Rose Nalubowa, a member of the school’s governing board, explains that there is nothing much going on with the case since the suspects were remanded. She says that they have not received feedback from the investigating and prosecution authorities on the status of the case.
The parents and governing
board of St. Bernard’s SS-Mannya in Rakai district have expressed concern over the
delayed trial of the suspected arsonists behind the
death of ten students.
November 11, 2021, marked
the third anniversary of the
gruesome incident which occurred on November 11, 2018, when unknown arsonists
torched the Senior Three (S.3) dormitory leaving ten students dead and 37 wounded.
The deceased students
include Charles Ssuuna (16), Sam Nsubuga (15), Timothy Bukenya (16), Geoffrey
Lutaaya (21), Remegious Tamale (16), who died in the inferno. Others are
Anthony Ssekitende (15), Hudson Byamukama (22), Emmanuel Kasozi (15), Sharif
Dodiye (15), and Maurice Basiita (15).
Police arrested six suspects including four students
- Dickson Kisuule, Alex Taremwa, Junior Mugarura, and Niyo Edison, plus
Michael Tayebwa, a security guard and a police officer Corp. Steven Nzeyimana
who were on duty the fateful night.
The parents are also disappointed
with President Yoweri Museveni, First Lady Janet Kataha, the Minister for
Education and Sports, the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), Internal
Security Organisation (ISO), and the then Security Minister Gen. Elly Tumwine
who visited the school and promised to push for expeditious investigations and trial of the suspects.
However, the case has
since stalled. Neither the governing board nor the affected families have received
any information why the case has stalled. Caroline Nabasaji, whose
son Charles Ssuuna died in the inferno, says they expected the case to last
about three or four months since Museveni and Kataha had picked interest.
She says that their
promises to expedite the prosecution gave them some short-lived relief
since the president and first lady stopped pushing for justice. Nabasaji says there is little hope and solace because of the delayed trial, adding that some parents have already given up
on the case because of the
constant pleas for a speedy
trial in vain.
Rose Nalubowa, a member of the school’s governing board,
explains that there
is nothing much going on with the case since the suspects were
remanded. She says that they
have not received feedback from the investigating and
prosecution authorities on the
status of the case. She further explains that Museveni's pledge to support the
school to recover from the damage has never been fulfilled.
the father of Kasule, one of the suspects, says that the
delayed prosecution of the suspect not
only hurts the parents of the deceased students but also the families of the
suspects who have been on remand for all this time without trial.
He maintains that his son is innocent because he was already
in custody at Mannya Police station two days before the dormitory was
burnt. Kasule was
arrested prior to the incident for refusing to go back home when
the school expelled him and others for alleged misconduct. Mujumba noted
that Kasule was brought to sit for his last examinations from the police cells and
taken back before the school was attacked.
He appealed to the government to intervene in the matter for
a speedy trial so as to have justice for his son. Some parents claim that the suspects were released after spending over
two years without trial. Frank Baine, the Uganda Prisons Spokesperson, says that four students are still on remand will be produced in court at a convenient time