Five Uganda National Teachers’ Union-UNATU officials in Masaka district have been interrogated by the police for allegedly inciting violence relating to the ongoing teachers’ strike.
The leaders include; Moses Nsereko Ssebuliba, the UNATU Chairperson for greater Masaka region, his deputy Geraldine Kulabiraawo and general secretary Mathias Mukasa. Others are Jascent Namugerwa, a teacher of Kyassonjo primary school and Tersisis Gayigana, the UNATU representative Kalungu district.
On Thursday evening, the officials were summoned at several police stations in Lwengo, Masaka and Kalungu to explain their alleged continued involvement in the nationwide strike that is now in its fifth day.
The teachers went on strike on September 16 demanding for a 20% salary increment.
Moses Nsereko Ssebuliba, the regional UNATU Chairperson says he was interrogated for close to six hours at Masaka central police station before his release on condition that he orders teachers to call off the strike.
He says he was questioned by a team of detectives led by Bernard Babu, the Deputy Masaka district Criminal Investigations officer on why he was not ending the strike even after government had declined to increase the salaries.
Speaking after his release on police bond, Nsereko however says they are determined to continue with the strike even if it means sending them to prison.
Geraldine Kulabiraawo, another UNATU official representing Lwengo district, was also arrested and grilled for several hours but released on police bond. She says police officers led by Paul Watake, the Lwengo District Police Commander grilled her for allegedly spreading harmful propaganda asking teachers not to teach.
Kulabiraawo however says although police threatened to arrest her if she didn’t ask teachers to return to classes, she waits for UNATU leadership to call off the strike.
Noah Sserunjogi, the Greater Masaka Region Police Spokesperson, says police will start arresting all teachers on Monday next week if they don’t go back to classes. He says their action of refusing to teach is sabotaging the government program on universal education.
In Mbirizi town council, Lwengo district, all the five primary schools remained closed without a single teacher and pupil at the school. The schools are Mbirizi Muslim, Kasese, Kabarungi, Mbirizi RC and Bishop Ssenyonjo primary schools.
Janat Nabateregga, the Mbirizi Town Clerk who is leading the team to monitor the teachers’ strike in the area, says they were surprised to find no teacher at these schools. She now says they have registered all the teachers and they face dismissal from service.