

The ministry also warned heads of education institutions, school management committees and board of governors, reminding them to strictly observe and adhere to security guidelines issued by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for ensuring safety and security of lives of students/pupils.

“In particular, measures should be taken to enhance their preparedness and capacity to respond to fire emergencies, including provision of fire extinguishers and firefighting skills for all members of the school community, including the students,” Muyingo said.

Deceased students
The deceased S3 students whose remains were taken to Masaka Regional Referral Hospital for post-mortem include;
1) Lutaya Geofrey
2) Tamale Lemegious
3) Suuna Charles
4) Ssekitende Antonio
5) Nsubuga Sam
6) Kasozi Emmanuel
7) Bukenya Timothy
8) Dodiye Sharif
9) Basita Moris

Injured students
The 40 injured students, who were rushed to Mannya Health Centre (25) Kalisizo Health Centre (8) and Kitovu Hospital (7) are:
Mannya Health Centre:
I) Akaninjura Boaz
2) Mogonza Richard
3) Katuka Joel
4) Kizza Davis
5) Niwabire Isaac
6) Agaba Benson
7) Kanwagi Julius
8) Haruna Rashid
9) Kiweewa Chrisystom
1O) Luboobi Reagan
1l) Mweruka Kennedy
l2) Mugonzi Kevin
13) Nsaasa Mike
14) Kato Mathias
ls ) Ayebale Frank
16) Walugembe Charles
l7) Nduya Eddy
l8) Sserukeera John
19) Kigongo John
20) Kaweesi Juma
21) Sensarile Godfrey
22) Kayiwa Peter
23) Tumwine Moses
24) Muyombya Derrick
25) S seky artzi John B osco

Kitovu Hospital
1) Bbosa Rashid
2) Alinaitwe Geofrey
3) Sendyoowa Bryan
4) Atlas Jerome
5) Kamanda Frank
6) Sserukeera Henry
7) Nuwagaba Billgates

Kalisizo Hospital
1) KizzaDevis
2) Walugembe Charles
3) Haruna Rashid
4) Kiweewa Chrisystom
5) SsekyanziBoscho
6) Kanwagi Julius
7) Muyombya Derrick
8) Sserukeera Ronald

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