The head teacher of Kabojja Junior School Mr. Richard Okiror has refuted all the allegations labelled against the institution of disobeying the directives that were issued by President Museveni on the containment and prevention of COVID-19.
“The truth is we closed the school on Thursday 19th earlier than the day the president had directed because we wanted our teachers also to go and pick their children with a settled mind in the boarding schools where they are studying from. We didn’t disobey the president,” Okiror said.
His comments came shortly after Kiira Road police stormed the school and apprehended 21 teachers from the institution and 53 teachers of Daffodils primary school accusing them of disobeying Presidential directives to close all schools, in the wake of a Coronavirus.
In a phone interview with ,The Sunrise ,Okiror said: “I told my teachers that since we have got an abrupt closure of the school, I asked them to come back and organise their property, classes and lock up the rooms on Monday 23rd (Today) because I didn’t want to see a disorganised school,”
Okiror said that he further instructed some other non-teaching staff to also come and clean up the institution in order to leave the place tidy.
“I was surprised to see the DPC Kira storming the school with his men. I tried to explain to him, little did I know that he had already instructed his men to close our gate and he refused to listen to me,” he narrated.
Okiror admitted that indeed children were found at school but these pupils were for his staff and there was nothing like studies ongoing at the institution.
“Its true children were at school but they were for our staff and they were not many because they were only five children. Honestly I don’t know why teachers came with them at school,” he said.
He also noted that following the school culture, he instructed some of his teachers to come to school and prepare some holiday work for the children to keep them busy during this period.
“Some teachers came to prepare holiday work for our children who are at home redundant and I had communicated to the parents to come and pick that work on 27th Friday March. We also wanted mid-term results to be posted to the parents using their email address,” he said.
Mr. Kambale Abdallah, a teacher at the same school said: “in fact we were not teaching. We broke off on Thursday so we came back because our children had done mid-term exams, we were also preparing some work so that we send them together mid-term results to the parents online,”
He reiterated that the main purpose of appearing at the institution despite the president directives was to organise some holiday work for their pupils.
“That’s what we were doing there, all the teachers who were found at school, they were not teaching. They had come purposely to prepare some work for these kids who are at home,” he added.
The president last week ordered all schools to close whereas any political, social, cultural or any other form of gatherings were also banned for a period of 32 days to avoid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Currently, Uganda has 9 positive cases of the virus that wants to wipe humanity from the face of mother earth.
The deputy spokesperson Kampala Metropolitan Police, Luke Owoyesigyire confirmed that only five children were found at Kabojja Junior, and that preliminary reports indicate that they had come for interviews.
“We found 53 teachers gathered At Daffodil whereas at Kabojja Junior School, there were 21 teachers and five pupils,” Owoyesigyire said.
He added: “Teachers and parents have all written statements and are currently held at Kiira Road. After they have all written statements, police will caution and let them go,” Owoyesigyire noted.
He further warned all school owners to close the premises and not to allow any parents; teachers or students including those looking to fetch homework from teachers should not be allowed.
Let us all remain vigilant as police operations continue. We as police do not go looking for news, but concerned citizens call us. Wherever we are called, we shall come and arrest the school heads and teachers so they can face the wrath of the law.”
He explained that it is in the interest of the citizens’ health that they avoid gatherings which would be a fertile ground for the coronavirus to spread.
Consequently, the Inspector General of Police, John Martins Okoth Ochola ordered all police commanders and units to ensure they enforce Museveni’s order with immediate effect.
“The guidelines must be enforced with immediate effect. All units must ensure compliance. Ensure all religious gatherings and places of worship are closed,” Ochola’s message through AIGP Brig. Jack Bakasumba, the Chief of Joint Staff read in part.