The Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP), Betty Aol Ochan has tasked government to immediately release a report on the various fires that have gutted different schools since 2008.
The LOP made the call while responding to a statement by the Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni which was read to the House by the State Minister, John Chrystom Muyingo over the tragic fire outbreak at St. Bernard Secondary School in Rakai district on Sunday.
The fire which is believed to have been started by arsonists has so far killed 11 students dead while over 50 others are nursing injuries.
Ochan noted that Parliament and the public have continued to receive statistics of deaths resulting from school fires but no investigative reports have been shared with the House and the general public to allow for the interventions required to deal with the problem.
“The Minister is tempting us to say that without reports of the recent fires, she has no business in this House. She should resign. Why do we have to investigate if the reports can not be brought to the public? We have had fires since 2008,” Ochan submitted in Parliament on Tuesday.
However, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga immediately stopped the debate, saying that the matter is still a subject of an investigation.
In the statement to the House, the Education Minister noted that preliminary reports indicate that the suspected cause of the fire was arson as per the details of the case reported to Mannya Police Post under SD REF 03l4lllll2018 adding that investigations into the incident have commenced.
The number of dead students was, by yesterday, confirmed to be nine (9) while a total of forty (40) students escaped with injuries, of varying degrees and are hospitalized in various health facilities.
The deceased S.3 students, whose remains were taken to Masaka Regional Referral Hospital for post mortem and DNA tests are; Lutaya Geofrey, Tamale Lemegious, Suuna Charles, Ssekitende Antonio, Nsubuga Sam, Kasozi Emmanuel, Bukenya Timothy, Dodiye Sharif and Basita Moris.
Minister Muyingo said that the Ministry of Education, the Uganda Police Force, security agencies and local community have been working together to contain the distressing situation and reassure parents and the community.
“The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet K. Museveni, together with the technical team from the Ministry of Education and Sports visited the school and held a meeting with the parents and the local community to console them and convey government’s sympathy to the bereaved families,” the statement read in part.
Muyingo said the Ministry of Education condemns such barbaric acts that put lives of our children in danger.