Jinja. Fire yesterday gutted four dormitories at Jinja Progressive Secondary School in Jinja Town, destroying property worth millions of shillings.
The fire, which broke out at around 8.30 a.m. as most of the students were sitting for their end of term examinations, destroyed properties of about 300 male students.
The affected students in the burnt dormitories were from Senior Two, Senoir Three, Senior Four and Senior Six.
The director of the school, Mr Swaibu Kitezaala, declined to talk about the extent of the damage, but a few students who talked to Daily Monitor said they lost all their books, clothes, mattresses and beddings.
“We have lost everything right from books to clothes. Even the beds on which we have been sleeping were not spared by the fire which also swept through the iron sheets and brought the entire roof down ,” one student said.
Mr. Simon Muyuuka, who helped the school authorities to put out the fire, blamed Police Fire Brigade for taking long to respond to the distress calls.
“The Fire brigade took too long to come. May be government should provide fire engines to schools that have big student population because they cannot rely solely on the police,” he said.
The cause of the fire had not been established by the time of filing this report.
But Jinja District Police Commander, Mr Apollo Kateeba, told Daily Monitor that police are investigating reports that some students were mobilising their colleagues to strike and burn down the school.
“The cause of the fire isn’t yet clear, but we have information that in some schools, including Jinja Progressive, there are groups of students calling themselves “Team No Sleep, Team No Stress”, whose plan is to burn schools and incite others to strike.” he said.
In 2013, more than 15 schools across the country had their operations paralysed by student strikes, ending up in their closure.
In Jinja, there were strikes in Kiira College, Butiki, Busoga College, Mwiri and Jinja College.
teachers on the payroll.
The Permanent Secretary also directed all those who took money to return it before December He added that after the clean-up of the payroll, the ministry will evaluate the district chairperson’s request as another effort to detect theft.
Acting CAO Iga Mukasa revealed that so far, 183 teachers have confessed having benefitted from the scam, which went on for more than 14 months. A total of 282 head teachers and teachers have been cited in the scam.
Wakiso RDC Ian Kyeyune also asked the permanent secretary to use “an iron hand” when cleaning the payroll system and promised to cooperate with the CAO during investigations.
He also asked all those who connived in the theft to vacate their offices before they are singled out. “We are working hard to make sure all these people bring back the money before December,” he said.