What you need to know:
- In recent weeks, online conspiracy theories conflating child sexual abuse at boarding schools in Uganda with consensual same-sex acts between adults have reached fever pitch.
Hundreds of parents with children at PMM Girls’ School in Jinja City on Friday stormed the school, protesting against the alleged existence of a teacher promoting homsexuality.
The angry parents, who were blocked from entering the school, were demanding for the release of their children in school dormitories after several social media reports accused the teacher of spoiling their daughters.
Ms Edith Mutesi, one of the parents, said she brought her daughter to the school to acquire knowledge not to engage in lesbianism.
“They are giving our daughters Shs100,000 each and we can’t accept that. We want authorities to open the gate and release our children,’’ she said on Friday.
Ms Khadijah Naimbwe, a parent of a Senior Two student, said: “I can’t accept my daughter to be indoctrinated into acts of lesbianism. I would rather take her to another school.’’
Ms Rose Kalembe, a social worker and a former student of the school, said the teacher should be suspended from school because she is “tarnishing its image”.
“I was here in the 1990s and had never heard of lesbian issues in this school. The suspected teacher was also a student in this school, and as Old Girls, we have to do something,’’ she said.
Ms Fazira Kawuma, the deputy mayor, who rushed to the school for intervention, said the leadership of Jinja City condemns acts of homosexuality and lesbianism, and appealed for zero tolerance towards the vice.
She described the parents’ acts as “justifiable”, and directed the District Service Commission to have the teacher banished from the school over alleged indiscipline.
She added: “The City Education Officer (Haruna Mulopa) should work with the District Service Commission to retire the alleged teacher; but I also appeal to parents to be calm as authorities find a solution amidst investigations.’’
Police led by Kiira Region Police Spokesman, Mr James Mubi, had been deployed at the school to prevent violence. Journalists were also barred from accessing the school premises to speak to authorities.
But later, Jinja leaders and school authorities were in a closed-door meeting, as parents vowed not to leave the school until they were given their children.
The development comes after thousands of Muslims in Jinja City last week joined their colleagues countrywide to hold demonstrations over homosexuality.
In recent weeks, online conspiracy theories conflating child sexual abuse at boarding schools in Uganda with consensual same-sex acts between adults have reached fever pitch.
Government last month set up a committee to investigate the alleged "promotion" of gay, lesbian and transgender rights in schools.
In 2014, a Ugandan court struck down a bill passed by MPs and signed by President Yoweri Museveni that sought to impose life imprisonment for homosexual relations.
The bill had prompted global outrage, with some donor nations cutting aid to the country following its passage through parliament.
On Wednesday, Speaker of Parliament Ms Anita Among said: "We want to appreciate our promoters of homosexuality for the socio-economic development they have brought to the country... but we do not appreciate the morals they are killing."
"We do not need their money, we need our culture," she added, before, hours later, granting Bugiri Municipality MP, Asuman Basalirwa leave to table the anti-homosexuality Bill.
Under colonial-era laws, homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda but since independence from Britain in 1962 there has never been a conviction for consensual same-sex activity.