Students of Kabale Technical Institute on Wednesday stormed the Kabale Municipality Headquarters demanding transfer of their Principal Eng. Francis Tibemanya.
Kabale Technical Institute is the only Government aided Vocational Institute in Kabale Municipality, and it is directly supervised by Kabale Municipal Council.
Commanded by the Guild Leadership , the students carried placards with written grievances against the Principal and matched to the Kabale Municipality Headquarters, to seek redress from the Town Clerk and the Principal Education Officer.
Among their grievances against Tibemanya was the alleged demand for Shs. 150,000 meant for Training materials such as Iron sheets, water pipes, among others , which were never bought for use.
They also accused the Principal of using rudimentary means of chasing away Students who had not cleared school fees, abusive language and harassment of teaching staff/ instructors
Kabale Technical Institute Guild President Miracle Tayebwa said the Principal had resorted to using Police Operatives dressed in civilian attire to mingle with students and aquire information meant to help them know what they talk about him in his absence.
“On Sunday night , we saw new people in the main hall as we were watching, and we thought they were thieves. The Guild defense Minister asked who they were and they lied that they were new students. However, we knew that the Institute had not received new students for the last week. When we interrogated them more, they turned violent and revealed their true identity. We asked them to go and dress in Police Uniform, which they did. Now they are there with their guns, roaming around the school,” Tayebwa said.
Kabale Technical Institute Female Affairs Minister, Pamela Amumpeire said that the Principal Francis Tibemanya had turned into a “dictator and first degree embezzler”.
“On top of being corrupt, our Principal does not see us as people. He sees us as rubbish. Sometimes he comes to chase for school fees and says, ‘you people from cursed families, go and sell all your goats, hens and bring me the money. I’m helping you by feeding you, but you must pay to help me continue doing that’, ” said Amumpeire.
Kabale Technical Institute Guild Speaker , Miracle Ainembabazi says they had tried engaging the Principal at Guild leadership level, but he kept accusing them of being used by the Instructors who didn’t want to respect his office.
“When we approached him for dialogue, he abused us right away, accusing us of being used by rebellious instructors,” Ainembabazi said.
The Guild Speaker added that they had witnessed Mr. Tibemanya physically mistreating instructors.
“One of the instructors for plumbing, was in class and received a phone call, then he started talking. When the Principal saw it as he was passing by, he came to class and grabbed the man by the collar and threw him outside ,” said Ainembabazi.
The speaker said they were at Kabale Municipal Council to demand for a new Principal with new Character/Behavior.
While addressing the KTI Guild Leaders in his office yesterday, Mr. Grace Munyambabazi, Kabale Municipality Principal Education Officer, said he was not going to address the students as they demanded. He however told the Guild Leaders that they held a meeting on 6th March 2023 to discuss the matter with the Board of Governors, at the Institute.
“One of the solutions proposed by the Board was that the Principal should step aside, give way for Investigation, as we look for a long lasting solution. I personally endorsed the idea. The minutes are here if you want to look at them,” Munyambabazi said.
He however said that it was the role of the Chairperson Board of Governors or someone delegated by him to give an official Communication about the Meeting’s resolution.
In an interview with our reporter , the KTI Principal Tibemanya said that the Chaos at the institute was being fuelled by a section of instructors who were insubordinate to him.
” There’s a group of instructors who have completely refused to attach Importance to office of the Principal. They do everything according to their own instinct and personal interests,” he said.
Mr. Tibemanya said that trouble started when the “rebellious” instructors decided to enroll at University for further studies without his knowledge, and in the due course, abandoned the teaching time table .
” I started observing that students were failing exams at an alarming rate. When I asked why, some students told me that the instructors were not teaching . I made further Investigation, and discovered that the instructors were skipping classes to attend their own classes at University. When I asked them why they had done all that without my knowledge, they claimed that they were not sure of how I would respond .”
He added that after realizing their mistake and knowing that he would report them to the Government authorities, the instructors started finding ways of sabotaging him by inciting student violence against him.
“They knew that it was time to pay for their sins, and that’s why they started inciting all this violence against me. However, I have already written to the Ministry, explaining what they have done and what they are doing. The students are telling lies that have been properly cooked by their instructors. They (students) are being used,”Tibemanya said.
Meanwhile, the latest students’ strike came just a day after the board meeting that was chaired by the institution board chairperson, Eudiah Mutabazi , attended by the assistant commissioner in charge of vocational education and training, Eddy Turyatemba. The Kabale Municipal Education Officer told this Media house that he was shocked to learn that his office was not notified about the meeting. Mr. Munyambabazi said the Kabale District RDC who had been intervening in the school chaotic situation for long, had also been left out.
Our reporter reached out to the assistant commissioner in charge of vocational education and training, Eddy Turyatemba for comment, and he called for calmness from the students saying he had gathered the facts about the source of conflicts at Kabale Technical Institute which he was yet to share with other officials from the ministry of Education and sports to pave a way forward.
Efforts by our reporter to get a comment from the Board Chairperson of Kabale Technical Institute Eudiah Mutabazi were futile as she didn’t pick nor return any of the repeated phone calls.
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