The Ministry of Education and Sports and the Catholic Church are yet to agree on a suitable candidate for the position of Headteacher at St. Mary’s College-Kisubi (SMACK). However, the Church is stuck to its choice of Brother Simon Mpanga, the initial nominee whom the Ministry seemed to have been uncomfortable with.
Kampala Archdiocese shoulders the Church’s interest since the school is situated in its territorial dominion. The Higher Education Minister Dr. Chrysostom Muyingo told Uganda Radio Network on Tuesday morning that the last meeting on the matter was supposed to take place on Friday but he was not sure it took place.
“I am supposed to have been part of that meeting but other equally important engagements came in. So I am not sure it took place or what decision was taken but my boss (Education and Sports Minister Mrs. Janet Kataha Museveni) is handling it,” minister Muyingo explained, adding that it would be “resolved according to the law.”
Steven Bonavenure Malooba, Education Secretary in Kampala Archdiocese, says that as technical people his office had given its position to the Archbishop and what remain is between him and the principals at the ministry.
Diocesean deputy communications director, Fr Nicholas Mulumba said, “The situation remains as you knew it. The people of authority continue to discuss and if they conclude we shall inform you of the outcome.”
The matter raised eyebrows on December 12th, 2022 when the ministry wrote to St Henry’s College– Kitovu (SHECK) head teacher Bro. Augustine Mugabo and directed him to hand over the office and immediately report to SMACK where retiring Bro. Geodata Aganyira had to hand it over to him.
The Kampala Archbishop Paul Ssemogerere had to personally intervene to stop the handover that was supposed to have taken place on December 20th, 2022. Br Aganyira was asked to hand over to his deputy Justus Katatumba or to the Board the following day, which he grudgingly did.
Ssemogerere in a strongly worded letter to Education Minister Janet Museveni reiterated that the appointment of Bro Mugabo had negated a long-standing tradition that the ministry consults with the foundation body and the School Board of Governors while appointing a head teacher. The Archbishop further noted that Bro Mugabo’s posting had overlooked the Church’s search effort that had been ongoing since March 2022.
“We therefore highly recommend that Bro Simon Mpanga who is the substantial Headteacher and has served at SMACK in that position for six years be appointed as the new Headteacher of S.t Mary College – Kisubi (SMACK),” he wrote.
Ministry of Education and Sports Permanent Secretary, Ketty Lomano on December 23rd, 2022 led a delegation to Lubaga, the seat of Kampala Archdiocese, and held discussions with the Archbishop and other Church officials.
The PS later wrote to the Archbishop copying Janet Museveni among others indicating that agreement had been reached and the Church had three weeks within, which to submit a substantively appointed headteacher.
However, she added that the nominee should meet the ministry’s criteria, specifically that the candidate must have been a substantively appointed headteacher and served as such for not less than three years, must have headed a school of the stature of SMACK, must not be due for mandatory retirement within three years and be of a clean record.
The conditions did not go down well with many stakeholders including old boys and board members who thought they had intended to exclude Bro. Mpanga’s eligibility. They reportedly moved to consult widely and the conclusion was made that the ministry’s conditions were neither embedded in any known law nor policy, an observation communicated to Lubaga.
SMACK Board chairperson Dr. Kasozi Mulindwa Saurninus told Uganda Radio Network on Monday, “As a board, we are waiting for any head teacher the ministry sends us. What I know is that our seniors are talking. What they conclude with, we shall go with that.”
SMACK is a historical school founded by the White Fathers. It is currently one of the many run by the Brothers of Christian Instruction (BCI) to which retiring Bro Aganyira, Bro Mpanya, and Bro Mugabo belong. BCI is a Catholic Church organization founded in the late nineteenth Century and augment’s clergical work through prayer, education, and catechismal roles.