Buganda, Kooki in competition to rebuild burnt school dormitory

The burnt dormitory at St Bernard’s Mannya SS.

A plan to rebuild a Senior Three dormitory at St Bernard’s-Mannya SS, which was burnt last month, has drawn competition between Kooki chiefdom and Buganda government.

The two institutions have so far become the biggest contributors towards the rebuilding process. However, it appears as though the two institutions are using the contributions to display superiority over the other.

The fire incident occurred on November 11, leaving 10 students dead and the dormitory block in ruins. After the incident, Kooki chiefdom officials, headed by Kamuswaga Apollo Ssansa Kabumbuli II, offered 50 bags of cement and promised to contribute more towards the reconstruction process.

However, on November 27, Buganda premier Charles Peter Mayiga visited the school amid protests by subjects from the two institutions. Kamuswaga had attempted to block Mayiga’s visit, saying he did not notify Kooki officials.

At the school, Mayiga pledged to offer 100 bags of cement and 100 iron sheets. Following the pledge, Buganda subjects turned rowdy and asked the school administrators to throw Kamuswaga’s cement away, which the school declined.

Recently, a delegation from Mengo, led by Joseph Kawuuki,the Buganda minister for local government, delivered the pledged items to the school. Henry Nsubuga, the school headmaster, received the items and thanked the Buganda government for responding to their cry for help.

Currently, the dormitory is still sealed off as a crime scene. However, Nsubuga said they had written to the Police over the rebuilding plans. He said they were planning to begin construction during holidays so that the dormitory is completed by the start of the new term.

Mary Ssemusu Nassejje, a board member, said the school had also received contributions from other well-wishers. St Mary’s Sanje SS contributed 20 bags of cement, while St Cecilia Buyamba donated 10 mattresses.

Nassejje said engineers and planners had inspected the building and drawn up new plans for the structure. Emilian Kayima, the Police spokesperson, said investigations into the case may take a little while and no one was allowed to access the restricted area.