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Teachers not paid salaries for six months

By Vision Reporter

Added 17th April 2008 03:00 AM

Budo Junior Boarding School staff have not received top-up allowances since September 2007, the deputy head teacher, Moses Ssewalu, said yesterday.

Budo Junior Boarding School staff have not received top-up allowances since September 2007, the deputy head teacher, Moses Ssewalu, said yesterday.

By Herbert Ssempogo

Budo Junior Boarding School staff have not received top-up allowances since September 2007, the deputy head teacher, Moses Ssewalu, said yesterday.

There were reports of incompetence and mismanagement suspected to have partly been responsible for the conversion of a classroom into a dormitory in which 20 eight-to-nine-year-olds perished in a fire.

Teachers, said Ssewalu, had not received allowances for six months and seven months for non-teaching staff.

The teachers only received allowances for March this year, The New Vision learnt. Ssewalu, however, refused to give the reasons for the anomaly.

“That is beyond my responsibilities. I cannot comment about the reasons for their non-payment.”

The newly-appointed head teacher, Livingstone Ddungu, also refused to explain the arrears and referred the question to the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) chief, Kintu Mukasa, who could not be reached yesterday.

In early February, workers of the century-old school went on strike protesting non-payment of allowances and financial mismanagement.

The allowances range from sh250,000 to sh350,000.

The strikers had also complained of non-representation on the PTA, dilapidated residential houses, lack of scholastic materials and dormant school management committees and also said an annual 10% salary increment was stopped two years earlier.

Following the strike, 150 pupils switched to other schools this year.

Meanwhile, the school yesterday released an updated list of children suspected to have perished in the fire.

Three children Mariam Nakatto, Betty Kawula and Merciful Wesonga, who had earlier been reported missing, have now been added to the list of the suspected dead, bringing the number to 20.
Another girl, Patricia Nakaye, earlier reported dead, is alive.

Fourteen children, who were stranded at the school, have been reunited with their parents.
The only boy still at the deserted school, Martin Moses Lutakahana, a Tanzanian, will fly home this weekend.

As the investigation picks steam, the Police pitched camp at the school yesterday, where they recorded statements from residents and staff.

By evening, at least 65 statements had been recorded. Despite this, parents are increasingly becoming frustrated by the delay to release the bodies of their children for burial. According to the Police, the tests will be concluded on Sunday or Monday. The slow but careful process is intended to ensure that the parents get the right remains.
But for Justus Lugogamu, the father of Faith Asiimwe, the delay is becoming costly.

“We are spending more money running up and down just to offer our children a proper send-off.”
The Government has promised the bereaved families sh500,000 contribution towards the funeral expenses.

Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi inspected the school yesterday and called for calm.

He said nobody had been proved guilty yet. “Investigations should not be interrupted in order to have conclusive evidence.”

The tragedy, he added, was a “wake-up call to all Ugandans about the dangers of fire outbreaks”.

Nsibambi was accompanied by the primary education state minister, Peter Lokeris.

Teachers not paid salaries for six months

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