Religious War Resumes in Sheema

A fresh row has erupted in Sheema district, buy more about this time over a government proposal to relocate one of its schools in the area.

The disagreement has been fueled by the district leadership seeking to relocate a government grant aided, ed St. William Secondary School Kiziba from its original location in Kiziba parish, adiposity Kagango Sub County to Ngoma which is about 3km away, in Sheema north constituency.

The school was opened in February 2010 as a co-educational school for boys and girls on the foundation of the Catholic Church which donated the land.

It was manned by a five member board of governors who included Mr. Leonard Ahimbisibwe, the former woman MP-Rosemary Nyakikongoro, Fr. Paul Byaruhanga, Mr. Venensio Natugumya, and Mr. Bonny Barinyenka.

The school was founded by the Catholic Archdiocese of Mbarara in cooperation with the community as a response to the needs of the children of Kagango Sub County.

Given the good partnership between the church and the government in education and active participation in the implementation of Universal Secondary Education programme in some of the schools, the Archdiocese showed no objection and the school was readied and leased for government aiding.

The founding board of governors, parents, and the community in 2015 requested the church to allow the school seek government grant aiding in order to promote accessible and quality educational services in the school.

In the school leasing letter signed by the His Grace, Paul K Bakyenga, the Mbarara Archdiocesan leader, the church was aware of the government conditions and it showed the willingness to oblige the government grant aid status.


The Sheema district local government in a letter dated 17th April 2015 to the Ministry of Education by the then LC5 chairman, Prof. Pastor Mugisha recommended that the school aid be granted.

Aware that Kagango Sub County has no government secondary school, Sheema local government recommended that St. William Secondary School Kiziba be taken for grant aiding as a seed school to the sub county.

It was also confirmed and documented by the Mbarara Archdiocese education secretary, Rev. Fr. Protase Rutaremwa that the church had offered five acres of land for expansion of the school.

“The land has no encumbrances whatsoever and has specifically been provided for educational development of the school,” he said

However a conflict has erupted since the beginning of this year over the alleged re-location of St. William SS to another site in Ngoma parish also in Kagango sub-county.

The Kagango sub-county LC3 chairperson, Mr. Ben Nshumbusha told Chimpreports that he has not received any official information about the re-location of St. William Secondary School from its current location.

He instead maintained that it is Ngoma secondary school that has written to his office requesting to be granted a government grant aided status showing it has also received enough land from the Church of Uganda.

“I remember we conducted a fundraising campaign for St. William Secondary School sometime back and a request to be made a government school status was made. That’s what I know about those schools. I have not received any information on the planned relocation of St. William,” Mr. Nshumbusha told us.

The school started in 2010 with a total of 200 students from senior one to senior four but the number has kept dropping.

It currently has an enrolment of 40 students with one candidate in senior four, also registered in another school according to the head teacher Mr. Deogratius Nyesiga.

“We don’t have a library, books are kept in my office, class rooms are dusty and we don’t access hydro electricity.” Said Mr. Nyesiga

There are only 12 teachers paid privately by the school which it gets from the fees paid by students. Each student pays 100,000 shillings per term.

The move by politicians to relocate the school has religious strings attached.

This is evidenced by the big number of Protestants surrounding the school who have ordered that the catholic school should be relocated to another place.

The transfer of St. William Secondary School comes at a time when there is a stand-off between Anglicans and Catholics in Sheema whose origin is the way 2016 elections were held in February.

During the general elections, some leaders in Sheema used religion to de-campaign others which raised conflicts along religious lines.

It is on these conflicts that misunderstandings have emerged with some people from different religious backgrounds being denied social services.

The transfer of the school has left questions on why it is being done without the approval of the local community and the Catholic Church which was instrumental in its establishment.

Another question is on the role of the Chairperson LC5, Mr. David Kabigumira who has been at the apex of religious clashes in the district.

According to a source that preferred anonymity, St. William Secondary School is being relocated on grounds that it has limited piece of land, has few students, poorly located plus other petty reasons like local politics.

It is alleged that the district administration has written to the education ministry to withdraw the first submission of requesting to be grant aided by government, turning tables to transferring it to Ngoma.

Efforts by Chimp reports to reach Mr. Kabigumira became hard as he could not answer our known repeated phone calls.

The Sheema district education officer, Mr. Esau Nshabirwe told Chimpreports that the relevant offices at the district have not committed themselves to relocate St. William Secondary School to Ngoma and if it is to be done, clear steps shall be followed.

He asked the politicians behind the relocation of the school to use relevant steps including writing to the Chief Administrative Officer and the district council and then get a complete stand of the school transfer if the motion is moved.

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