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Conflict of Interest Paralyses Motion on Private Schools’ Bailout

A section of Members of Parliament had asked the government to set up a revolving fund of 500 billion Shillings to assist private schools in kick-starting their operations when they open in January. The MPs led by Kyankwanzi Woman MP Christine Sendawula presented a motion to the Education committee urging the government to rescue private institutions from financial loss due to the prolonged closure of schools.
Members of Private schools after appearing before the committee

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The debate of a motion that seeks for a bailout of private schools has suffered a setback when it emerged that some of the legislators pushing for a revolving fund are also proprietors of schools.

A section of Members of Parliament had asked the government to set up a revolving fund of 500 billion Shillings to assist private schools in kick-starting their operations when they open in January. The MPs led by Kyankwanzi Woman MP Christine Sendawula presented a motion to the Education committee urging the government to rescue private institutions from financial loss due to the prolonged closure of schools.

All educational institutions have been closed since March 2021, as one of the measures that were put in place by the government to keep coronavirus disease at bay. Sendawula argues that the continued closure of schools has left thousands of people unemployed and the relief aid would be critical in rescuing them from economic strain.

Igara East MP Micheal Mawanda, who seconded the motion together with Mityana North MP Muhammad Kibedi said that the closure has mainly affected private schools and that most of them will be out of operations by the time educational institutional re-open in January 2022. Mawanda added that the funding should be given to them as a government financial facility that will be borrowed and returned when the situation normalises.

//Cue in; “Can Government put…

Cue out… school fees for.”//

Committee members however raised doubts on the motion saying that they need to have a look at the recovery plan and how schools will subsidise fees to parents since their taxes are going to be used to help the school proprietors.   

Kashari South MP Nathan Itungo first excused himself as a school proprietor and tasked the team with the specifics of the recovery plan questioning if they needed government to help them pay rent or pay teachers among others.

//Cue in; “Mr Chair when… 

Cue out…salaries or the rent.”// 

However, the matter of Conflict of interest came to the fore when the committee started scrutinizing the bill, and the chairperson John Ntamuhiira Twesigye stepped aside for being a school owner with interest in the proposal. In his absence, Joram Ruranga, the MP Representing older persons from Western Region steered the debate.

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This caused several committee members to question if the movers of the bill did not have a conflict of interest. Jonam County MP Emmanuel Ongierthor questioned if the matter of conflict of interest for the MPs who moved and seconded the motion does not arise. He also questioned the organization of the private schools and how this money could be accessed. 

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Kumi Municipality MP Silas Aogon tasked the mover of the Bill, Christine Sendaula, Michael Mawanda and Mityana North MP Muhammad Kibedi to declared their conflict of interest. Mawanda who is a Director of several secondary schools said that although he is a school proprietor, he is also an MP who has to fight for the rights of Ugandans.

//Cue in; “No there is… 

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Kibedi and Sendaula said they do not have a conflict of interest whatsoever, but were interested in having the private schools bailed out. 

//Cue in; “I am Christine… 

Cue out…Government-aided school”//

The committee chairperson Jordan Ruranga asked the team to write down a written response to queries raised by members.

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