8 students arrested after a strike in Koboko Town College School

Police in Koboko District arrested 8 students of Koboko Town College School along with two other persons over a strike on the school premises.

The aftermath of the strike at the school

The two other persons who were arrested alongside the students are women from the neighbouring community who were involved in vandalising college property.

The strike began last Friday night after the school administration suspended one of their colleagues following an altercation with one of the police officers deployed on the school premises.

According to police, the striking students burnt the food store, destroyed the gentlemen's lavatories and perimeter fence, smashed windows of the classrooms, computer lab, and part of the staffroom.

The arrested students and their two accomplices have been charged with damaging the school’s property, says West Nile police spokesperson Josephine Angucia.

According to Section 73 of Penal Code Act any persons who, being riotously assembled together, unlawfully damage any building, railway, machinery, structure or property commits a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

The school headteacher Tom Obeti, the school management has chosen to indefinitely close the college in order to pave way for investigations into the strike and to enable the management to chart a way forward in order to avoid such incidences in future.

Strikes have become a fixture in schools in West Nile ever since the new term began, on Thursday last week, at around 12 am, students of Odravu Secondary School in Yumbe district went on strike and burnt one of the grass thatched dormitories.

In the past month, eleven strikes have been reported across secondary schools in the West Nile sub-region.

Strikes are becoming a handy tool for students across the country in expressing their grievances.

Only last week, tear gas and gunfire shook up Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Mbarara City as students rioted over the lack of proper washroom facilities and internet.

Several students burned car tyres around the main hostels and others were involved in running battles with the police as they chanted about the university’s “poor policies”.

There was the issue of systems development in academic register’s office they explained to us. But then you realise that somebody got a CGPA of 4.2 and then suddenly these results change and somebody has 3.9. Like how? Some had their results corrected but the majority have failed to be worked on. Why?” said Justus Kizito Mugyenyi. the Guild President of MUST.

GPAs may be calculated at the end of a course, semester, or grade level, and a “cumulative GPA” or CGPA represents an average of all final grades individual students earned from the time they first enrolled in a school to the completion of their education.

Mugyenyi said they have spent four days without water in the washrooms the boy’s hostels.

We have only two functional toilets, we have only two functional washrooms…when you go to the faculty building it is worse. There no sockets in the faculty buildings, it’s now coming to three weeks without sockets. There’s no lighting,” he added.

Mugyenyi also complained about not being facilitated to do official work for the Guild Office on behalf of the university and the student body.

However, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of MUST Angella Nyakato said that “management and the leaders” had a meeting that ironed out many questions the students are striking about.

But, she added, even if you tell this to the students, they are so agitated that they “don’t want to know.”

Management is replacing the electricity lines that were vandalized, they are replacing the toilet facilities that were destroyed. It has taken for days, yes, but it is being handled,” said the PRO.

In 2019, lecturers unanimously agreed to lay down their tools until the vice-chancellor, Professor Celestino Obua, stepped down.

The lecturers accused Obua of a lack of transparency and allegedly embezzling funds meant for the operations of the university.

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