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Rakai School Fire: Dormitory renovation complete

By Davis Buyondo

Added 12th February 2019 05:47 PM

On the night of November 11, 2018, arsonists sneaked in the school and burnt the dormitory killing at least 10 students and injuring 37 more.

Rakai School Fire: Dormitory renovation complete

On the night of November 11, 2018, arsonists sneaked in the school and burnt the dormitory killing at least 10 students and injuring 37 more.

 
The dormitory after renovation
 
The refurbishment of a Senior Three dormitory at St. Bernard's SS -Mannya, which was gutted by fire in November last year, has been completed.
 
It was inaugurated on Friday by Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa of Masaka Diocese to create enough housing space for more than 100 students.
 
Kaggwa cleansed the dormitory with holy water and prayed for the students not to be haunted by disturbing memories and dreams. 
 
The ceremony followed a procession around the school to build up confidence among the students.
 
On the night of November 11, 2018, arsonists sneaked in the school and burnt the dormitory killing at least 10 students and injuring 37 more. Also properties mainly scholastics worth millions destroyed.
 
Fire tore through the building leaving it ruined. Parents, students, and the public have since branded the dormitory, a haunted building.
 
Since the tragic incident, there have been appeals to build a monument at the fire site, with suggestions to relocate the dormitory elsewhere.
 
Instead, early this year, Cotton On Foundation contracted BanaBuddu Royal Contractors Limited to refurbish the dormitory within five weeks.
 
According to Frank Jjuuko, the site Engineer, they had to work within the set period and hand it over soon after. 

The dormitory after the fire

He said they inspected the building and established the rooftop and the gable walls were badly ruined yet the rest of the walls were still strong.
 
He explained that they replaced the gable walls, rooftop, plaster, floor concrete, doors, and windows.
 
Jjuuko further noted that the dormitory has two sections (rooms), each of them has two doors, one for regular entrance and exits, and the other for emergencies. Also, the burglar proofing was removed from all the dormitories.
 
The outgoing headmaster Henry Nsubuga said the renovation process was meant to start and be completed in December.
 
He added that the police, Internal Security Organisation (ISO) and the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) were still treating the dormitory a scene of crime.
 
They prohibited unauthorised access to the dormitory amid investigations which delayed renovation.
 
However, two parents, whose children are to occupy the dormitory, say they are worried that the ghosts of the deceased students my haunt their children and distabilise their education.
 
The unpleasant incident has since been blamed on security laxity. In a bid to stem intrusion, the school has hired more security guards and passed strict security rules urging the teaching staff and student for cooperation.
 
There were originally four guards from the reserve force. However, the number has been doubled to eight in addition to seven policemen.
 
The school administration further noted that they are planning to procure about 70 security cameras to aid their security system.
 
Sergeant Charles Kakoofira, the head of security said they cautioned students not to escape since the security guards have been given strict conditions about intruders in awkward hours. 
 
He said that security operations tend to be tougher at night than it is during day time.
 
However, the burglar-proofing was removed from all dormitories as per the State Minister for Primary Education Rosemary Sseninde's directive.
 
Sarah Nasuuna, a parent, said the she's confident their children will be safe with the improved security.
 
She argued that had such deployment been in place may be the intruders would not have had access to burn the dormitory. 

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