The Microfinance Support Center-MSC has sealed off Mukono 5 Star primary, which belongs to the Uganda Methodist Church at Mpoma in Nama sub-county in Mukono district. MSC accuses the school management of failure to pay back a loan of Shillings 300million.
Apparently, the Headteacher, Innocent Stephen Bwire has been conducting lessons at his home neighbouring the school. Some parents have since withdrawn their children from the embattled school. Bwire says that some parents have declined to relocate their children to other schools, which has forced them to conduct lessons under trees, tents and the veranda.
He has also partitioned his four-bedroomed house to serve as a dormitory for the learners. The school enrollment has dropped from over 300 pupils to 67. Bwire says they are currently struggling since important materials such as desks, blankets, mattresses, stationery and various study materials were locked in classes.
Information obtained from the MSC shows that Elizabeth Wandabula, the wife of the Bishop of the Methodist Church through De Jolisa Uganda limited, a development organization obtained a loan of Shillings 300 million to setup up a poultry farm and used the title of the school land comprising Kyaggwe Block 97, Plot 2936 measuring 2.2170 hectares as collateral security.
Belinda Atim, the MSC Spokesperson, says that De Jolisa has adamantly failed to service the loan as agreed until last year when MSC decided to sell off the property to recover its money. “We gave them enough time to pay back after they failed to respect the terms of the agreement. Last year, we followed the right procedure, which includes advertising to sell the property to reclaim our money,” Atim says.
Currently, MSC has fenced off the entire school premises to restrict access to unauthorised persons. However, Bishop Wandabula claims the move is illegal, saying that the matter is pending a hearing before the high court. Some of the church leaders are not happy with the dispute between their top leaders and the government agency (MSC).
Manashe Toko, the Dean of Uganda Methodist Church, says it does not make sense for the government to confiscate church property instead of dealing directly with the individuals who took the loan.
Court has set February 28th, 2022 to hear the case filed by the United Methodist church challenging the school takeover.
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