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Rev Mugabo caught up in govt, church fight over SMACK headteacher appointment

Rev. Bro Augustine Mugabo

Rev. Bro Augustine Mugabo

The controversial appointment of the next headteacher of St Mary’s College Kisubi (SMACK) has pitted the Kampala Archdiocese against ministry of Education and Sports.

Trouble started when the commissioner in charge of human resource management in the Education ministry, Ronald Ssekabembe Kiberu announced the transfer of Rev. Bro Augustine Mugabo from St Henry College Kitovu (SHACK) to SMACK on behalf of the permanent secretary.

The appointment came when the incumbent headteacher, Bro Deo Aliganyira, who has been at the helm of the school for seven years clocked the mandatory retirement age. In his letter, Ssekabembe ordered Mugabo to hand over office at St Henry’s and report to St Mary’s with immediate effect.

“In the interest of the service, it has been decided to deploy you to St Mary’s College Kisubi… by a copy of this letter, the chairperson board of governors, St Mary’s College- Kisubi Wakiso district is requested to accord you the necessary support in executing your duties,” the December 12 letter reads in part. 

Missionaries of Africa-commonly known as the White Fathers founded St Mary's College Kisubi in 1906. They handed over the school to Brothers of Christian Instruction locally referred to as Kisubi Brothers in 1926. SMACK is one of the government-aided schools that has remained under the realms of the Kampala Archdiocese through the Brothers of Christian Instruction.

One would expect that there wouldn't be any controversy in the appointment of the head teacher given that Bro. Mugabo is a member of the Brothers of Christian instruction, which is in charge of SMACK and SHACK. However, it is evident there are several interests at work. 

On December 15, preparations to welcome the new headteacher got into motion as the outgoing headteacher invited members of the board of governors to witness his handover. 

“You are cordially invited to attend the handover function for the outgoing board of governors to the new board and from the outgoing headteacher to the incoming headteacher on Tuesday 20th December at the college starting at 10:00 am.”  he wrote. 

However, the planned handover did not take place. Now, it turns out that a day before the function, Dr Paul Ssemogerere, the Archbishop of Kampala wrote to the Education minister Janet Kataha Museveni expressing his concerns noting that the decision to choose Bro Mugabo for the position was against an earlier search process for a head teacher.

“To my surprise, the appointment was made without notifying me and not following due process, which has been going on for months since March 2022,” the archbishop’s letter reads in part. 

Section 8 of the Education Act, which stipulates the responsibilities of the government towards grant-aided education institutions indicates it is responsible for appointing and deploying heads (headteachers, deputies) but it adds that this must be done in consultation with foundation bodies.

With the aforementioned section in mind, the archbishop added that as a foundation body for the school, they are recommending Bro. Simon Mpanga, who has been deputizing Bro Mugabo for the last six years to take over as the new headteacher.

The archbishop also argued that Mugabo’s leadership at this time is needed at the “highly esteemed” St. Henry College as it begins a new century of providing education. SHACK recently celebrated 100 years of existence. As the church tussles it out with the ministry, it has since gained backing from old boys (OBs), a powerful force in the institution. 

One of the OBs who talked to this reporter on condition of anonymity said that it was a sign of undermining for the government to pick a school head without consulting the church. 

"Actually, the designated individual might not be a problem for the school; he even belongs to the Brothers of Christian Instruction, but the ministry didn't follow the proper procedure,” he said adding that "....the foundation body may fail to work with someone whose arrival at the school came without their input, as he may also only listen to his singular appointing authority - ministry, and disregard the founding body - the church."

Another source in the church noted that the government has made appointments to church schools in the past without consulting them and that this time around the church believes the modus operandi needs to be checked. The source added that the late Archbishop Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga had expressed concern to the government about this issue to the point of threatening to revoke the aid agreements. 

When our reporter brought the issue to the attention of the relevant education authorities earlier this week, Dr John Chrysostom Muyingo, minister of state for Higher Education, stated that he "felt it was a minor matter that should not be blown out of proportion". 

Muyingo however, added that his senior minister, Ms Museveni, will soon resolve the issue. While making further follow-ups on the matter, our reporter talked to some technical officers at the ministry of Education. One of them said he was not in a position to give a comment at the moment as they were preparing for a top management meeting. 

It is not clear whether this matter is part of the agenda of the meeting or not. Bro. Mugabo, who is caught in the middle of the fight, says that he is waiting for a final communication from both authorities. In his redeployment letter, he had been told to conclude duties at SHACK and hand over the office in accordance with section F-d of the Uganda Public Standing Orders, 2021. 

"I'm not involved in anything that's happening. I'm not the appointing authority. I'm waiting for the results of the decisions made by the church and the ministry. I'm currently in Kitovu,” Mugabo, who was recently elected as the chairperson of secondary headteachers in Uganda told our reporter in a phone interview.

Battles over the nomination of headteachers between foundation bodies and the ministry are becoming more prevalent. At first, it was Muslims complaining that the ministry is going too far by appointing non-Muslims to lead their schools. As time passed by the Catholics and Anglicans also found themselves in a similar corner.

In the past, the government would deploy head teachers to the schools but they would be turned away by the foundation in preference for their own candidates. Similar rejections have been witnessed at Trinity College Nabbingo (Catholic Church) and Nabisunsa Girls School (Muslim). The very recent battle was witnessed at Gayaza high school in 2019. 

As Victoria Kisarale Serunkuma bid farewell to the school where she had spent 10 years, a clash between the Education ministry and the Namirembe diocese erupted over her successor. The ministry had appointed Robinah Kizito Katongole against the church’s preferred candidate Agatha Nakisekka Ssenyonjo. 

Given that both candidates were alumni of the school and had previously held positions as deputy headteachers in the same institution, the ministry and the Namirembe diocese reached a compromise and Kizito took the job. Given that the two potential headteachers for SMACK are both members of the same congregation, will the church compromise and let the ministry nominee head the school?

An answer to this query will be available soon.          

Comments

+2 #1 Akot 2022-12-23 15:35
Ugandans,

- NO to the tribalistic system of rule Museveni so
cleaverly put in place knowing it will make him
lifetime ruler & owns Uganda, then,

- UNITY will block & show Museveni way out!

Then you will have to put in place the kind of governance you want, even reinstate the tribalistic system, then make your stand with the outside world!

Even church leaders don't understand that the tribalistic system of rule is against God & humanity!

What is wrong with Ugandans, why ensure Uganda belongs to Museveni & family when all you need are;

Tribal leaders ensure Ugandeans are tribally divided powerless,

Mps fight one another to please Museveni!

So who is fighting Museveni?

Museveni, like demon rulers, live +90 years of age & never leave posts unless thrown out in UNITY by a people!!

How many Ugandanas of Musevedni's age still live, how & for how long?
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-4 #2 Frank Kags 2022-12-23 22:55
The archbishop is wrong in this case. He may not even be well informed of civil service promotion guidelines. Bro Mugabo being a headmaster at Kitovu in a substantive capacity can be transferred to Kisubi.

On the other hand for Bro Mpanga to become a headmaster at Kisubi or any other A-level Boarding secondary school he will have to be promoted to substantive headmaster and then posted to either Kisubi or any other A-level boarding secondary school.

And the promotion comes after meeting certain requirements which may include years of service as a teacher and deputy headteacher and passing the promotional exams. Otherwise if he is appointed headmaster at Kisubi, it has to be in an acting capacity and can be confirmed later if he meets the aforementioned requirements or else another one who already meets the requirements will be brought it after. At the moment Mugabo as a substantive headmaster is in U1 pay band, while Mpanga is in the U2 or U3 pay band.
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+4 #3 Mubiru 2022-12-23 23:42
As a proud former student of St Mary's College Kisubi I am disgusted at the wrangles etc affecting my beloved college.

The report accurately states that in 1906St. Mary's College was handed over to the Brothers of Christian Instruction.

During my time we never heard any person from the Ministry of Education interfering with the college administration. The severe problem to is NRM'S govt hallucinations of imagining that they have monopoly of intelligence to interfere in all areas including religious matters, transport business and all the sectors in Uganda

Once someone kneels before the President and begs him to rule forever he/she is made a minister.

They make themselves experts to lecture the real academic professional on the economy of Uganda. The self styled experts must leave St. MARY'S in the hands of well qualified people including the Archbishop of Kampala L MUSEVENI used to condem those dreamers who thought they had monopoly of intelligence. I supported him
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+2 #4 Lysol 2022-12-24 05:50
What an arrogant foolish looking individual! That Mugabo, for someone who does God"s work without any humility.
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+2 #5 jose 2022-12-24 07:12
Mugabo!! Aha even kitovu is too far are there no catholic schools in mbarara
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+6 #6 Ebmok 2022-12-24 09:07
Section 8 of the Education Act, which stipulates the responsibilities of the government towards grant-aided education institutions indicates it is responsible for appointing and deploying heads (headteachers, deputies) but it adds that this must be done in consultation with foundation bodies. CLEAR!!

I think the ministry is interested in collapsing these institutions which have run literally impeccable over a century. In a way, it is contemptuous to disregard the very code they agree too, they see collaboration as a cheap thing and they would rather stroke bad faith in order to start a chicken fight - someone is clearly acting like a big baby with a high office in the ministry. They're simply wasting our resources.

If anything, these centuries-old and still very high ranking institutions have something to teach these ministry babies about the way to run things.
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+3 #7 Dominic Bukenya 2022-12-24 19:19
The congregation of the Brothers of Christian Instructions is no different from the rest of Uganda namely regional and or ethnicity domination.

This has not been new to the congregation. IT has been been on since pre-independence times. Brothers from the Western Uganda aim to outshine the rest of the regions mainly those from the central from the positions of leadership within their backyard.

This is a known open secret amongst their former students and employees. It is a challenge the congregation leadership and think tank have to careful address for the future generations to come.
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-2 #8 kambarage 2022-12-25 03:04
Quoting Dominic Bukenya:


Brothers from the Western Uganda aim to outshine the rest of the regions mainly those from the central from the positions of leadership within their backyard.


Your submission means that the archbishop is pursuing your NUP-Buganda Nationalism agenda in these schools.

Brothers of Christian Instruction and Ministry of Education select school heads going by qualification. Bro Mugabo is currently the most qualified BCI staff to head the highest rated BCI school in Uganda.

His tribe does not matter. It is unfortunate that the archbishop is pursuing the NUP-Buganda agenda. Fortunately, PM Nabbanja told the current archbishop at PK Ssemo's burial that this agenda will kill the church in Buganda. Let's look on and see where this jealousy against Westerners will take the church.
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-1 #9 kambarage 2022-12-25 03:24
Quoting Mubiru:
As a proud former student of St Mary's College Kisubi I am disgusted at the wrangles etc affecting my beloved college.

The report accurately states that in 1906St. Mary's College was handed over to the Brothers of Christian Instruction.
The self styled experts must leave St. MARY'S in the hands of well qualified people including the Archbishop of Kampala L MUSEVENI used to condemn those dreamers who thought they had monopoly of intelligence. I supported him


So is the Archbishop more qualified to assess these Headteachers than the Commissioner of Secondary Education who effected the transfer?

The Commissioner appointed the most qualified Brother of Christian Instruction at the moment. The archbishop should not claim the right of appointing headteachers because they are under the Ministry.

He can only appoint them if he withdraws SMACK from Government.
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