By Andante Okanya
A mother is demanding sh445m from Sir Apollo Kaggwa Primary School, claiming her son has become disabled as a result of being caned in September 2011.
On May 14, Lilah Babirye and her son jointly filed a civil suit at the High Court in Kampala against the school. Her son Naswif Katongole was aged 10 at the time.
“The plaintiffs shall contend that the defendant has no defence to the claim or at all and should be held vicariously liable,” the plaint states in part.
She does not indicate the particular school that her son attended. Six schools operate under the name Sir Apollo Kaggwa.
These are Sir Apollo Kaggwa Boarding Primary School-Old Kampala, Sir Apollo Kaggwa Primary School-Mengo, and Sir Apollo Kaggwa Primary School-Nakasero.
Others are Sir Apollo Kaggwa l -Fairways Primary School Kireka, Kampala, Sir Apollo Kaggwa–Kyengera Parents Day and Boarding Primary School.
Babirye, who gives her particulars as a single mother, employed at the United Nations, in India, at the time, asserts that she was granted leave to attend to her son. She has since lost the job.
Through Anguria, Aogon, and Company Advocates, she states that her son was severely beaten on the waist and back by two teachers Grace Lumu and Joseph Owino.
She states that Katongole developed severe injuries, deep sharp pain, and psychological impairment and mobility complications.
She claims her son’s predicament, implied that she lost $178,000(about sh445m) in earnings for two years. He has
However, the sum could rise, in the event that the court awards her special damages, exemplary damages, punitive damages, and general damages.
She wants all these damages paid at an interest of 24% from the date of judgment till full payment. In addition, she is demanding costs of the suit.
The plaint does not however indicate the amount Babirye is demanding for the other damages.
Babirye laments that her son future ambitions of becoming an engineer and sports man are no more, as he has lost over two years of continuous normal education.
“The first plaintiff as a child can no longer play as an ordinary child and even his physical excursions in adult life are limited if at all.
Court documents indicate that the school contributed £20,000(about sh84m) for the boy’s medical expenses in Uganda and South Africa.
Babirye however claims his condition has deteriorated, as he is now bedridden, having been on crutches at the initial stage of treatment.
She wants court to permanently restrain the school from caning as a mode of punishment for pupils.
Court has since ordered the school to file its defence within 15 days from the date of receipt of the court summons.
In the order by assistant registrar Eleanor Khainza dated May 14, the school has been ordered to heed, lest judgment is passed without its side of the story.
Yesterday, when New Vision sought a comment from one of the head teachers, Eldad Kafeero of Sir Apollo Kaggwa Primary School in Nakasero, he declined to confirm and down played the case.
“The case is false and exaggerated. Besides, it was not in my school. I am not ready to talk about it,” Kafeero said before hastily terminating the call on his mobile phone.