Thursday, 17 April 2008

School Fires become Common

Recently a number of lives have been lost in fire outbreaks in Ugandan schools. Just at the beginning of this week nineteen pupils of Budo Junior primary school lost their lives in a mysterious fire outbreak thet gutted their dormitory.

According to The New Vision, between 2000 and 2008, over 20 schools have experienced fire accidents leaving many lives and property lost.
But what explains all these tragedies? Why have fire outbreaks become common in schools for such a short time? What policy has government come up with?

First it was Kabarole Islamic Primary shool, later St. Maria Goretti in Fort Portal and others in the whole country. April 14 it was the Budo inferno, probably arson. It is only in one of these incidents that only property was lost. The other two left many lives lost.

Since the fisrt two incidents, the Ministry of Education has never come up with a policy dealing with such not to be repeated.

Innocent Ugandans are perishing while the would-be responsible ministries seem not to be so concerned. And all they can do is to tend to apologize and tell the bereaved public that police are investigating the matter. Results of investigations which either delay or never appear to the public. What a pity!

The fire fighting equipment are unevenly distributed in the Uganda with areas as large as sub-regions like Rwenzori without even a fire extinguisher. If this is not the case, one fire extinguisher serves several Districts in that particular region which are separated by hundreds of miles far away from each other.

On many occassions a substantial number of government officials have been implicated in fraud and graft related activities. Some, I think a big number, of them have been left to drive along Kampala streets freely without even a rise of a finger accusing them of abuse of public funds.

In my view, if this money had been handed propely, Uganda would be well equipped with fire extinguishers and a formidable Police fire brigade to quickly respond to emergences like that in Budo.

When those in leadership became responsible and administered to the public with due responsiblity, we forget these rampant fire outbreks. And our young Ugandans as well as all Ugandans would be at least safe from such catastrophes.

In democratic nation states, those in positions of leadership and authority hold big responsibility. If their positions are overwhelmed by scandals as these, they resign. Resigning indicates that they are responsible leaders acoountable to their people and that they have failed in performing their duties.

In Uganda, some in leadership think it is all about receiving salary and inspecting guards of honour. They never think of resigning."I have not yet started thinking about resigning." They say.

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