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Court dismisses case against the reopening of schools

By Barbara Kabahumuza

Added 15th October 2020 09:21 AM

The plaintiff claimed that the defendants’ actions have led to fear among students

Court dismisses case against the reopening of schools

Schools have been preparing for the resumption of the academic year. Photo by Juliet Lukwago

The plaintiff claimed that the defendants’ actions have led to fear among students

The High Court in Kampala has dismissed a case in which an activist had sued education minister Janet Museveni over the reopening of schools.

Gideon Tugume had filed a suit against the First Lady and health minister Jane Aceng, seeking a court order, halting Thursday's reopening of schools for candidate classes.

Tugume argued that most businesses have never been opened, hence parents and guardians of most students cannot afford school requirements including fees.

However, Judge Esther Nambayo of the Civil Division of the High Court dismissed the application for lack of merit, saying it has no meaning in law.

"This application has no meaning in law; let the applicant file proper proceedings before the court," she ruled.

Tugume says before March 2020, parents had paid fees and other requirements but schools were prematurely closed without learners sitting exams.

According to court documents, President Yoweri Museveni closed the schools and businesses as a measure to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic to date.

Tugume contended that by the time schools and businesses were closed, there was no case of COVID-19 in Uganda but now the infections have risen to over 9000 cases with deaths across the country.

"Following the closure of all the business, the government called for help from any abled Ugandan to provide food and other resources to help poor Ugandans to survive," reads part of the court documents.

He asserted that the government provided food for some few individuals and up to date, many Ugandans are still hungry.

"The First Lady failed to seek redress on behalf of the school-going children in Uganda and caution the government on the disparities of parents who cannot manage school dues but decided to go with those who have money," he alleged.

He argued that Aceng is aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has penetrated communities but has personally failed to advise the government not to put millions of innocent children at risk.

The plaintiff claimed he tried to engage the defendants through social media and email however, to date no action has been taken to change their plans.

Tugume also claimed that the defendants' actions have led to fear among students and it has increased domestic violence among families in Uganda.

He wanted a declaration that the defendants failed to do their statutory duties which mandate them to plan, execute, and protect young and old Ugandans against similar calamities like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tugume also wanted the government to pay school fees, registration fees, and all school requirements for all students in both government and private institutions as a way of lending a hand to the parents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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