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Kabigi Taqwa Primary School Struggles to Get Back Learners After Government Takeover :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Kabigi Taqwa Primary School Struggles to Get Back Learners After Government Takeover

Sulaiman Kakeeto, a parent in Kabigi trading center says his two children are still at home fearing that the fighting between agents of the warring factions may break out anytime and they get caught up in the middle of the confusion. He argues that the school has repeatedly changed management amid clashes, which has caused confusion among the parents who are still uncertain of its future.
Structures of Kabigi Tagwa Primary School, which is entangled in sharp disputes between relatives fighting for its management

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Kabigi Taqwa Primary school in Butenga Sub-county in Bukomansimbi district is struggling to get back learners following the government take over management last year following protracted disputes among members of its foundation body. 

The school, which is part of the historic Kabigi Islamic Institute is at the center of a dispute pitting the local Kabigi Muslim community led by Sheikh Abdul Jabar Mawanda on one hand and his brother Sheikh Haruna Jjemba, a former tutor at Makerere University on the other hand. 

Their father the late Sheikh Juma Katungulu is one of the core founders of the institute. The community accuses Jjemba of fraudulently taking over the school management yet it was started as a community project. The tension between the warring parties prompted Bukomansimbi District Security Committee chaired by the Resident District Commissioner, Sharon Akunda to take over the school early this week to ensure the continuity of learning. 

The security committee also decided to deploy anti-riot police personnel to prevent any eventualities. Despite the deployment, a substantial number of learners are yet to return to the school after it was opened for the third term. Only 162 out of the registered 432 learners who were in the school at the closure of the second term had reported by Friday, according to the attendance register seen by Uganda Radio Network. 

Sulaiman Kakeeto, a parent in Kabigi trading center says his two children are still at home fearing that the fighting between agents of the warring factions may break out anytime and they get caught up in the middle of the confusion. He argues that the school has repeatedly changed management amid clashes, which has caused confusion among the parents who are still uncertain of its future. He explains that several parents have since transferred their children to neighboring schools. 

According to Kakeeto, the dispute has since sucked in many parents, whose decisions are based on who is managing the school at a given time. Abdul Noor Kasasa, another parent says some of the teachers who were recently kicked out of the schools are also exploiting the current controversy to discourage parents from taking their children to the school in favor of neighboring schools. He explains that although the RDC announced the government takeover of the school management, she allowed Dr. Jjemba to continue running the school’s affairs to ensure the continuity of studies.

“This certainly did not go down well with their counterparts who also previously managed the institute. As a result, some of the teachers who had been hired by Sheikh Mawanda were thrown out, and out of dissatisfaction, they are now diverting some learners to seek admission in the neighboring schools,” he said.   

Musa Mugerwa a teacher of Islamic religious studies at the institute blames the low turn up of the learners on the misconduct of a clique of parents whom he accuses of resorting to a smear campaign against the school for selfish reasons. He is however optimistic that more students will report back in the due course, upon establishing that learning is going on normally.  

//Cue in: “abazadde basiga mu….   

Cue out: ……nga tokyabitegeera”.// 

Sharon Ankunda, the Bukomansimbi Resident District Commissioner, says that they have instructed the local leaders in the area to mobilize learners to return to school by giving them assurance that nobody will disrupt the school again. She indicates that they are aware of former teachers who are diverting some learners to other schools, saying that security is studying the claims and will soon find a remedy to it.

She says that they will maintain security at the school’s premises to ensure that students are not disrupted pending the Court's final decision about the same matter. Problems for Kabigi Islamic Institute began in 2019 after Hajj Haruna Jjemba took over the administration from his brother Sheikh Abdul Jabar Mawanda accusing him of mismanaging the institution. 

Mawanda counter accuses his adversaries of registering the school as personal property with intentions of running it as a business, something he says is against the objectives of initial founders who wanted to run it as a community institute.

According to Mawanda, parents have withdrawn learners because they don’t trust the current administrators. He however argues that besides the pending court case before Masaka High Court, he is also engaging different stakeholders to find a way of addressing the dispute.         

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