Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Two Students Shot, What Bugema needs to do

It was sad to read the newspapers that two students were shot in Bugema Adventist Secondary School, where I happened to be a former student.

The circumstances of the shootings are unclear, and the Police Commissioner, Major-General Kale Kayihura orders the arrest of the Commander at Bugema and further investigation.

The wounded (Wilma Obega, a Kenyan and Mariam Odiera, a Sudanese) are hospitalized at Mulago National Referral Hospital, Kampala. But was the situation too bad for the police to shoot unarmed students?

It is reported that the students had gone on strike complaining of poor feeding and harsh treatment by administrators.

Why international students run to Bugema
Since the year 2002, Bugema went out to source for students mostly from Kenya and Tanzania. Its purpose was purely business out of the desperate parents that wanted to further the education of the children.

For sure, Kenya still has so many form 4 leavers and each year almost a quarter a million graduate but the tertiary institutions have failed to absorb even a quarter the figure punching Uganda A-level as an alternative. Tanzania’s education standard is a bit low opting for Uganda’s O-level and A-level education.

Bugema too has a history of producing some of the best students in the region.

This shooting has opened a can of worms
In early 2002 I was in form 6, and I vividly remember that almost 20 classmates were suspended indefinitely for they had only refused to transfer from the upper dormitory to the ones near the classrooms. The next time they appeared they were asked to pick their belongings and suffered so much to get admissions in other schools in the capital city, Kampala. Don’t ask if they were refunded the school fees after all it was a few days into the term, and if the reason for the indefinite suspension was proper.

Year in, year out, Bugema went for a huge number than its infrastructure cold hold. Congestion remains a challenge but Bugema has its simplest mechanism to curl out the huge number and that is indefinite suspension which is equally an expulsion. Alternative methods of disciplining are never employed more so for the A-Level students.

A student raising a simple complaint against the administration will automatically mean resistance. Not even dialogue is encouraged over very simple problems. On the other hand, the Seventh-day Adventist, Uganda Union, seems to act slow on matters arising from its institutions as well as appreciate and implement some recommendations from former students.

Today, A-level teachers have a hectic time balancing the many classes which will slowly impact on the results. What is the essence of having more than 200 A-level students yet 50 of them can’t join credible universities across the country? What defines “quality” education?

Getting back to the shooting incidence, the school should try to reach the real cause and not only put records straight but act accordingly. Is the problem emanating from the administration or the students?

Students have been sent home as they await "issues" to be addressed.

For the better of the institution (Bugema), I suggest change from the top administration and reduced intake, or if business is the catch word then improve the services through the quality expansion of infrustructure.

posted by ombui at 10:58 AM | Permalink | 4 comments
Why Kenya National Human Rights Commission published the list of post poll chaos suspected master minder?

NAIROBI, Kenya - This month the Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KNHRC) unleashed a list of perpetrators of the post election violence but little did it anticipate the magnitude of the attack from the political circle.

Though the commission categorically stated that the named to be under investigation; it was blamed for carelessly publishing names without prove. So far, some of the named have threatened to sue the commission.

The list is a mix of Members of Parliament, former Members of Parliament and Businessmen.

But what is the significance of the KNHRC publishing names of what it calls master minders of the post poll chaos? Unless otherwise, I believe the published list is purely to give a soft landing to the WAKI LIST that the International Criminal Court, Chief Prosecutor, Moreno O’campo opened recently and tightly sealed again.

Last year after the disputed presidential poll results more than 1,500 citizens were killed and close to half a million were displaced within the country while a small percentage fled to Uganda. Today no one has been brought to book for the killings, rapes, looting and a fraction of internally displaced persons languish in camps.

The debate to reach justice spurs three options The Hague, the Special Local Tribunal and the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission. A close look suggests that all will be employed and for the better, the International Criminal Court will speed up its investigations and prosecutions to light its efficacy.

This week the appointed to serve in the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission will be sworn into office, and to be chaired by Ambassador Betwel Kiplagat.

Now the only struggle that the Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo face is to convince parliament that if the special local courts are set they will deliver justice and away interferences. On top of that work on the witness protection Act.

For the common Mwananchi, it will be proper to see the named in the Waki list resign from government and parliament to pave way for investigations or answer charges.

posted by ombui at 10:56 AM | Permalink | 0 comments
Notes of a young Journalist (Three)

Five days later I entered my house on the second floor after the painting and the fixing missing little things the previous occupant had messed.

The empty huge single bedroom house swallowed up my belongings. From then, my brain started running wild of ideas of how to get the beautiful curtains, a big metallic bed, a 21 inch flat television, classy sofa set… All that wasn’t backed by the pockets.

I untied the tiny military thin mattress and threw it in a corner of the bedroom. Pilled clothes on the wardrobe shelves; I had no hunger, and pushed the suitcase above the wardrobe.

The remaining task was to open the box full of literature and shoes. The offloaded shoes were on the wardrobe already had cobwebs, and cockroaches that ran faster than my swinging eye pupil.

My sitting room door and window had no curtain. It is only the bedroom that got lucky to have my Kikoi spread across covering a bigger part of the window but the remaining bit continued penetrate light into the house more so the sunrise rays.

The kitchen was smelling paint and filled with old newspapers. I added a plastic cup on the bare shelves.

Stepping into the 1X3 metres bathroom I hanged the towel and checked the toilet flash just to prove it functioned well. I picked an old broom from there and swept the house and later socked a grey t-shirt and dragged it to mop up.

Shortly Baix came in surprised of what I had done in a short while. In his hand, he held two bed sheets and he suggested we fix them as curtains on the sitting room which we did.

We later went to the balcony and talked the entire day sipping coca cola. A good style to catch-up with memories, and build up on the future on a Saturday afternoon.

posted by ombui at 10:53 AM | Permalink | 0 comments
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Notes of a young Journalist (Two)
Sunday 5:30am clicked as I drop off Kampala Coach Bus offices at River Road. Memories of how notorious Nairobi thugs never bothered me. Courageously I moved across the road to negotiate with a taxi driver and picked the luggage to a suburb, Kasarani.

A turn off the sixth round-about, I asked the driver to go slow through erected storey residentials as I made a call to a friend.

Surely, I had all reasons to forget this hood because I am not a city born, but arguing about African cities the difference is minor – I have lived in the Uganda’s capital for more than five years in m. So I know Kampala more than Nairobi.

Anyway, he (Baix) popped a block away from where we had parked the car, “Oh! I was close,” I sighed. We hugged; it was six years since we met.

We reached the flat’s gate and dropped my luggage and cashed Kshs. 700 to the mean-looking driver who had played gospel music along the way, and kept telling me about Jesus who happened to be his savior and redeemer. I wish he knew how tired I was to remember anything substantial.

We lifted a meter wide black Japan made suitcase loaded with clothes, and later lifted a box full of books and a few shoes into Baix house.

Baix hadn’t changed. He was still slender and of light complexion. His charming talk too across the board had grown; politics to religion, academics to rugby, and women to prosperity.

After a shower I was served breakfast and dosed on the sitting room couch only to be woken up by the 9pm television news signature, but I didn’t last long my eyes open.

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posted by ombui at 4:26 AM | Permalink | 0 comments