Sheema Christians take diocese fight to schools

Wednesday August 26 2015

Some of the Christians who attended the meeting

Some of the Christians who attended the meeting at St Emmanuel Church of Uganda, Kabwohe Sub-county in Sheema District, on Saturday. PHOTO BY ZADOCK AMANYISA. 


Sheema. Christians in Sheema District, who have been at loggerheads with the West Ankole Diocese Bishop Yona Mwesigwa Katoneene, have begun a fresh move they say will redeem the poor management of Church of Uganda-founded secondary schools in the district.
This comes two months after the takeover of Ankole Western Institute of Science and Technology (AWIST) by the Church of Uganda commission for higher education to normalise the situation. The Christians have been unhappy with the plan to move the institute from Kabwohe in Sheema District to Katungu Town in Bushenyi Municipality.
During a meeting at St Emmanuel Church of Uganda, Kabwohe, on Saturday, the Christians said after fighting to keep their university at Kabwohe, a war they claim they have won, they now want to restore the lost glory of the Church-founded schools, whose academic performance they claim is on a downward spiral.
The Christians accuse Bishop Katoneene of personalising the schools board of governors and management committees by dictating on who should be a member since he has an oversight role over the institutions.
While presenting a report on their activities to the meeting, Mr Edison Mubangizi, the chairman of the “Concerned Christians”, said Church-founded schools, including Nganwa High School, Masheruka Girls’ Seconday School, Rweibare Seconday School, Kyangyenyi High School, Bugongi Secondary School, Kibingo Girls School and Butsibo Secondary School, have been led by boards which were selected by the bishop. They said he appointed non-qualified people without sufficient knowledge on education and management. This, they claim, has contributed to the poor performance in examinations by students.
“A school cannot perform well when the leadership is incompetent. It is now time to fight for our schools, otherwise they are in a sorry state and we must restore their lost glory,” Mr Mubangizi said.
However, West Ankole Diocesan secretary, the Rev Canon Arthur Atwine, told Daily Monitor on Sunday it is the diocesan education board that affirms school board members, whose names are forwarded by government, founding bodies and Parent Teachers’ Associations, but not the bishop. “The people who sit on school boards are carefully scrutinised by the relevant authorities to spearhead educational standards and to that effect, they must be qualified. We have not allowed unqualified people to head our schools,” the Rev Can Atwine said.

The fights
On May 30, a section of Christians from Sheema District announced they had seceded from West Ankole Diocese to form Central Ankole Diocese, accusing Bishop Katoneene of crippling development in the district. In response, Bishop Katoneene said that resolution was wishful thinking of some politicians in Sheema intending to cause bad blood between the diocese and the flock in the district and would not be allowed at whatever cost.