Over 2,000 evicted learners miss school

Pupils report at Bukinda Primary School last week. PHOTO/ALEX TUMUHIMBISE

What you need to know:

  • About 10,000 families were in 2020 evicted from the land that reportedly belonged to Kyangwali refugee settlement camp

About 2,000 learners are stranded after their families were evicted from a disputed piece of land in Kikuube District.
About 10,000 families were in 2020 evicted from the land that reportedly belonged to Kyangwali refugee settlement camp.

They were later temporarily resettled in villages of Mukyeya, Mukayaga, Kanara, and Katoma.
Mr Paul Magezi, a Primary Seven pupil, said the nearest school in Kyangwali Sub-county is more than 20 kilometres away.
 “When we reached here, we never found any nearby school. We are now stranded,” he said.
Another student said she attempted to walk from Mukanara Village to Bukinda Primary School, the only government school, but spent about five hours on the road.

 ‘‘I set off at 6am and I reached school at 10am. This long journey is not favouring me as a girl child. The roads are bushy and I fear to be raped on the way,’’ she said.
 Mr Wycliffe Akampurira, a parent, said he has lost hope of taking his children back to school. 
“We have nowhere to take children who are supposed to join Primary One and nursery section. Some well-wishers had started schools around the area, but they collapsed during Covid-19 pandemic. Our children cannot walk this long distance to a school in Bukinda which is about 20 kilometres away,’’ Mr Akampurira said.

Mr David Byamugisha, the head teacher of Bukinda Primary School, said there are many school dropouts due to long distances.
 ‘‘This school enrollment has reduced from 488 pupils before Covid-19 to 200.We have also changed from the time of starting class hours from 8am because some pupils no longer manage time because of long distance,” he said.

 The Kikuube District chairperson, Mr Peter Banura, said it is unfortunate that pupils have spent one week without going to school.
‘‘We have only one government primary school of Bukinda which is in a distant place and some children who are vulnerable cannot manage to walk long distances daily,” he said.
Mr Banura said district leaders are lobbying the central government to build another school in their area.
                    

The disputed land

The disputed land in Kyangwali refugee settlement where more than 10,000 households were evicted measured 36 square kilometres.
 The residents were evicted from 31 villages which include Bukinda A and B, Bukinda 2, Kavule, Bwizibwera A and B, Kyeya A and B, Nyaruhanga, Kabirizi, Nyamigisa A and B and Katoma among others.
Last year in October, Prime Minister Robinah Nabanjja visited the evicted people and halted the resettling of the refugees until the matter is resolved.

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