OP-ED

OP-ED: An open letter to Minister J.C Muyingo

The writer of this article; Steven Masiga (L) and Higher Education Minister; J.C. Muyingo (R)

By Steven Masiga

Greetings Mr John Chrysostom Muyingo, the Hon Minister of State for Higher Education! Warm regards and thank you for serving Uganda. Since I read some stories about you on DailyExpress, an online platform, I pray they didn’t get you out of context, and I am writing this article in line with Art 29(1)(a) of Uganda’s Constitution, and in line with my previous mandate as Chairman Board of Governors, Mbale School for the Deaf, a mandate which I thought was defunct, but now see, how I am forcefully brought back in the ring.

For the context, Mbale School for the Deaf is a school with many mafias on standby eating money meant for the deaf child. God recently punished one of those mafias and LC3 Chairman after he drank poison of his own volition and died in the doorsteps of the school.

At a peripheral level, recall the letters I wrote to you to take action on mismanagement in Mbale Deaf SSS and you deployed your ministry auditors who came up with very strong recommendations including transfer of the headteacher and recovery of funds. Mbale district local government also exposed the rot in the school recommendation from the district, which is a foundation body that has never been acted on too because money is thrown here and there to frustrate activation of audit reports. When I assumed duties as board chairman, I suspected some financial mismanagement in the school and the then permanent secretary at the Education Ministry, Mr. Alex Kakooza ordered an audit enquiry which revealed that there was financial mismanagement by the headteacher of up to 500 million and they ordered her to account. The war began here!

The audit report had strongly recommended her transfer and well-meaning persons like Commissioner Special Needs Sarah Bugoosi pushed for activation of all provisions in the report. Recently, the Permanent Secretary at MoES, Ms Ketty Lamaro deployed another headteacher in the school in fulfilment of those recommendations 

It is therefore improper to blame the commissioner for special needs for pushing for activation of the report which recommended many action points and many people had been hired to block.

When Hon Ogwang, briefed the speaker of parliament on how they are resolving issues of Mbale School for the Deaf, another team wrote to the Equal Opportunities Commission to block the transfers by the permanent secretary.

Actually, the Mbale Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) was about to get arrested today (Friday, September, 1st) because he had welcomed the new headteacher and also written to the bank to halt any financial transactions until a new headteacher has assumed office. The mafias who wanted to arrest him are well known. Sadly, they want the cash and don’t care about the standards of the school.

Therefore, the issues at Mbale Deaf SS are partly due to the failure to follow all the provisions of the law. Parliament should therefore not be seen as a scare craw that intimidates those who appear before them but should give those who appear before them the opportune time to explain themselves or update parliament.

In the face of many calamities befalling schools, it is right and proper that such an issue should be given candid attention instead of blame games in trying to resolve issues of the Mbale school. I urge you to go back to Hon Ogwang’s recommendations to Speaker Among, which contained a series of action points on how to resolve the impasse in the school 

The reports both by Mbale DLG and the Ministry of Education recommended strong punitive measures for misuse of public funds contrary to sec (2) of the anti-corruption Act 2009. The audit reports also queried making a deaf-founded school a normal school contrary to sec 6(2) of the Disability Act 2023.

I have also noted with tears how ministers in education manage that institution. In Mbale Deaf SS alone, teachers not on payroll have taken about 2 years without pay, and nobody cares about this because the money meant for them has been injected into media platforms to paint a different picture on the ground.

An askari who is demanding 16 months’ salary is at Mulago hospital languishing with prostrate cancer and about to die, but who cares? children tortured in the school contrary to Art 24 but who cares, since they don’t talk who cares please let us treat others well God watches over from above 

Workers who were sacked died without receiving their pay, another deaf child died and parents were devasted, but who cares? Communities have been well paid to strike in favour and letters have been written and signed by the very mafias fighting and masquerading as councillors. Recently, an LC3 Chairman drank poison and died, and had warned him to refrain from sharing money meant for deaf children.

Recently a deaf teacher attempted to kill herself in school because of frustration. Today the national chairman deaf association Mr. Jona Nkwanga prayed on WhatsApp that all those eating money for deaf children should produce children with disabilities I cautioned him not to pray like Munyole.

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The writer, Steven Masiga is a researcher from Mbale and former Board Chairman at Mbale School for the Deaf. Tel: 0706655811



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