Hundreds of people surprised Kabale police station after the arrest of Uganda National Teacher’s Union (UNATU) chairperson, Zadock Tumuhimbise.
Father Gaetano Batanyenda was among those who visited Zadock in the police cells.
After the visit, Gaetano labbled Zadock a sacrifice for teachers condemning government for arresting people who try to exercise their rights.
Zadock was picked by plain-clothed men at the National Teachers’ College on Friday and detained.
He is accused of closing a school in Rukiga county while in Kampala as part of UNATU negotiating team.
The district leadership met over 200 head teachers at Kabale NTC and intimidated the head teachers with interdiction letters.
“21 interdiction letters were ready for those who have been identified as ring leaders,” said a source that was part of the meeting.
Why arrest Zadock?
Zadock is a vocal but eloquent leader of UNATU who has confronted and out-debated Ministers Henry Banyezaki and David Bahati and Resident District Commissioner, Darius Nandiinda and his deputy, Moses Nuwagaba, to mention but a few.
Last Saturday, Zadock clashed with RDC Nuwagaba over teachers’ salaries.
Arresting Zadock was a move to demoralise teachers, make them give up the struggle and return to school.
It was, however, met with a massive protest after teachers organised and stormed the station demanding for his release.
Teachers who generally earn Shs 408,135 per month, have to pay fees, health care and feed their families which leaves them with empty pockets.
In June 2014, government honoured their 2011 pledge to increase teachers’ salaries after years of disappointment.
Then Finance minister, Maria Kiwanuka, allocated Shs1.699.4 trillion to education sector to enhance the quality of education.
Out of this, Shs215 billion went to meet the teachers’ pay rise promised in 2011 following an industrial action after government could not meet their demand of 100 per cent salary increment.
The salary increment was to be done in three consecutive years at 15 per cent, 20 per cent and 15 per cent.
Minister Bahati’s role in teachers strike
Bahati recently rushed to Kabale district where he joined the RDCs in asking teachers to abandon the strike.
He ordered them as Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, had done, to return to class without pay.
Also Minister of Planning at Finance Ministry, Bahati reportedly negotiated the release of Zadock from Kabale police station.
He even described the arrest as “unfortunate”.
Yet, 21 head teachers and teachers face interdiction should they fail to appear in class on Monday.
It is not clear on whose side Bahati is leaning because he is playing for both sides (government on one side and teachers on the other).