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Students burn Nabumali High

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th October 2004 03:00 AM

NABUMALI High School, Mbale, was yesterday closed following a violent strike in which students burnt down the headteacher's office, the accounts department, the staff-room and the dining hall.

NABUMALI High School, Mbale, was yesterday closed following a violent strike in which students burnt down the headteacher's office, the accounts department, the staff-room and the dining hall.

By Nathan Etengu
in Mbale

NABUMALI High School, Mbale, was yesterday closed following a violent strike in which students burnt down the headteacher's office, the accounts department, the staff-room and the dining hall.

The strike, reportedly started by the girls, also destroyed the deputy headteacher's office in the adjacent newly-built library block.

Smoke was by yesterday still billowing from the food store where about 40 metric tonnes of rice, beans, posho and sugar were burnt. Headmaster Samuel Wamala Mafabi said they lost all the accounts records and un-claimed certificates and results slips dating back to 1933.

He said drugs worth sh5m were also burnt.
“We have lost everything including stationery for the examinations that are to begin on Monday,” he said.

Teachers said they slept in the bush for fear of attack. Students, who were not on strike, also fled into the bush where they stayed until the Police arrived at the school at 11:30pm.

An emergency meeting called by the chairman of the board of governors, who is also the Bishop of Mbale Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Samuel Wabulakha, resolved to close the school to investigate the cause of the strike. Wabulakha broke into tears on seeing the destruction. The meeting agreed that candidate classes sit final exams which start on Monday.

It also resolved to expel any students who participated in the strike. “We should not compromise over discipline,” Mbale resident district commissioner Hajji Abas Seguya said.

The student leaders, who attended the board meeting, said the students were protesting inadequate piped water, dilute milk tea and fees levied for the locally set S4 mock examinations. Seguya said these did not justify the destruction of the school. “Some of you lead a life here that is more than 98% what you live at home. I don’t think all of you have piped water and thick milk tea at home,” he said.
He said the strike had plucked out the “eye” of Mbale and destroyed a renowned institution.

The senior woman teacher, Faith Wanelobi, said the girls complained of inadequate piped water in the evenings. She said she was trapped in the girls’ wing where she survived the boys.
“I put on a school uniform and covered my head with a sweater to escape,” she said.

Deputy headmaster Wabusera said the damage could have been minimised if the Police had arrived in time.
He said he drove to Mbale central Police station, about 12 miles away, but failed to get assistance for over one-and-half hours.

“I asked them to send the four officers available as they waited for the highway patrol, but they said they would not move without orders,” Wabusera said.

Students burn Nabumali High

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