St Joseph Vocational School in Mbarara closed after student strike

Police closed St Joseph Vocational School in Mbarara town on Saturday night following a strike by students following their disqualification from a football match.
The students had earlier gone to take part in a football match against Nyamitanga Secondary School in the ongoing Coca-cola Post primary in the greater Mbarara region.
“The principal indirectly got our school disqualified because he doesn’t like us to play sports. Some of our colleagues actually cried because they practiced a lot for this game only to be told they couldn’t play,” said one of the older students.

He added: “We were dying to play against our opponents because they had beaten us before, but all our hopes were dashed by the manager’s assumption that he was helping by getting us disqualified.”
The students accused their headmaster, Reverend Father Godwin Muhangi, of conspiring with the referees after they were allegedly delayed at the rally.

“We were told to go to the playing field at Kakiika at 9am after holding an assembly, however, upon arrival we received information that we were disqualified for arriving late as the game was due to start. at 8 a.m.,” said another senior student at the school. .
He added: “We found the team we were supposed to play with to qualify for the semi-finals who were already playing. That’s when we knew it was the manager’s plan because that he had sabotaged almost all sporting activities, including basketball.
One of the parents we found choosing his child criticized the school administration for allowing students to reach the level of protest.
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“I’m an old boy at this school but issues like these shouldn’t be missed by the administration. He can do better, I’m so disappointed I have to say,” he said.
However, other students accused the police of stepping up the strike after officers allegedly fired bullets to disperse students who had gone to meet the Archbishop of Mbarara.
“The problem got worse when the police came and wanted to beat us again, even though we were already in school. They had already kicked us out of the archdiocese where we had gone to tell the archbishop that we no longer wanted the director,” said another student.
With the help of the police, the principal suspended all the students to allow investigations into the case.

“The school has been temporarily closed until further notice due to the strike where school structures were damaged. The students were asking to meet the Archbishop which was not possible and they became unruly and damaged school property,” said Rwizi region police spokesman Samson Kasasira.
Reverend Father Muhangi said he did not wish to comment on the case as it is under police investigation.
“The case is before the courts and the police, so I cannot comment at this time,” he said.

Over the past month, at least 29 schools have witnessed student strikes, resulting in the closure of about eight of them.

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