Mistrust, infighting leaves 60-year-old Luweero government school dilapidated

Bombo SS Old students inspect a dilapidated Kitchen structure last month. PHOTOS | DAN WANDERA

What you need to know:

  • The school head teacher Hajji Muhammad Bisaso Ntamu, who partly blames the disturbing trends at his school on unresolved management disagreements beyond his control, is quick to task the Old Students to play their part to redeem their school.

In what appears to be a long standing rift between the school board of governors and the administration, Bombo Secondary School has failed to attract government grants for rehabilitation and lost more than 90 acres of titled piece of land to encroachers.

Bombo Secondary School Head teacher Hajji Muhammad Bisaso Ntamu who partly blames the disturbing trends at his school on unresolved management disagreements beyond his control is quick to task the Old Students to play their part to redeem their school.

“We need to take into account that this school was affected by both the 1979 liberation war and the early 1980s liberation wars with no single major government intervention up to now. But we have also had too much conflict within our school,” he said at the Bombo SS Old Students Reunion on October 7, 2023.

If you want assistance from the government, then you need to be organized and discard conflicts. At one time, a school truck that had been allocated to Bombo SS by the Ministry of Education was later given to a different school because of the confusion and conflicts that existed at this school in the late 1980s. The conflicts have not just started, but have lived with the school for a long time,” Mr Bisaso told the old students.

Old students inspect a dilapidated science laboratory.

Mr Abdallah Kamila, the Chairperson of the Finance Committee of the Board of Governors at Bombo SS is equally disturbed that while the school through one of the former head teachers acquired a titled 100 acre piece of land located in Bombo Town Council, the land has been grabbed and now occupied by encroachers.

“Nobody cared to make a follow up on this land to secure the land through boundary opening and utilization. The school has almost lost this prime land to encroachers. The school buildings including the library, kitchen, classroom blocks, and toilets are all in a sorry state. We must arrest the situation as old students of the school, he told the Old Students Reunion on October 7, 2023 at the school compound.

Hajji Sulaiman Habibu, a former head teacher at Bombo SS between 1989 and 2002 explains that he championed the purchase of the 100 acres of  land and ensured that the school paid all the money before the title was handed over for safe custody at the school.

“We believed in the future expansion and establishment of projects for the school at the time.

“Because Bombo SS used to produce sports giants for the country, we had hoped to have a sports complex at the school among other projects. It is unfortunate that this land is nowhere now. Let us hope that the land can be redeemed because it was already titled,” he revealed

It is also true that for the more than 13 years that I was a head teacher , the infighting among some members within the school management did not spare me. We produced some of the sports giants in the country amid the internal struggles Hajji Sulaiman adds in an interview.

Declining student population, academics;

While the school had an estimated population of 1,300 students and was counted among the best performing schools in Luweero District 10 years ago, the population has reduced to 717 students.

The school  has 64 teachers out of the 73 teachers on government payroll, the academic performance has greatly declined in the last four years. It  had more than 30 ungraded results out of the more than 120 students that sat for the 2022 Uganda Certificate of Education  exams, the Old students revealed.

Mr Yusuf Sebi Kelli, an elder with a rich history of the school says that a section of the Bombo community members wanted to own up the school and run it as a family business ,but failed. They have fought internal battles with many of the head teachers posted at the school by the government. They have not added any value to the school, he said.

The hope

The Bombo SS Old students that convened at the school on October 7, 2023 to elect new office bearers for the Bombo Old Students Association (BOSA) believe that the hope to revive the lost glory at the school is not lost. Mr Sam Opio was elected as the new Chairperson of the Old students while Dr Rebecca Nakiwala is the vice Chairperson.

There are hundreds of professionals that went through Bombo SS and are willing to map out strategies, raise funds for projects and lobby the government in the rehabilitation of the dilapidated structures.

“We have come back as old students and will be part of the new strategies. It is unfortunate that Bombo SS has gone through many internal disagreements that have almost ruined the school’s progress over the years,” Mr Abdallah Kamila, an old student and now a member of the Board of Governors reveals.